Online MBA

Lerner College announces new online graduate degree program

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4:56 p.m., Oct. 31, 2012--In an effort to make business education more accessible to a broader student population, the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics has announced the creation of an innovative, new online master of business administration (MBA) program, expected to launch in spring 2013.

The online MBA, which will be offered with the marketing, recruiting, technology and student retention services of Academic Partnerships (AP), will enable the Lerner College to better achieve its academic mission by providing high quality business education in a highly flexible format required by a growing segment of the student population.

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“The landscape of higher education is changing as a result of new technology and the resulting changes in students’ learning styles,” said Rick Andrews, deputy dean in the Lerner College. “By using a new delivery modality, our MBA will be accessible to working professionals who travel frequently, to members of the U.S. military and to others who, for whatever reason, cannot make it to campus on a regular basis to participate in the traditional MBA.”

Students in the new online MBA will complete 48 credits in the Lerner College’s AACSB-accredited program over the course of eight seven-week terms. 

Courses will fully achieve MBA program learning objectives required by the AACSB and will consist of micro-lectures delivered in multimedia format; readings, problems, cases and discussion board participation; experiential learning via corporate simulation exercises; and individual and team projects and assignments.

“This is not a diluted product, half an MBA or MBA ‘lite,’ but a full MBA tailored to the needs of a different target audience and offering the same quality Lerner College MBA that our residential students receive,” said Bruce Weber, dean of the Lerner College. “The proposition for prospective students is attractive, both in terms of knowledge gained and time to completion of the degree.” 

Added Karen Anderson, director of academic services at AP, “We understand it is crucial to maintain standards in line with the University and with AACSB, and we are here to work with the Lerner College to assist with the latest technology needed to make sure those high standards are met.”

Under the direction of Andrews, the collaboration has been in the works since April 2012, when an online MBA planning group including each of the college’s five department chairs and Jack Baroudi, associate dean for graduate and executive programs, was created to begin parsing out the details of the initiative.

“Our goal throughout this process has been to further the academic mission of the college while exploring a way to prepare our graduates to meet the evolving needs of industry,” said Baroudi.

A formal agreement with AP was reached in July, with the assistance of Larry White, vice president and general counsel at UD. Since then, the collaboration has grown to include a team of professionals from AP along with individuals from across UD including the entire Lerner College Graduate and Executive Programs staff; Nancy Brickhouse, interim provost; Jeff Palmer, University registrar; Suzanne Stanley, associate registrar; Carl Jacobson, vice president, Information Technologies; Joe Kempista, manager, IT Web Presence; Mary Martin, assistant provost, Graduate and Professional Education; Matt Plourde, IT project leader; Paul Rickards, director, Academic Technology Services; and Melissa Stone, director, Student Financial Services.

”We are proud to partner with the University of Delaware’s Lerner College to increase access to one of the top MBA programs in the country,” said James Headley, senior vice president at AP. “The quality of this program is well-known and broadly respected. Putting this MBA online will give many more qualified students and executives an opportunity to learn and advance in their careers.”

Leslie Oberhuber, vice president of university partnerships at AP, explained how the initiative will integrate the efforts of both parties to enhance support for areas like academic programs, information technology, marketing, recruiting and student mentoring.

“In order to bring students to this virtual campus, AP will assist UD faculty in converting their traditional courses into an online delivery format, recruit qualified students and mentor those students from enrollment through graduation,” said Oberhuber.

As part of the marketing strategy, a new webpage for the online MBA is expected to launch in early November. For more information about the program, please call 855-704-0318.

About the Lerner College

The Lerner College is the second largest of UD’s seven colleges, with a diverse community of 2,800 undergraduate students, 600 graduate students, 170 faculty and staff, and over 28,000 alumni. Unique programs in five academic departments emphasize experience-driven learning and evidence-based analytics. From Bloomberg Certification to corporate governance expertise to teacher education, the Lerner College is also home to a variety of centers of excellence that provide educational programming opportunities for students and community members.  

About Academic Partnerships

Dallas-based Academic Partnerships partners with public universities to deliver students full degree programs online. The company was founded by social entrepreneur Randy Best, an 18-year veteran of developing innovative learning experiences to improve education. Academic Partnerships helps universities increase access by taking quality of a public university to scale. It provides the technology, marketing, student recruitment and faculty support necessary to serve online students. Academic Partnerships is guided by the principle that the opportunities presented through distance learning make higher education more accessible and achievable for students in the U.S. and globally. For more information, visit http://academicpartnerships.com/.

Article by Kathryn Meier

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