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Online degrees eliminate barriers to meeting educational goals


Three online degree programs launching next fall are expected to help more students meet their educational goals. (Photo: Diane Daniel)

  • November 2, 2011

Getting a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies or women’s studies or a master’s degree in health care administration at Cal State East Bay is becoming more user-friendly.

Beginning in fall 2012, fully online degrees will be offered in each of these areas, said Kathleen Rountree, interim dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.

“The creation of three new online programs is an exciting step in offering new learning opportunities to CSUEB students," Rountree said. "In addition to the advantages of flexibility and access that are provided by online education, students have an opportunity to learn in new ways, to engage in individualized and group projects, to access the rich resources of the Internet and to incorporate multi-media tools into their education.  I am confident that the graduates of these programs will prove to be effective professionals and engaged community members.”

Patricia Guthrie, professor and chair of human development and women’s studies, added: “Human development and women’s studies have a long history of serving working adults. This new online degree program in women’s studies will particularly help working parents who want to complete their undergraduate degree while working, rearing children and maintaining a household.

“The online completion programs will also help in these tight economic times, as these students will not have to drive to campus, pay for parking or pay for childcare while they learn. Many of our online students are doing their coursework after their children are put to bed,” said Guthrie.

Toni Fogarty, professor and chair of public affairs and administration said that offering a master’s degree in health care administration in the online format will allow students to learn at their pace, with no need to attend class on a specific day or time during the week.

“The fully online degree program will serve a broader constituency," she said. "And (it) will open access to individuals who might otherwise be locked out of educational opportunities.”

Fogarty noted that employment among those who direct, coordinate and supervise health services in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies and other health care organizations has been predicted to increase 16 percent in the decade between 2008 and 2018, or by 99,400 new positions, representing the largest growth area forecast by the U.S. Department of Labor.

"Since a graduate degree in health care administration, or a similar field, is the standard credential for employment in health services, we expect that there will be a high demand for the MS-HCA program," Fogarty said.

The Department of Public Affairs and Administration is reviewing applications now for the online MS-HCA program. It will admit at least one cohort of 30 students, and possibly two, for classes beginning in spring 2012. Participating master’s candidates will be expected to complete two courses per quarter, four quarters per year, resulting in graduation at the end of summer 2013.

The departments of Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies will admit students into the degree completion programs in spring 2012, and students will begin classes in fall 2012. 

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