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National List Recognizes Online Bachelor's Programs At UNCW

By Cece Nunn, posted Jan 10, 2018
Online programs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington recently have garnered some national attention.

UNCW was awarded the rank of No. 7 on the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Online Bachelor's Programs based on its two qualifying programs, nursing and clinical research.

Chancellor Jose Sartarelli said Wednesday that UNCW's bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN) program online is one of the largest in terms of enrollment. 

"Today increasingly employers, meaning hospitals and other institutions, are starting to require nurses to have a four-year degree," Sartarelli said. 

In addition to the BSN program, "we have another program that's also fully online and that's the clinical research program," something particularly critical in an area like Wilmington, which has at least 30 clinical research organizations or CROs, the chancellor said.

Since 2013, the registered nurse-to-BSN online program has increased enrollment by 1,239 students, while the clinical research program has experienced an overall enrollment increase of 14 students during that same period, according to UNCW figures.

U.S. News reviews a variety of elements to determine college rankings, including student engagement, faculty credentials and training and peer reputation, the release stated.

Rather than last-minute or fly-by-night instructors, UNCW has "bona fide professors" teaching online students, explained Sartarelli.

The release said that the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs rankings are awarded only to programs where all required coursework is completed online. UNCW ranked behind Ohio State University – Columbus, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Temple University, Arizona State University, Utah State University, Oregon State University, tying with Pennsylvania State University – World Campus for the No. 7 spot, according to the release.

As UNCW's online health care-related courses are making news, the university is preparing for a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for 4 p.m. Jan. 18 on its new $66 million Allied Health Building. UNCW's College of Health and Human Services, which will be housed in the new building, includes three schools -- nursing, social work and allied health and exercise, explained Sartarelli, all of which have been on the rise in recent years.

"Those three schools have grown from about 1,500 students in 2010 to more than 3,600 students today," he said.

UNCW was also recently named a Best College Value for 2018 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, ranking 62nd among the top 100 public universities nationwide, up six places from the 2017 ranking, the release stated. Of the six North Carolina universities in Kiplinger’s top 100, UNCW ranks 2nd in four-year graduation and 3rd in average salary earned after graduating.

“As one of the institutions that make up the nationally respected University of North Carolina system, UNCW is committed to providing an accessible and affordable, high-quality education,” Sartarelli said in the release. “These rankings recognize our continued commitment to developing distance education programming and the university’s overall affordability and value. Our students get an outstanding return on their investment through our faculty and applied-learning experiences that position them to compete for jobs or continue their education.”

Kiplinger’s selects the top 100 public, private and liberal arts institutions based on admissions rates, academic quality, retention, student-faculty ratio, graduation rates and cost. The university is also ranked 6th among public universities and 14th overall in the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Regional Universities (South) for 2018.

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