Online degrees the next frontier for UMES

  • Thursday, February 13, 2014

    Dr. Kristine AndersonPRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Feb. 13, 2014) - Dr. Kristine Anderson has joined UMES' Division of Academic Affairs to spearhead an aggressive expansion of online instruction for students looking for distance-education options.

    Anderson previously worked at Mount Aloysius College in Pennsylvania, where starting in 2011 she directed the private institution's online and distance education office. Prior to that, she was a principal investigator of federal distance education research for the military for eight years. Her new position, acting director of UMES Online, is funded with a federal Title III grant.

    At UMES, she'll team up with Robin Hoffman, who recently was appointed director of his alma mater's Center for Instructional Technology.

    Having an online academic presence is a top priority for UMES President Juliette Bell, who wants the university to employ creative, proven strategies aimed at growing enrollment.

    "UMES Online," said Dr. Ronald Nykiel, UMES chief academic policymaker, "is now approaching offering 100 courses in an online format."

    Anderson's first priority is establishing an online foundation of academic programs targeting students at community and junior colleges - commonly referred to as the "2+2" path to a baccalaureate degree.

    Long-term, the university's goal is to offer the option of earning select bachelor degrees, master's degrees, doctorates and certificates online, Nykiel said.

    "We're committed to doing what we can to meet the express needs of the market," he said.

    Online coursesAnderson's immediate focus is on developing a baseline of courses to deliver instruction in criminal justice, business and technology, hospitality and tourism, rehabilitation services and early childhood education along with general studies. The goal is rolling out online courses in those subjects by this fall.

    Her long-term goals are to:

    • Create and provide the majority of the general core courses online so every student has access to courses in classrooms with limited space that tend to fill quickly;

    • Identify high-demand programmatic areas for 2+2 programs and create them for online delivery;

    • Create a highly competitive online cadre of 2+2 programs and fully online programs;

    • Assure every student has the support to be successful in an online environment.

    Anderson has more than a decade of instructional design experience, which Nykiel said stood out among candidates considered for the new position.  She will be meeting with deans, department chairs and front-line faculty throughout the spring to outline how they can collaborate in helping UMES Online build capacity to deliver instruction online.

    "The UMES community, working collaboratively, is an essential comp