For the second straight year, West Virginia University’s online graduate program in software engineering has been ranked in the top 15 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report in its Best Online Program rankings.

The program, offered by the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, joins a number of other WVU programs – online hybrid MBA (47 out of 267), nursing (51 out 154) and business (non-MBA) (63 out of 158) – that were featured in the rankings released Tuesday. More than 1,300 online programs were reviewed on categories ranging from student engagement, faculty credentials and training and peer reputation.

“In an ongoing effort to increase access to WVU degrees through online education, we are excited to be recognized with these rankings across a wide variety of programs,” said Keith Bailey, dean of WVU Online. “These rankings recognize our commitment to student success and instructional excellence in online learning.”

According to Program Coordinator Dale Dzielski, the software engineering program focuses on continuous improvement by offering the latest in advanced coursework including data analytics, Internet of things and cloud computing, cybersecurity, mobile app and agile development.

“We are honored to once again be among the top 15 universities in the country to offer excellent online graduate education to the software engineering industry,” Dzielski said. “We continue to focus on quality online education by utilizing the nationally recognized Quality Matters Program as the standard for online education. Our faculty deserve credit for having driven these improvements that has resulted in our national recognition.”

“Our faculty and staff in the Lane Department have done an excellent job fine tuning this program to meet the needs of busy industry professionals looking to advance their education and careers,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “They have blended tenure stream faculty with practicing professionals and serve as a best-practice model for our other departments seeking to put courses online.”

In existence for only seven years, this is the sixth consecutive year the Online Hybrid MBA program has landed in the top 50. The two-year program includes three, multi-day residencies on campus at WVU and one in Washington, D.C. The non-MBA program includes master’s degree programs in business data analytics and forensic and fraud examination.

“Improving our online learning offerings is a priority of West Virginia University and the College of Business and Economics, and the rankings of our online graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report are evidence of that,” said Javier Reyes, B&E Milan Puskar Dean. “Our online hybrid MBA has been ranked since it was eligible to be ranked, and our business data analytics and forensic and fraud examination programs were created in anticipation of demand for graduates with these invaluable skill sets. We have every expectation that we will continue to improve upon and expand these online programs, and we are excited about the upcoming addition of cybersecurity and undergraduate general business programs in an online format.”

The nursing program, which has been offering online graduate programs to meet the needs of working nurses around the country since 1999, jumped 10 spots in 2018, from 61 to 51.

“It’s an honor being recognized for our commitment to preparing highly qualified nurses to address workforce challenges,” said Tara Hulsey, vice president of health promotion and wellness, dean and E. Jane Martin Endowed Professor for the School of Nursing. “We have more than 230 nursing graduate students who are taking advantage of our wide-variety of challenging and practical courses.”

(From Mary Dillon for WVU Today. Photo courtesy of West Virginia University).