Beginning in January 2005, the UMR Global program at the University of Missouri-Rolla will become the UMR School of Extended Learning, an official academic unit. The change will allow campus officials to expand on the university’s current distance and continuing education course offerings.
In response to growing national trends, the School of Extended Learning will address the needs of many of today’s students, as well as professionals who want to continue their education, but aren’t able to attend on-campus classes.
"Education enterprises are truly becoming hybrid," says UMR Provost Y.T. Shah. "People are now shopping around to find an education that fits their personal needs."
"UMR provides students with an education that fits," adds Dr. Henry Wiebe, vice provost of UMR Global, who will serve as dean of the School of Extended Learning. "The School of Extended Learning will allow us to better expand our reach beyond the physical borders of the campus."
Students enrolled in distance courses at UMR can attend class online from their office or home or while away on business. Courses are broadcast live on the Internet and archived for students unavailable at the scheduled class time. The distance courses are identical to the on-campus version in fact, most classes consist of both on- and off-campus students.
The school will continue to house UMR’s Video Communications Center, the international affairs office and the distance and continuing education office on campus, as well as the Engineering Education Center (EEC) in St. Louis. In the future, officials hope to increase UMR’s presence in Missouri and internationally by adding more "storefront" operations like the EEC, says Wiebe.
UMR’s distance education offerings have expanded from a few courses at Fort Leonard Wood and the EEC in St. Louis to offering online graduate degree programs in manufacturing engineering, mining engineering, systems engineering, engineering management and geotechnics, as well as 15 certificate programs.
In 2001, UMR partnered with Boeing to offer its employees a degree in systems engineering. Dr. Cihan Dagli, director of the systems engineering graduate program at UMR, has taken the program from 30 students in its first year to a current enrollment of more than 150 students, Wiebe says.
The School of Extended Learning will also help UMR broaden its international scope.
"UMR has more than 50 partnerships with institutions around the globe, with both student and faculty exchange programs, educational experience and research collaboration," Wiebe says. "Exchange programs and involvement with the international market is becoming more common."
"We’re keeping up with national trends in distance education and we have a high expectation that the growth in number and types of programs as well as enrollment will continue," says Shah.
For more information about the UMR School of Extended Learning or any of the online graduate or certificate programs UMR offers, contact UMR Global at (573) 341-4132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .