UNCW Announces Launch of Innovative Nursing and Education Programs

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The University of North Carolina Wilmington's School of Nursing and Watson College of Education are expanding their course repertoire through an innovative venture with Academic Partnerships (AP), the University announced today. The new curriculum will allow Registered Nurses seeking to earn their Bachelor of Science degree, or teachers seeking to earn their Master of Education with a specialization in Elementary Education degree, to do so through online classes.

These courses will be offered in seven-and-a-half week intervals, versus the traditional fifteen-week offerings, with the BS program beginning in August and the M. Ed, Elementary Education starting this October. Applications are now being accepted.

Activating these programs on a "carousel system" means students can enroll at any point throughout the academic year, in contrast to traditional semi-annual registration. In 2012, a Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group revealed the number of students taking online courses surpassed 6.7 million. These are the first programs of their kind in North Carolina and will allow UNCW to meet an increased need for online programs.

"We are honored to offer registered nurses a platform to earn one of today's most desirable degrees at UNCW in a new, innovative and flexible way," said UNCW Chancellor Gary L. Miller. "Furthermore, we see this as a way to give back to our community at large. UNCW and graduates of this program will jointly help move the nursing and teaching workforce and North Carolina forward."

This announcement comes on the heels of the University of North Carolina system setting a goal to increase the state's bachelor's degrees or higher educational attainment rate to 32% by 2018 and 37% by 2025. Offering these courses will allow UNCW to play a vital role in helping the system meet this objective, while simultaneously supporting the state in their initiatives to meet the demands of North Carolina's nursing shortage.

UNCW has chosen AP, one of the largest representatives of public universities' online learning in the United States and around the world, to help convert the program into an online format, recruit students, and support student retention efforts. AP will work closely with UNCW faculty to ensure that the new online degree program maintains the highest educational standards.

The company will also use its integrated marketing and branding strategies to extend the university's reach, increasing the enrollment of highly qualified students.

"Making this high-demand degree program available online allows UNCW to deliver on its commitment to inclusion and access while increasing its ability to meet the workforce needs of the region," said Academic Partnerships Chairman and CEO Randy Best. "We are delighted to be collaborating with the university on this important effort."

This program came about via UNCW's University Innovation Council (UIC), which serves the campus by cultivating transformative approaches to increase productivity and efficiency and enhance the quality of educational experiences.

For those interested in enrolling in the nursing program, the first online session that begins in August is already full but there is still availability for the second session, which begins in October. For those interested in the M. Ed, Elementary education, classes will begin in October.