The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has given approval to the University of Arkansas at Monticello to expand its distance education offerings. 

UAM’s School of Education will now offer five master’s degrees completely online. The degrees are the master of education degree (M.Ed.) with emphasis in special education or teacher leadership, the master of education degree (M.Ed.) in educational leadership, the master of education degree (M.Ed.) in teacher leadership, the master of education degree in physical education and coaching (M.P.E.C.), and the master of arts in teaching degree (M.A.T.).

Three of the five master’s degrees – the M.Ed. in educational leadership, the M.Ed. with emphasis in special education, and the M.A.T. – lead to teacher licensure. The M.Ed. in educational leadership is designed for persons wishing to become building-level administrators.

“This is great news for UAM,” said Dr. Jimmie Yeiser, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our faculty have long recognized the quality of our existing online programs and the need for additional online programs. The Higher Learning Commission hasconfirmed our confidence in our online programs and given us authority to offer online up to 20 percent of our total degree programs. This means some of our graduate programs that have been on hold waiting for action by the Higher Learning Commission can now move forward.”

In addition to the five master’s degrees offered by the School of Education, UAM also offers completely online the master of fine arts degree in creative writing.

Dr. Peggy Doss, dean of the UAM School of Education, called the Higher Learning Commission’s decision “essential to our continuing commitment to meeting the needs of our constituencies. Somany students, particularly non-traditional students, want to pursue a graduate degree but simply don’t have the time to come to campus for traditional instruction. By placing these programs totally online, we are allowing them to attain a graduate degree that would probably be unavailable to them in a traditional setting.”

Doss said the online programs will be designed to include interaction with instructors through discussion boards and will emphasize personalized instruction. “At UAM, one of our core values is that we have a personal relationship with every student, whether in a traditional classroom setting or online,” said Doss. “We have designed these online programs to be responsive to student needs while maintaining quality instruction.  Everything we do is done with one goal in mind – the ultimate success of each student.”