Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New biz major: Hospitality management

Business meeting at dinnerWashington State University is launching an online bachelor of arts major in hospitality business management for fall 2015.

Students will learn the fundamentals of operating hotels, restaurants, sports and convention centers, senior facilities, and tourist destinations, both in the U.S. and internationally. Here’s a link to the news release.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Student earns 74 credits in one year

Paul CumminsA full-time WSU student earns about 30 credits a year. WSU Global Campus student Paul Cummins earned 74 credits in the past year—while working full-time, raising two kids, coaching his eldest son’s basketball team, maintaining a 3.6 GPA, and running an occasional 200-mile relay race.

Paul is a consulting systems engineer who supports infrastructures for nationwide wireless networks. He lives in Snoqualmie, Wash. He’s soft-spoken, self-effacing, and often uses the word “efficient.”

The first step, he said, is to find the right major. “You should spend a lot of up-front time figuring this out,” he advised, “because if you change it later on, it will cost you time.”

Paul decided WSU’s online business degree would best provide relevant skills and career advancement: “Getting my degree is something that I’d overlooked,” he said, “but others don’t.”

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He examined WSU’s management information systems major, but determined that attending just one college would take too long—“I wanted to be efficient,” he said—so he enrolled at both WSU Global Campus and Bellevue College. Last summer, he was simultaneously taking six accelerated six-week courses, three from each institution. “I don’t ever want to do that again,” he said. “It was nuts.”

Paul also earned 15 credits through proficiency tests called CLEP exams. But Paul used CLEP only for what he calls “the easy stuff,” like math, English and psychology. “I went to school for the more business-centric material,” he said. “The process of learning should be longer for things you need to spend more time on.”

How did he find that time? One strategy is “grouping” the courses: He takes classes with similar curriculums so he can apply concepts learned in one class to another. He also tries to find courses in which the due dates don’t conflict.

To stay organized, he lists all due dates in an Excel spreadsheet. At the end of each week, he reviews his spreadsheet to ensure he’s on track. “You never want to be behind,” he said. “If you get a little behind, you have to work so much harder to get caught up.”

Paul also uses a separate color-coded spreadsheet (see sample) to organize his waking hours. That spreadsheet—which includes work, learning and family—is based on more than efficiency: “You’ve got to have family in there,” he said. “Otherwise my wife would kill me.”

Friday, January 9, 2015

U.S. News: Global Campus in top 20

US-News-option3U.S. News & World Report has ranked
WSU Global Campus
20th in the nation among online undergraduate degree programs.

The 2015 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs report rated 296 schools on four categories: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, peer reputation, and student services and technology. (Complete methodology here.) WSU Global Campus was awarded 91 out of 100 points in the category of faculty credentials and training.

“WSU faculty have always been the heart of our online program,” said Dave Cillay, WSU vice president in charge of the Global Campus. “They bring not only a profound understanding of their fields, but also a genuine commitment to helping students succeed.”

The Global Campus offers eight undergraduate and 12 graduate degrees, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates. Global Campus students also engage with the WSU community through unique extracurricular options, such as an online student government, face-to-face gatherings, and the Global Connections program, which presents online educational and cultural events.

Last year’s U.S. News report ranked the Global Campus undergraduate program 21st in the nation.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ex-farmworker: WSU ring says it all

sylvia guzman Global CampusSylvia Guzman holds out her hand. Her class ring is silver with a red garnet, and engraved with the words Washington State University, her year of graduation, and the Cougar logo. It’s a substantial piece of jewelry—as much monument as ornament—and looks bulky on her slender finger.

“I wear it every day,” she says. “It reminds me of what helped me become who I am now. I can’t carry my diploma around with me, but I can wear my ring and say, ‘see that, that’s my BA.’”

Sylvia now teaches two classrooms of mainstream and disabled preschoolers for Skagit Island Early Head Start. She uses Spanish, English and sign language. She makes daily visits to low-income parents to connect them with such agencies as GED programs and food banks—and she brings a personal familiarity with their struggles:

At 13, Sylvia started working in the fields of Central California to help her parents, immigrants from Oaxaca. At 18, Sylvia married Cornelio, a fellow Oaxacan. They traveled up and down the Northwest, picking oranges, grapes, lemons, olives, blueberries, cucumbers, apples, and strawberries. They lived in labor camps, their van, and livestock barns—and awoke to rats in their bed.

More... At 21, Sylvia was fed up with fieldwork. It was 2001. She was sharing a two-bedroom house with Cornelio, their two young children and about 20 other people in Burlington, Wash. She walked across the street to a child-care center.

“I told the woman that I’d come here every day for a week and work for free,” she says. She got a job, then earned her associate’s degree from Skagit Valley College and enrolled in WSU’s online program.

“The WSU instructors really work with you,” Sylvia says, “They understand that we’re working people, and they’re flexible when we have issues with our jobs or children.”

In 2010, she earned her bachelor’s in human development with a minor in early childhood education. She was featured at the WSU commencement ceremony, in Washington State Magazine, and on the front page of the local paper.

Next on her list are getting a promotion and a master’s in counseling. While her WSU degree has put those goals within reach, she says, it’s also helping her now, both with practical skills—“everything I learned at WSU I’ve been able to use in my current position”—and increased confidence.

“My BA is an affirmation that I know what I’m talking about, that I know what I’m doing,” she says. “This ring tells me that, every day.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

Two new American Indian Studies options

ais web photoWSU Global Campus is launching an online certificate and an online minor in American Indian Studies.

The certificate will be available in Spring 2015, and registration is now open. Applicants do not need to be enrolled in a degree program at WSU.

The certificate requires 18 credits, or six courses: Three core courses and three electives from related areas. Core topics include history, politics and law; elective topics include gender roles, film art, and contemporary cultures. For more information, please go to the WSU Global Campus website.

The Global Campus is also offering a new minor in American Indian Studies this spring, with a similar course list. The minor requires 18 credits. More info is here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

WSU Global Campus ranked #1 in state

IMG_0565WSU Global Campus has been named the best online degree program in Washington state by Edudemic, a Seattle organization that covers teaching, learning, and technology.

“Washington State University really knocked our socks off,” the group said. “We appreciated their strong reputation, proven out by placement on all three of our outside rankings, as well as top graduation and retention rates for the state. … Overall, Washington State University is our clear top choice for the state.”

The group’s methodology involved looking at metrics in five areas: performance, financial aid, career services, responsiveness, and transparency. “We started by scouring for data high and low, organizing publicly available data like graduation and tuition rates, and augmenting it with our own surveys,” the group said. “In many cases, especially for the top ranked schools, we picked up the phone and asked our questions directly.”

In the end, the group said, “It’s hard to write about Washington State University’s performance without lapsing into superlatives. They are above average in every metric, and their reputation is recognized by all three of our outside rankings. They finish #1 in the state in a broad set of categories, including graduation and retention rates. They finished at the top of our list for a reason: they’re the best in the state.”

The Global Campus was also named best in state this September by The Best Schools.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Criminal justice degree is best in nation

emily chandlerThe online criminal justice bachelor’s degree at WSU Global Campus is the best non-profit program in the nation, according to a new ranking by Criminal Justice Degree Online.

The group emphasized its thorough methodology:

“To reach number one,” it said, “a program had to pass a gauntlet of tests: be a part of a university with stellar graduation and retention rates, provide more department resources than others, amaze us with useful answers to our survey, and even answer more questions over the phone. WSU did it all.”

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The group praised the faculty’s strong professional affiliations and found that the criminal justice program had the nation’s ninth highest graduation rate and 12th highest retention rate, as well as high placement in rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, and Washington Monthly. It also said the responses from Global Campus admissions counselor Emily Chandler, top right, were the “most informative and sincere” of their entire survey. (The full methodology can be seen here.)

Chandler said the group took a “secret shopper” approach to the survey. “I had no idea that I had spoken with any reviewers – they must have posed as a prospective student,” she said. “I do my best to always give thorough and sincere answers, but the credit really belongs to our WSU faculty, and to the Global Campus as a whole.”

Professor Craig Hemmens, chair of WSU’s criminal justice department, said the department is dedicated to ensuring a world-class education for all students, no matter where or how they attend: “We take seriously our mission to educate the next generation of justice professionals and policymakers, and to make sure they have the knowledge necessary to make the criminal justice system the best it can be.”

The group looked only at non-profit universities, citing factors that ranged from reputation to graduation rates on a webpage that it devoted to for-profit programs.

The Global Campus online criminal justice program has also been ranked in the nation’s top 10 by Create a Career, Best Colleges, and The Best Schools. For more information, please go to the Global Campus website.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Students get big helping of Coug spirit

Global Campus student Rebecca Holdquist and son TylerRebecca Hultquist counts on the help of her son Tyler.

People leaving the Bookie stopped and sniffed. Children let go of their balloons. Vegetarians reconsidered.

The scent of grilled ribs was wafting from a Global Campus tailgate party on the lawn atop the library at WSU Pullman.

“This is amazing,” said student Jasmine Goodwin as she sampled the food at last Saturday’s Homecoming event. “We’re really impressed.” After lunch, she and her friends were planning to join swarms of other avid Cougs at the Bookie: “I want socks,” she said. “Coug socks.”

The party was organized by the Global Campus student government, ASWSU Global, and drew more than 100 guests. Along with barbecued ribs, the event featured shrimp skewers, pulled pork sandwiches, and giveaways that ranged from football tickets to an iPad Mini.

More... Jasmine and two friends came from the West Side for the event. Jasmine has a 2013 bachelor’s in communications from WSU Pullman and is now earning her online professional writing certificate—“I have all A’s so far”—as a stepping stone to getting an online master’s in strategic communication from WSU. She is a publicist for Three Girls Media in Seattle, and the reigning Miss Seafair.

So why did she drive all the way to Pullman? Are there no ribs in Seattle?

“Because …” she said. “Because … Go Cougs!”

Maria Romero drove two and a half hours from Sunnyside, Wash., along with her daughter, Sonya, and son, Angel.

“I like attending these events,” said Maria, who is earning her bachelor’s degree in human development. “They’re really good, family oriented and a great opportunity to meet school staff and other students.”

She’s planning to graduate in 2016, and will definitely return for commencement. “I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

Rebecca Hultquist came from Spokane with her husband and two sons. She started at WSU Pullman in the late ’90s, left, got married, and had kids. Then she realized she needed a human development degree to do what she loved: Teach children.

“Kids have always been my passion,” she said. Her own kids have been equally passionate about supporting her decision to go back to school.

“They said, ‘We’ll do whatever we need to do to help you finish your degree.’ And whenever I need to go study, they let me be.”

Her son Taylor nodded in agreement, and chimed in: “It’s kind of disappointing because now she can’t come out and play basketball,” he said.

“There are things I have to sacrifice,” Hultquist said.

The next in-person ASWSU Global events are December commencement parties in both Pullman and Seattle. The Global Connections program offers regular online extracurricular activities, which can be found on its CougSync page.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Global Campus enrollment rises 17%

DSC_0062Washington State University Global Campus posted a 17 percent enrollment increase in fall 2014 as the university overall reached an all-time enrollment high of 28,686, according to WSU’s Office of Institutional Research.

The increase was led by students seeking online graduate degrees. Graduate enrollment in the Global Campus rose 49.4 percent, from 482 students in 2013 to 720 students this fall. The percentage of graduate students self-identifying as ethnic minorities increased from 20.5 percent to 22.5 percent, the highest figure for any WSU campus.

Undergraduate enrollment in WSU’s online degree program also posted a healthy increase of 8.9 percent in the last year, from 1,894 to 2,062.

More... Overall, WSU experienced a 4 percent increase over last year’s enrollment, including a 3.5 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment and a 5 percent increase in graduate students.

One reason for the Global Campus increase, said WSU Vice President Dave Cillay, is the 2013 decision to charge a single tuition rate for non-resident and resident online students

“In 2013, just 0.7 percent of our undergraduates were international students,” he said. “That jumped to 3.6 percent this year. We anticipate that as more people learn of our traditional yet innovative approach to online education, our enrollment will continue to grow. But whether we have 10 or 10,000 students, what’s important is the service we provide to each person who decides to entrust us with their academic goals.”

Friday, September 12, 2014

Global Campus named best in state

IMG_6648WSU Global Campus has been named the top online college in Washington state by The Best Schools organization.

The group cited WSU Global Campus’ “dedication to online education,” and said that WSU “offers one of the nation’s oldest and most-respected online degree programs.”

Criteria included academic excellence, course and degree offerings, reputation and faculty.

"Renowned professors teach and design the courses that are available completely online," Best Schools said.

The group also took note of extracurricular opportunities available through the Global Campus' Global Connections program: "Events include exhibits, musical performances, visiting speakers, and an online career fair."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Global Campus top ranked for grad rate

WSU graduateWSU Global Campus has been ranked 12th on a national list of online universities with the highest graduation rates.

“A school’s ability to see a student through the process of choosing a major, maintaining a good grade point average, obtaining a diploma and onto the path of success is a direct reflection of the school’s overall quality,” the Online Schools Center organization said in a news release.

The list was compiled from a combination of sources, including rankings by U.S. News and World Report, statistics from each university’s school of business, and data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the center said.

“At WSU, it’s not sink or swim,” said Dave Cillay, the WSU vice president in charge of the Global Campus.

“We’ve built and implemented an extensive infrastructure to support our students. It starts with our enrollment counselors, who help prospective students determine if we’re a good match. Once enrolled, students have a personal academic consultant who helps them find the best path toward graduation," Cillay said.

"Our Global Connections program makes students part of the WSU community, our in-person events introduce them to the Cougar spirit, and, most importantly, our WSU professors have inspired generations of students to reach their goals."

For the complete list of rankings, please see onlineschoolscenter.com.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Awesome new staffer at tailgate party

Emma and JamesJames Pappas with his daughter, Emma.

This year’s Seattle tailgate party came with extra awesomeness—a Box of Awesomeness, thanks to the new director of child’s entertainment, 11-year-old Emma Pappas.

Emma’s position was created when James Pappas, the ASWSU Global senator who helped organize the Aug. 28, event, wanted his daughter to be included. “It was logical for her to do something for the other kids,” he said. “So I asked her what made sense.”

Emma thought of the dentist, and how she liked to play with the toys in the treasure chest. “Can I do a treasure box for the kids at the Cougar event?” she asked.

“It was a brilliant idea,” said James, who helped Emma buy enough toys to turn her art supply box into Emma’s Box of Awesomeness.

Emma’s next problem was familiar to any event director. People were ignoring her awesome offerings. So she developed a way to reel them in:

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“I went up to the kids and said, ‘Come and pick something out of the Box of Awesomeness.’ ”

“What’s the Box of Awesomeness?” they would respond, innocently.

“I’ll show you,” she’d say, then lead them to the box.

She quickly gave away most of the toys—or, as James put it, “exhausted her Box of Awesomeness.” The most popular toy was a ball on a string that you attach to your arm.

“You throw it, then you catch it,” she explained.

The several hundred adults gathered on the patio of Henry’s First Avenue Tavern near CenturyLink Field enjoyed their own awesome gifts, including game tickets, a buffet lunch, a bag of cool Cougar gifts, and a Cougar watch. They also got the chance to meet their online classmates and academic consultants.

Shelly Mills, an accounting major, said her consultant is Chrisi Kincaid. “When I met her, I couldn’t believe I was hanging out with her,” Shelly said. “She gave my daughter advice too.”

It was the first Global Campus event for Brian Beldo, also an accounting major. “It’s pretty cool,” he said. “We got free game tickets and this really nice patio. It gets everyone out, you can feel the school spirit and you get to meet your fellow students. It’s a great idea.”

For an album of event photos, please see our Facebook page. For a list of upcoming face-to-face events, including the Oct. 4 tailgate party in Pullman, please see the ASWSU Global events page.