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From the Desk: IU Online serves crucial role in providing access, opportunity to students

By Susan Sciame-Giesecke

December 08, 2023

Here at Indiana University, the state’s flagship university, we have strengthened our commitment to expanding high-quality, affordable online education. Although we’re already the fourth largest enroller of Indiana students in online programs in the state, we’ve set a goal of increasing enrollments to 25,000 by 2030 to expand access to an IU education further than ever before.

Headshot of Susan Sciame-Giesecke Susan Sciame-Giesecke. Photo by Indiana University And that commitment has never been more critical.

Why? As our state’s economy evolves and grows, there is increasing opportunity and need for talented individuals who are prepared to lead today’s organizations and tomorrow’s innovations. IU Online serves a crucial role in providing the access and opportunity needed for greater success.

Our IU Online students are looking for an education they can fit into their busy lives. Many are nontraditional students, in Indiana and beyond, who do not have access to a physical campus. Others are professionals with careers and families who want the convenience of an online program. All of them are looking to advance the success they’ve already achieved, and an IU Online education brings meaningful growth and expanded opportunities while allowing them to balance their personal and professional lives.

Michael Myers, a nontraditional returning student who earned an online degree in computer information systems and business from IU, shared his experience.

“With my background and dual degree in computer information systems and marketing, I received a half-dozen offers from Fortune 500 companies, including some in the top 10,” he said. “Working part time as a tech consultant and taking four or five classes a semester was hard work, but now I have a degree that can take me anywhere.”

Our IU Online students, just as our campus students, achieve their goals when there is a robust ecosystem of services to support their academic pursuits. Services like undergraduate advising, student success coaching, admissions and recruitment, onboarding, and financial support were recently redesigned to be faster and more efficient for online students.

We’ve established a second eight-week admissions program that provides enhanced opportunities for people to join the IU community, and we coordinated admissions to registration so students could go from applicant to registrant within hours rather than days. As a result of this work, we’re hearing more and more positive reactions from our students. In fact, after moving from application to enrollment in less than 30 minutes, one student said we were “freaky fast!”

For the majority of our online programs, our students learn from the same faculty who teach on our campuses. For similar tuition, our online students have access to the expertise and quality we offer every IU student, and that’s a powerful differentiator. At many other large providers of online education, 20% or less of faculty teaching in the programs may be full-time; at IU, it’s 50%. We are especially grateful to our IU faculty for their commitment and dedication to providing an academically excellent and enriching experience.

Excellence is the foundation of every IU Online degree program. U.S. News and World report has highly ranked online programs from our Bloomington, Indianapolis and regional campuses. The Kelley School of Business was ranked first for its online MBA degree and Master of Science in Business program, while the IU School of Nursing achieved its highest ranking to date at 10th overall. In addition, IU Online itself ranked No. 1 in Indiana, while the online bachelor’s program in psychology, offered through IU East’s Department of Psychology, ranked eighth.

Most recently, our B.S. in informatics was recognized as one of the top online programs in information technology in the nation by Forbes, and IU Online received a 2023 Excellence in Enrollment Management Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.

Our online programs are part of the excellent instruction and student services associated with Indiana University. When you combine high-quality programs with “freaky fast” services and a healthy helping of marketing to get the word out, you have a recipe for success. Success in our online programs will help maximize the number of students whose lives have been enriched by the Indiana University experience.

Susan Sciame-Giesecke is Indiana University’s vice president for regional campuses and online education.