ACU Online’s graduate program has been ranked third in the nation by Guide to Online Schools for the second year in a row.
Dr. Donnie Snider, chair of the Department of Graduate Studies in Education, attributes the success of the program to its faith-based curriculum.
“We try to keep a spiritual tie. Students really enjoy the professional training, but the spiritual training is like a bonus,” Snider said.
Carol Williams, associate provost for Distance Education, said the program’s success comes from its faculty and students. She also believes a faith-based perspective is important.
“I think we work really hard to have interactive courses. Also, we have a great faculty that makes it much more than an online course,” Williams said. “[The program] calls students to a high standard with a faith-based perspective.”
ACU Online’s graduate program has seen massive growth since its creation in the fall of 2006. Starting with only about 5 students, Snider said the program now boasts more than 400 students worldwide.
“Despite the time delay, we also have international students. This program is fulfilling the university’s mission all over the world,” Snider said. “Lots of growth in the program has happened through word of mouth, students to other students.”
The program now offers three different Master’s programs and two graduate certificates, all revolving around education and conflict resolution. Williams said the programs are designed for working professionals.
“We have tried to structure the delivery of these courses,” Williams said. “Adult learners prefer short courses. These degrees and certificates can be completed in two years.”
ACU Online’s graduate program already is working on future plans to maintain its innovative reputation.
“We are looking to add hybrid programs, partially online and residential. We have a group on campus looking at what we ought to do with graduate programs,” Williams said.
While this is not the most prestigious honor the program has received, Williams stresses that it never hurts to get any kind of recognition.
Guide to Online Schools, located at www.guidetoonlineschools.com, was formed by SR Education Group, a database of guides to all types of educational institutions, such as art schools, computer training institutes and culinary schools. The group’s website states that it serves as a place to help students enhance their educational endeavors and careers.
The guide used a precise methodology to comprise the national rankings by a number of factors, such as cost, accreditation, graduation and retention rates and student feedback. These statistics were borrowed from The National Center for Educational Statistics.
For more information on ACU Online’s graduate programs, contact David Pittman, the university’s graduate admissions counselor at, 674-2810.