ACU Dallas will add two online undergraduate degree programs in marketing and management in partnership with the College of Business Administration.
The online degree programs were approved by the faculty of COBA, the Academic Council of COBA and by the Academic Council of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. The CGPS in Dallas oversees the online graduate programs and now undergraduate programs, through ACU.
Dr. Mark Phillips, professor of management sciences and director of undergraduate online business programs, is helping to coordinate the joint-partnership of COBA with CGPS for the new online programs.
“We have done, I think, a great job at ACU in the 15 years that I’ve been here just at making ACU more accessible,” Phillips said. “The makeup of the student population here is much more diverse than it used to be. We provide a lot better service and support to people who are first-generation students, who traditionally face more challenges going through. But sooner or later, that can only get us so far. Most of the folks that research education see pressure in the industry for more affordable, more accessible higher education. So, we anticipate this is where we are going to see growth in the future. Most of the predictions are that on-campus undergraduate education will be mostly flat, it’s not going to get any bigger. Most of the projections for growth are in online education, so from a business perspective, we need to be there because that’s where the customers are. But from a perspective of fulfilling our mission, we also need to be there because that’s where the people are.”
Of the five overarching business degrees (marketing, management, accounting, finance and information systems) offered by COBA, Phillips said marketing and management were chosen based primarily on the popularity of the degrees.
“What we do here, and I realize that I’m biased because I work here and I love it, but what we do here is a kind of unique business model for teaching,” Phillips said. “It’s very hands on and intimate. It’s faculty and students knowing each other and working together and all of that. And the concern has been, number one, can we carry that dynamic into the online realm? And, number two, can we make sure what we deliver online is of equivalent quality to what we’re doing here, so that we don’t cheapen the brand here?”
Phillips said the online undergraduate marketing and management degree programs will meet the same requirements as on-campus programs. The degrees have been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, the highest level of accreditation for business programs within the United States.
“So, we feel good about being able to keep that going,” Phillips said.
ACU Dallas already offers online master degree programs in the field of business. However, ACU Dallas is still limited on undergraduate degree programs offered in an online format. ACU Dallas currently offers a bachelor of science degree in information technology administration, integrated studies and psychology.
“It’s a little surprising, I think, to people my age of how much of 20-year-olds’ lives are already lived online,” Phillips said. “I think it’s maybe harder for us to comprehend how you do education online, but I think students that are coming into high school and college now expect to live much of their life online and so, we need to be there.”
Information on enrollment into the programs will be available on the ACU Dallas website within the coming week. Students will be able to begin taking general education classes towards the new degree plans in the summer session of 2020. The first online business classes will be available for students in the fall session of 2020.