Baker to offer online nursing master's degree program

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November 30, 2015

Baker University will launch the latest of its online post-graduate degree programs next semester.

Baker Provost Brian Posler said the Baker University School of Nursing will offer its first online degree program with the start of the spring semester in January. The master’s of science in nursing will prepare students in one of two tracks, nursing administration or nursing education.

The program, which developed after a two-year internal vetting process, received the blessing of the regional post-secondary accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, in October, said Carol Moore, associate dean of Baker School of Nursing.

“We did an extensive vetting process, which included sending out surveys and a whole feasibility study,” she said. “We had a very positive response.

“We have six PhD-prepared faculty, so we are well situated. We had time to put together a very solid program.”

The program is designed for working nurses who want to advance their careers by moving on to positions as nursing administrators or instructors in academic or institutional settings, Moore said. The online structure was chosen because it is anticipated many of the students also would have family obligations vying for their time as they complete the degree’s required 37 hours of course work, she said.

“We anticipate getting students from all across Kansas and even out of state, “We have eight applications already and have had a number of inquiries. There are people who want this kind of program.”

Baker offers a variety of degree programs online, from an associate of arts in business to a doctorate in education in educational leadership. The new nursing program is the school’s first master’s degree to be offered exclusively online, but Baker does offer an online option for six master’s level degrees.

Although there won’t be an announcement soon, Baker is studying adding additional master’s degrees with online options in logistics and “big data,” Posler said. When developing online programs, attention is given to what Posler said were the “hallmarks” of Baker education: high-touch instruction and strong personal relationships.

“It is important we maintain that feeling in a Baker degree even if we’re not doing face-to-face instruction,” Posler said. “We’ve certainly seen faster growth in online programs than on on-ground programs. I would expect that trend to continue.”

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