Elevating Online Education

New school offers certificates and degrees for career advancement and personal growth

Written by Annie Beckmann
Photography by Chris Kalinko
May 27, 2016

Students in the School of New and Continuing Studies (NCS) range in age from early 20s to late 50s, definitely a new twist for Seattle U.

Some seek mid-career changes. Others are increasing their skill set so they can reach full potential in their current careers. Still others have life circumstances that cause them to delay completing a bachelor’s degree. Now they’re working hard to make that dream a reality.

Trish Thomas Henley, associate dean of the School of New and Continuing Studies, offers a look at the efforts to reach more adult learners with degree-completion and certificate programs.

Why are programs in Digital Cultures and Organizational Leadership the first to launch?

Seattle University conducted extensive research into the needs of both prospective students and employers. The Digital Cultures program is a liberal arts degree that focuses on what it means to be human in the digital age, while also providing students with key digital skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century workplace. Organizational Leadership gives adult learners the leadership skills necessary to lead successful modern organizations.

Within these two bachelor degree completion programs, are there further areas of specialization, much like majors?

Yes, both degree completion programs are developing certificates that complement the major. These certificates can be taken alone or as electives in the majors. The Web Development Certificate program already has graduates.

Why is hybrid education so vital today? Has it eclipsed the popularity of strictly online learning?

Hybrid and online education is really a social justice issue. Independent students, students who work full-time and are perhaps supporting children or caring for parents, do not always have lives that allow them to take classes on campus during traditional times of the day. Hybrid and online education...allows our students the flexibility to balance work and family life. Research shows that adult learners have higher success rates with hybrid programs, where course content is delivered online and there are occasional face-to-face meetings, rather than face-to-face or purely online programs.

What is successful hybrid learning/teaching?

The characteristics of successful hybrid teaching are the same as the characteristics of a successful face-to-face class. What’s different are the tools and strategies that professors use to facilitate student learning.

What’s the NCS top priority now?

Our top priority is now and always will be our students. We will be starting new programs, building relationships in the business community for internship placement and continuing to refine our student support services.

Learn more about upcoming information sessions or email ncs_admissions@seattleu.edu to RSVP to a session.

Trish Henley Trish Thomas Henley is associate dean of the School of New and Continuing Studies.