U.S. News & World Report has ranked a Clemson University College of Education program as the #1 online graduate education program in the nation in 2022. The College’s Master of Education in Teaching and Learning program has regained the top spot, which it has held for four of the last five years.
According to George J. Petersen, founding dean of the College of Education, to be ranked as the best program in a crowded field of online education programs among prestigious universities is no small feat, and is proof of the hard work put into curriculum design and delivery by faculty and staff.
Petersen said the program is one of many the College has innovated and improved after recognizing an increasing desire from working professionals in education for quality online graduate programs that allow them to further their careers while on the job.
“We offer a best-in-class education experience for our students whether they are on our campus or half a world away, and this ranking proves it,” Petersen said. “This ranking also sends a clear message to school administrators, our educational partners and our state and nation that Clemson alumni are among the best prepared educators available.”
Specialized programs offered by the College were also highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, including degree programs in Curriculum and Instruction; Educational Administration and Supervision; and Special Education.
Jeff Marshall, associate dean for research and graduate studies for the College, said faculty and staff behind the program have continued to focus on the best ways to shape education content and delivery. The continual focus on providing the highest academic quality and supporting the individual needs of all students has and continues to set this program at the top year after year.
“Every institution has had to learn to teach online due to the pandemic, but we had the advantage of puzzling through the complexities of developing and implementing such programs well before the pandemic,” Marshall said. “Thus, we didn’t need to start from scratch.”
Marshall said the faculty and staff were able to build from existing excellence while adapting to new situations and technologies as appropriate. Further, the program has allowed the College to provide an environment of inclusive excellence and continuing education to teachers throughout the state and nation in both urban and rural areas, many of which do not have an institution of higher education nearby.
Marshall said that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the field of online education has only become more crowded and competitive, so achieving a top ranking is something of which the faculty and staff of the College of Education should be proud.
College leadership need only look to graduate program enrollment to see they’re on the right track with program design and delivery. Since fall 2016, enrollment in the program has gone from 19 students to an average of 277 students the past three years. The program has also welcomed U.S. students from 46 states and international students from eight different nations.
Marshall said this growth indicates an excitement and high engagement with K-12 teacher audiences. This increase coupled with four years of top rankings demonstrates a high-growth program with unsurpassed excellence.
“We’re extremely proud of this program, and we never stop in our efforts to refine and improve it,” Marshall said. “We ensure that the program is an excellent experience for educators from their beginning inquiry and application until they graduate 18 months later.”
Marshall said achieving a top ranking requires a dedication to program quality and a determined commitment to graduating each student who enters the program. According to U.S. News, the highest-ranked programs at the master’s level perform well on traditional metrics — such as having selective admissions and credentialed faculty — while also successfully adapting their course delivery for educating students remotely. U.S. News provides comprehensive data and ranking of online programs to prospective students.
The College of Education offers master’s and educational specialist degrees that prepare professionals for such fields as teaching, school administration, counseling, human resources and leadership in both higher education and athletics. The College offers many classes online to maximize accessibility and maintain quality.
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