Two of UF's online programs rank in top five nationally

The University of Florida was ranked in the top five nationally for Best Online Bachelor's Program and Best Online Graduate Business Program. Rankings took certain factors into consideration such as; student engagement, admission selectivity, faculty credentials and training, peer reputation, and student services and technology. 

From The Gainesville Sun - By Katie Campbell

Online programs at the University of Florida are ranked in the top 5 in two categories by U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News released its rankings for online bachelor’s and master’s programs this week, and UF soared among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Ranked 34th just last year, UF’s program was ranked fifth for 2014.

Andy McCollough, UF associate provost for teaching and technology, said the jump in UF’s ranking is consistent with the university’s ability to provide quality online learning, and he believes prospective students and their parents will be reassured about enrolling in these programs.

Rankings were based on a point system considering four factors: student engagement, worth 40 percent; faculty credentials and training, worth 20 percent; peer reputation, worth 20 percent; and student services and technology, worth 20 percent. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach tied with UF at No. 5.

McCollough credited the rank change largely to the addition of peer reputation — a factor that had not been included in the past.

“Both industry-wise and peer-wise, our brand is well-known, and our reputation is excellent,” he said.

The UF brand, he said, follows its online programs, signaling to employers that students are prepared for their futures.

“I certainly take this as good news,” McCollough said. “But this doesn’t mean we stop improving.”

UF also was ranked third for Best Online Graduate Business Programs. Though the ranking did not reflect a drastic change, Alex Sevilla, the assistant dean and director for MBA programs at UF, said consistency is what allowed UF to bump up from fourth in 2013.

Sevilla said since the online graduate business program’s start in 1999, the market has changed dramatically. But in keeping the focus on being selective in admitting students and providing a rigorous academic environment with reliable faculty, UF remains competitive on a national scale, Sevilla said.

Most importantly, Sevilla said, the rankings reflect a satisfied student body.

“The rankings are nice,” he said. “But what we’re most excited about is student satisfaction.”

Rankings in the Online Graduate Business category were determined by scores on student engagement, worth 33 percent; admissions selectivity, worth 20 percent; peer reputation, worth 20 percent; faculty credentials and training, worth 13.5 percent; and student services and technology, worth 13.5 percent.

UF’s graduate education and graduate engineering programs were also ranked, coming in 47th and 44th in the nation.

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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