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College of Education's online degrees ranked among country's top 5

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Graduate-level degrees offered by the University of Georgia College of Education are among the best in the country, according to the 2019 rankings from U.S. News and World Report.

Released today, the annual list of best online graduate education programs puts the College tied at No. 5 with Michigan State University and the University of Iowa. The College was tied at eighth for the past two years.

"We are pleased to expand access to graduate education through our online programs using innovative teaching techniques and technologies," said Denise A. Spangler, dean of the College of Education. "Although we enroll students from around the world, our primary student base is working professionals in Georgia who are unable to make the drive to Athens due to professional and personal commitments."

The annual rankings also include the top online undergraduate programs, another area where the College moved up on the list. UGA's two undergraduate programs—the B.S.Ed. in Special Education, offered through the College of Education, and the B.B.A. in Business Administration, offered through the Terry College of Business—were listed at No. 25, compared with the No. 31 spot last year. Other lists released today focus on programs in engineering, nursing, criminal justice and computer information technology.

The consistently high rankings are indicative of the new technologies and teaching methods used by faculty, who aim to keep the online courses interactive and engaging for students, no matter where they are located. Courses are interactive, embrace project-based learning and develop a sense of community among the students.

The online programs are administered through UGA's Office of Online Learning, which pairs faculty with staff trained in instructional design and distance education. This further enhances the tools available for instruction. The number of full-time, tenure-track faculty who teach online courses also contributes to the UGA College of Education's high ranking.

The College's newest online degree programs include master of education degrees in middle grades education and science education. Each are geared toward teachers across Georgia who want to increase their expertise in specific areas.

Overall, the UGA College of Education offers one undergraduate degree online, as well as eight master of education degrees, one educational specialist degree, three teaching endorsements and six graduate-level certificate programs.

Announced every January, the U.S. News survey weighs factors such as student engagement, diverse learning technologies, admissions and faculty credentials. The College of Education pioneered online learning at the University of Georgia when it launched the university's first online degree program in 2001, a master's in adult education.

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