Graduate Studies developing online master’s programs to benefit future students

Erica Batyko

Graduate Studies introduced master’s programs in Public Administration, User Experience Design and Criminology and Criminal Justice this semester. 

Deborah Huntsman, associate vice president of Continuing and Distance Education, said Distance Learning has a strategic plan to develop 12 new online master’s programs. 

“We wanted to focus on making 12 new master’s programs that could be marketed to a national marketplace,” Huntsman said. “We worked across the university system to identify programs where there is a good match with university expertise and market demand.”

The new programs all met enrollment expectations, except for User Experience Design.

“User Experience Design really surprised us all because we had an original goal of 25 and we ended up exceeding 40,” Huntsman said. 

Huntsman said User Experience Design is a growing field, and the university does not have a lot of competition for its program.

“We got the program developed into the market fairly quickly,” Huntsman said. “At least right now there are not a lot of other universities that have a program that looks just like this.”

Public Administration is unique because it is an accredited program. Huntsman said professionally accredited programs are highly desirable at the graduate level. 

The Criminology and Criminal Justice master’s degree focuses on creating concentrations that are “very current in terms of employer’s needs,” Huntsman said.   

Provost Todd Diacon said the university creates online programs that have a demand in the national marketplace. 

The university is currently exploring the creation of a Master’s of Geographic Information Systems. Diacon said the program will begin in the Fall of 2015 if the Board of Trustees approves it.  

Diacon said the online master’s programs are beneficial for working professionals. 

“For working adults, online master’s programs are a terrific way to advance their career,” Diacon said. “It’s another example of how, at Kent State, we want to add value to all of our students, including those pursuing graduate degrees.” 

Contact Erica Batyko at [email protected].