Online public health degree coming Fall 2011

Morgan Galloway

Kent State’s College of Public Health will offer an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree beginning Fall 2011.

The public health bachelor’s degree will be the second 100 percent online bachelor’s degree offered through the university.

Dr. Thomas Brewer, associate dean for the College of Public Health, said the idea for an online public health bachelor’s degree started with the creation of the college in 2009.

“There are very few undergraduate degrees in public health in the nation,” Brewer said. “We’re the only one in Ohio and the only one in the region. The college was set up from the beginning to have all three levels; baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D.”

To solidify the creation of the online degree, the College of Public Health started offering every public health class in-class and online. As a result, Brewer said 75 percent of enrollment in every class across every campus was in online sections.

“Increasingly, the percentage of college students are older than traditional age, working either full-time or part-time, have family obligations and find that an online degree is really the only option that they can pursue in hopes of completing it in a reasonable timeframe,” said Deborah Huntsman, executive director of distance learning and curriculum studies.

To assist in the foundation of the online degree, the College of Public Health hired an instructional designer who is trained in how people learn online, how to deliver content online and how to assess online content.

Brewer said the college has the resources to enroll between 25 and 50 online students in the degree program.

“We’re really investing in the program and trying to make it as rigorous and as much a quality product as possible,” Brewer said.

Huntsman said there are many different variables that go into deciding whether or not an online degree is the right choice.

“One is not easier or harder,” Huntsman said. “One’s not better or worse. They’re just different. For some students, learning online is a superior experience.”

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Morgan Galloway at [email protected].