Central Michigan University online bachelor's and master's degree programs launching this fall will help meet the needs of students across the U.S. in the fields of entrepreneurship, public administration, information systems and fashion.
More than 13,100 CMU students take online classes each year. Of 6,710 students surveyed in 2016, nearly half said they had taken at least one online course, and a quarter of graduate students stated they had taken all of their graduate courses online.
"Early arguments in favor of online learning, such as convenience and flexibility, remain true to this day," said Pete Ross, vice provost of academic development. He noted that the web connects far-flung students with each other and with experts, faculty and guest speakers whom they otherwise would never meet.
"Since offering our first internet-based course in 1994, we have made student success in online learning a core endeavor of the university," Ross said, citing investments in faculty development, curriculum and course design, technology, support, and student services — including national leadership in making library resources available to all students.
Discover CMU's new online programs
Charting the entrepreneurial seas
Master of entrepreneurial transactions degree
The online master of entrepreneurial transactions degree will help students learn to organize and finance new ventures; identify and protect inventions, brands and other intellectual property; and manage growth and risks on their startups and businesses.
"Entrepreneurship education is growing, and one-year master's degrees offer students unique value," said Jeff Thomas, who chairs CMU's entrepreneurship department. "The M.E.T. program will not only prepare students to recognize opportunities in new and growing markets, it will empower them to pursue and exploit those opportunities. By focusing on the nuts and bolts of complex transactions, the M.E.T. program teaches students about the meatier aspects of entrepreneurship, such as law and finance, and gives them a practical, interdisciplinary and integrated experience."
Course topics include seed financing and securities regulation, crowdfunding, venture capital, intellectual property for entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurial acquisitions and exits.
Setting up service leaders for success
Master of public administration degree
Students can earn a general online master of public administration degree or target their interests in nonprofit management or state and local government.
"The program ensures that students and in-career professionals become more effective leaders and managers in the public sector, from government agencies to nonprofit organizations to international entities," said Thomas Greitens, M.P.A. program director.
The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration-accredited program provides practitioner-based learning experiences where students can develop and enhance skills for success in public service leadership.
"As an example of this, our program is implementing the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential in the fall," Greitens said. "The CNP provides students with additional opportunities to interact directly with public service leaders and learn additional skills for leading nonprofit organizations."
Educating on emerging technologies
Master of science in information systems degree
The online master's degree in information systems offers three tracks:
- Enterprise systems using systems, applications and products (SAP) software
- Project management
Information systems' continued disruption of organizations around the world impacts individuals and society, according to Anil Kumar, who chairs the business information systems department.
"While some jobs may simply disappear, exciting new opportunities are being created by emerging technologies," Kumar said. "This is a unique program. It leverages your existing skill sets to explore how technology can be introduced to create capabilities needed by information systems professionals."
Starting kids on the right foot
Bachelor of science degree, early childhood development and learning
The online early childhood development and learning major provides the foundation for professionals who want to work with children in educational and social settings.
"Young children experience the most rapid and dramatic brain development, growing 90 percent of their brain capacity before the age of 5," said Cheryl Priest, online program director. "Because only 19 percent of educators working with children under the age of 3 and 45 percent of those working with children between 3 and 5 have bachelor degrees, early childhood professionals must have access to relevant degree options."
The courses in this major meet the Michigan Department of Education's coursework requirements for early childhood education and preschool teaching and the National Association for the Education of Young Children's training guidelines. Students who complete this major may take the Michigan Early Childhood Examination to earn their Early Childhood (ZS) Endorsement, required for employment in Michigan public school preschool programs.
Stitching together a fashion degree
Bachelor of fashion merchandising and design
The online bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising and design prepares students for careers in visual merchandising and product development.
"To be competitive in today's retail landscape, brands must create experiential environments for consumers. The visual merchandising concentration prepares students to design store displays, interiors and product presentations," said Michael Mamp, associate professor of human environmental studies. "The product development concentration provides the training to develop products from concept to creation using cutting-edge technology such as 3-D printing and product life cycle management."
Because the core courses are the same, the online availability offers flexibility to on-campus students who plan to tailor their careers toward fashion design and fashion merchandising — two concentrations offered only on campus.