dcsimg

Interview: Dr. Gary A. Massey, Associate Dean, Columbia College

Dr. Gary A. Massey, Associate Dean for Adult Higher Education and Online Campus for Columbia College joins us today to discuss distance education.

Tell us about the distance learning programs offered at Columbia College.

Columbia College currently offers 16 online degrees and more than 500 online classes plus an online MBA. The college also will launch an online Master's in Criminal Justice in January 2008. Students also have the option of taking online and on campus classes at our 32 Nationwide Campuses. The college was founded in 1851 and launched the Online Campus in 2000.

What is the typical duration of each of your programs?

Eight-week classes are offered five sessions a year starting in January, March, June, August and October. Students may attend all five sessions a year or just one.

What would you say makes Columbia College programs different and better than other comparable online programs?

First, Columbia College is consistently ranked among America's Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. We also have been named a Best Midwestern College by Princeton Review.

We believe in academic quality. Our online faculty are practicing professionals who have at least a master's degree in their field. They also undergo the same screening process as our full-time faculty. They are reviewed and approved by the appropriate department chairs and the dean for Academic Affairs. All course syllabi also are approved by the appropriate department chairs and the dean for Academic Affairs.

Our admissions process is extremely simple. Students fill out a one-page application and submit a one time non-refundable application fee of $35. That's it.

Our tuition is among the most affordable when compared with other institutions who have attained the same level of accreditation.

Plus we cap the number of students in our online classes at 25. Our online classes are intentionally small to allow our instructors to provide more feedback and contact. Some institutions allow 100 to 200 students to take an online class. We believe a more intimate setting contributes to greater learning.

How important would you say accreditation is when choosing an online college?

Just about every online school says it is accredited, but not all accreditations are created equal. It's important for students to understand what the different accreditations mean. Students may learn more about accreditation at http://www.ed.gov/.

Columbia College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association, a federally approved organization that accredits 8,500 public and private schools.

Our online degree programs meet the same accreditation standards as our on-campus degree programs.

There is some debate as to whether or not online degrees are as worthwhile as traditional degrees. What steps does Columbia College take to ensure that online students are receiving the same education that they'd receive in a classroom?

It is healthy for us as a society to debate this issue because ultimately it will serve the students better. As for Columbia College, we assess what our students learn through the "Major Field Test," which is a test that measures a student's overall body of knowledge when a student is nearing the completion of a degree program. We have found there is no discernable difference in the average scores of the Major Field Test between students who earned their degree on campus or online.

What would you say are some of the benefits of earning a degree online rather than in a traditional classroom?

The obvious benefit is the flexibility provided by online learning. It makes a higher education available to so many individuals who otherwise would never have access to earning a college degree. While it's true there is a loss of face-to-face interaction between a student and a professor, online students actually may have greater access to their instructors and other students through frequent e-mail, chat rooms and highly intensive discussion boards. Equally important, online learning engages all students in a class. Every student participates in discussions, not just those who are outspoken.

Does Columbia College offer any job placement services to your students and graduates?

Columbia College online students have access to the Career Services Center by phone, e-mail and in person if they live near Columbia, Mo. They also have access to important career resources online.

Is financial aid available to students in your programs?

Yes, federal financial aid is available to online students who qualify, plus online students can apply for institutional scholarships available through the Online Campus.

Do you have any advice for students enrolling in online classes for the first time?

As the associate dean of the Online Campus at Columbia College, and an online instructor, my advice to first-time online students is to not underestimate the amount of time it will take to be successful in an online class. Some students have the mistaken idea that online classes may be less rigorous than on campus classes. This just isn't true. To be a successful online student, you need to have self-discipline. If you procrastinate at all, you may not be able to catch up due to the accelerated class format.

What do you enjoy most about your position at Columbia College?

I enjoy working for Columbia College because of its size. We are still small enough to know every faculty and staff member by name, yet we are large enough that we have the resources we need available to us. We are limited only by our creativity and imagination in this rapidly changing industry.

Spearheading the online efforts at the college is challenging and exciting because we are a growing program. More than 12,000 students take online classes with us. We are continually adding new online degrees, including graduate degrees. We just launched an online MBA in January 2007 and we are launching a master of science in criminal justice degree in January 2008.

To Request more information about the distance learning programs available through Columbia College, Go here to visit them online.

Thank you Dr. Massey, for sharing and participating in this piece for Online Degrees 2.0

That concludes our interview!

More information:
Best MBA Degrees

Top Business Schools

Criminal justice degree


Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
  • Designed and taught by Syracuse faculty, the curriculum built on theory, fundamentals, and application.
  • The online format combines live weekly classes, multimedia coursework, and collaborative group learning exercises.
  • This program can be completed in as little as 15 months. A Bachelor’s degree and related undergraduate coursework is required for admission to the program.
  • Online Courses
  • Ranked 33rd among the Best Grad Schools for Social Work in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1904 as the nation’s first institute of higher learning to offer training for clinical social workers.
  • Provides a rigorous education, including a nationally accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and PhD in Social Work.  
  • Offers inventive programs with hands-on experience.  
  • Incorporates social justice values and multicultural perspectives into curriculum. 
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Students are issued a new laptop at the beginning of their programs.
  • All online services and study materials are available 24/7, with faculty available five days a week.
  • All programs available online, with the MBA program offered on campus in Salt Lake City.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), with programmatic accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2010.

Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Ranked among the Best Business Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked the #1 Public MBA program in the NYC region in 2014 by the U.S. News and World Report.
  • Educates about 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students per academic year at two campuses in New Jersey as well as five satellite locations in New Jersey and Singapore.
  • The only public university in New Jersey in the Association of American Universities (AAU), a group comprising of North America’s 63 leading research universities.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. Right now, more than 36,000 students are expanding their opportunities with Capella programs.

  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Fremont College traces its roots to Platt College’s founding in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1879, and the Southern California branch campus was established in 1986. The most significant evolution of the College started when its third CEO, Dr. Sabrina Kay, assumed leadership in 2007. Fremont College became an innovative center adopting the framework of Work-Based Learning Leadership at the Wharton School and Dr. Kay’s thesis on improved learning through practice and collaboration.
  • Online Courses

Located just steps from the U.S. Capital, the George Washington University is uniquely positioned at the core of U.S. government, policy and law. GW students and faculty benefit from an unparalleled opportunity to study and work alongside leaders in every discipline. Whether on campus or online, you too can take part in the interchanges that shape our community and the world.

  • Online Courses
  • Push Your Creativity To The Next Level.
  • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
  • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
  • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses

Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history, an environment of intellectual curiosity and discovery, and a supportive, student-centered approach to learning. Founded in 1869 as a land-grant school, the University is known today for its prolific faculty as well as a record of distinguished research and achievement in aerospace, engineering, technology, science, and math. Our goal is to educate and develop men and women of personal integrity and scholarly excellence.

  • Online Courses
  • For the 12th consecutive year, Cal U was named one for the best schools in the Northeast by The Princeton Review 
  • Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017
  • Quality Online courses at Cal U have the same objectives, content and learning outcomes as campus-based programs and are taught by the same expert professors.
  • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost. Student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1
  • CAL U online programs complete an annual assessment of student learning to ensure outcomes are focused on your success in career entry, advancement or enhancement!
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person). The strong liberal arts foundation promotes an environment of open-minded investigation and debate and attends to developing students beyond their academic accomplishments, while maintaining high academic standards. The University strives to be recognized as the preeminent Catholic comprehensive university in the Northeast.

  • Online Courses
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Ranked #4 among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as 2015 Military Friendly School by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Student to faculty ratio of 12:1, with an average class size of 21.
  • 85% of faculty holds a doctorate or terminal degree in their field.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses

Featured Schools