U.S. News & World Report has once again ranked a Clemson University College of Education program as the #1 online graduate education program in the nation in 2020. The college’s Master of Education in Teaching and Learning program retains the top spot for the third year in a row.

According to George J. Petersen, founding dean of the College of Education, maintaining the top ranking in a crowded field of online education programs is no small feat. He said the ranking is once again proof of the hard work put into curriculum design and delivery by a faculty and staff that see the value in online programs that allow busy education professionals to further their careers.

“We are committed to offering graduate programs that provide a best-in-class education experience,” Petersen said. “We are once again thrilled by this recognition, and we’re sure that our alumni and current graduate students are, too. Number one for three straight years tells school administrators, our educational partners and our state and nation that Clemson alumni are among the best prepared educators available.”

Jeff Marshall, associate dean for research and graduate studies for the college, said faculty and staff behind the program have continued to focus on the best ways to shape education content and delivery. Over the past year, they have prioritized constant, effective communication and support for students in the program.

Marshall said the online program has allowed the college to provide high-quality, inclusive continuing education to teachers throughout the state and nation in areas both urban and rural. Addressing the complex and varied needs of these educators has furthered strengthened and refined the program.

Marshall said college leadership need only look to graduate program enrollment to see they’re on the right track with program design and delivery. Since fall 2016, enrollment in the college’s master’s and specialist programs has increased 87 percent, and the M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning has played a significant role in those gains.

“We’re receiving every indication that we are providing what educators and school administrators want,” Marshall said. “The availability of quality online graduate education programs is more important now than ever as the state and nation face low teacher retention rates. Graduate programs such as the college’s M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning produce leaders and mentors in the field whom school administrators strive to retain.”

Marshall said achieving a top ranking requires a dedication to program quality and a determined commitment to graduating each student who enters the program. According to U.S. News, the highest-ranked programs at the master’s level perform well on traditional metrics — such as having selective admissions and credentialed faculty — while also successfully adapting their course delivery for educating students remotely. U.S. News provides comprehensive data and ranking of online programs to prospective students.

The College of Education offers master’s and educational specialist degrees that prepare professionals for such fields as teaching, school administration, counseling, human resources and leadership in both higher education and athletics. The college offers many classes online to maximize accessibility and maintain quality.

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