University wishes to serve state universities online

by Heather Fors

University President Mark Yudof’s efforts in uniting the University with other state schools last year provoked Tuesday’s launch of new programs in Rochester.
The University agreed to offer degrees in health care, education and information technology, among other disciplines previously out of Rochester students’ reach. And the Internet is bringing the University even closer to out-state classrooms.
Students can take these courses through the University Center Rochester, an educational swapping system with Rochester Community & Technical College, Winona State University and the University.
“Their commitment is going to be an ongoing commitment to assist us in meeting Rochester’s educational needs, particularly at the upper division level,” said Dale Bower, provost of the University Center Rochester.
Through the Rochester Center, people can take classes from any one of the three institutions and earn credit toward their degree or professional certification.
Beginning this fall, undergraduates can work toward a bachelor of science degree in scientific and technical communication. Teaching methods for these courses combine interactive television between the University and Rochester in addition to face to face interaction and Web-based learning.
University officials plan to add more programs next year. For example, the University and the Mayo Clinic’s audiology section will offer a joint doctorate degree emphasizing clinical audiology in fall 1999.
The University has been a presence at the Rochester technical school for about 20 years, offering extension classes.
With businesses like IBM and the Mayo Clinic expanding their services and growing stronger in Rochester’s community, University Executive Vice President and Provost Bob Bruininks said school officials thought it was prudent to expand the offered courses and degrees at the Rochester school.
“The community has said, ‘Please help us in these areas,'” said Ann Hill Duin, the vice provost for Instructional Technology and the University Partnership.
The University Center Rochester, in conjunction with the University, had already established a few baccalaureate degrees and several post-baccalaureate license and certificate programs.
University officials said they hope to serve the state schools more effectively by putting much of the curriculum online. They said they want to use every resource possible to give students the best education.
Professors from many practices already use the expertise of the top experts in their area of knowledge.
“If the best people to collaborate with are in Europe or South America, that’s who we’re online with,” Hill Duin said.
The possibility for the University to go global is not far from reality.
“If the best way to serve the citizens of this state is to develop a global partnership, then that’s what we should do,” Hill Duin said.