More than 220 graduates are earning their #OnlineStripes during this weekend’s Mizzou commencement ceremonies December 14 – 16, 2018.

To celebrate their outstanding accomplishments without traveling to campus, these grads can “attend” an online commencement ceremony that features a guest speaker, College of Arts and Science Dean Patricia Okker.

Patricia Okker Patricia Okker
College of Arts and Science

“We are all cheering for you, wherever you are. Even if you can’t come to campus for commencement,” said Okker.

The #MizzouMade online class of 2018 ranges in age from 22 to 64, and all worked diligently amidst conflicting priorities in order to finish their degrees, a detail that Dean Okker touches on in her remarks.

“Among the notable accomplishments of this fall’s graduating class is the fact that many of you finished your degrees while juggling work and commitments in your communities all across the U.S. and the world,” said Okker. “Whether it was missed basketball games, late nights at work, or a list of chores around the house that went undone, there’s no shortage of sacrifices you’ve made to be an online student.”

Mizzou Online Director Kim Siegenthaler shares Okker’s praise of the new graduates and recognizes their commitment to succeed despite any challenges they may have faced.

“These graduates have balanced competing priorities and persevered to reach this achievement,” said Siegenthaler. “We’re honored to have had the opportunity to help these graduates prepare for the next step, whether it’s professional advancement or personal enrichment.”

As Okker states in her online commencement speech, to this weekend’s graduates: “The entire Mizzou family congratulates you and wishes you every success … Congratulations!”

Join us in celebrating the online class of 2018 on their online commencement ceremony website. You can learn more about the graduating class, sign the guest book to let them know how proud you are and participate in the conversation on social media with #OnlineStripes.

Are you earning your online degree this weekend? Whether you’re having a special dinner, creating your own graduation celebration at home or even coming to Columbia, share your experience with us on social media using #OnlineStripes.

Ready to earn your #OnlineStripes? Join more than 300,000 Mizzou alumni making a difference across the globe:


The Trulaske College of Business is focused on leading the way in business education — and leading you to the next level of your finance career. With an online master’s in finance from MU, graduates can achieve more, earn more and still have time for life’s responsibilities.

3 reasons to get your online master’s in finance:

1. Level up:

The finance industry is growing rapidly, gaining roughly 39,300 new jobs between 2016 and 20261. With so many opportunities available, companies are searching for the most skilled professionals to take on these new jobs. Mizzou’s online master’s in finance program prepares graduates to become more marketable and promotable — ready to move into managerial roles.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Analysts.

2. Earn your ROI:

With an average salary of $81,7602, a finance master’s graduate has earnings potential. In fact, master’s-holding professionals earn 29 percent more than their bachelor’s-holding colleagues at the mid-career mark. The Trulaske program’s estimated cost is $35,217 — graduates can truly get a high return on investment when they study with Mizzou.

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Analysts.

3. Stay flexible:

MU’s online master’s in finance program is designed for busy professionals. The program fits into any schedule and can be completed from virtually any location — perfect for students who have jobs, families and other important responsibilities. Not to mention, the program allows for flexibility in students’ career paths. By providing a solid base from which to make a jump in career, this program prepares you for any path you choose to take.

Ready to discover the potential your future holds? Download your free career outlook guide for more.

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UPCEA Award Winners UPCEA Award Winners
Front row from left: UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen, Terrie Nagel, Mark Kuhnert, Chi-Ren Shyu, Robert Sanders
Back row from left: Sean Goggins, UPCEA President Sandi Pershing, Grant Scott, Rachel Pinnow

UPCEA, a leading national organization for online education, recognized the University of Missouri with three awards at their Central Region Conference Sept. 27 in St. Louis, Missouri. Vice Provost for eLearning Jim Spain helped kick off the conference with a presentation on the history of distance learning at the University of Missouri.

MU’s Informatics Institute earned the Outstanding Program Award (Credit) for the online master’s in data science and analytics. Academic Adviser Robert Sanders, Associate Professor Sean Goggins, Assistant Research Professor Grant Scott and Informatics Institute Director Chi-Ren Shyu were onsite to accept the award and discuss the program’s interdisciplinary approach.

“The DSA program was built from the ground up as a collaboration with five different academic units,” said Scott. “Our goal was to build a leading, innovative interdisciplinary program … we feel we’ve been successful.”

The College of Education took home the Outstanding Program Award (Noncredit) for the Missouri K-12 ESOL certification preparation program. Associate Professor Rachel Pinnow accepted the award and highlighted the issue that the ESOL program is working to solve — a shortage of qualified teachers.

“English language learners make up the fastest growing student population in the United States,” said Pinnow. “Unfortunately this rise in English language learners in our schools has not been met with the corresponding rise in teachers who are certified to work with these students effectively.”

UPCEA also honored Mizzou Online Assistant Director of Research Terrie Nagel and School of Health Professions Associate Teaching Professor Mark Kuhnert with the Research and Scholarship Award for their research, “Supporting Internships with Mobile Learning.”

About UPCEA: The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) is the leading association for professional, continuing and online education. For more than 100 years, UPCEA has served most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. Founded in 1915, the association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues.

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The University of Missouri’s online master’s in special education with an emphasis in gifted education ranks No. 2 on “The 30 Best Online Master’s in Gifted & Talented Education Programs” list.

Mizzou is excited to offer a top-ranked program for educators that have a passion for creating a dynamic learning experience for gifted students. As writes, “A master’s in gifted education online prepares you for an instrumental role in the development of exceptional students’ abilities.”

Not only teachers benefit from the program — the degree has potential applications for occupational therapists, school counselors, and more. The program meets Missouri Department of Education (DESE) academic requirements for Missouri Gifted Certification.

The online master’s in special education program is 100 percent online, and students need 30 credit hours to complete the program. Students typically take one or two classes each semester and finish in two to three years.

Earn your #OnlineStripes from one of the best gifted education programs in the nation.

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The University of Missouri’s online master’s in journalism offerings rank No. 2 on “The 5 Best Online Master’s in Journalism Programs” list.

Mizzou offers journalism master’s options in four areas — health communication, interactive media, media management and strategic communication — that focus on preparing graduates for career advancement. Students come from newsrooms, broadcast stations, the armed forces, advertising firms and more.

All of the online journalism master’s options require 37 credit hours and one campus visit. This in-person professional seminar gives students an opportunity to meet their peers and further their discussions on the future of journalism. Hear more from a current student >>

Earn your #OnlineStripes from one of the best journalism schools in the nation.

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5 tips for success when taking online classes

Some of you are currently taking online classes. Others of you might be just starting your online degree program. And still others might be considering online education and beginning by doing your research. (If so, good for you!)

No matter what, we’d like to help you feel prepared. Keep reading for our five tips for success when taking online classes.

1. Know what to expect.

There is a myth that online courses are easier, or require less time, than face-to-face classes. This is not true! Taking an online course can be just as difficult. In fact, some students find that online courses are more demanding and take more time because of the additional reading required.

While online courses may give you more flexibility in terms of where and when you do your course work, don’t confuse the convenience of learning online (at home or at your own pace) with ease of learning the content.

Is online learning right for you? Find out by answering these questions.

2. Establish healthy study habits and a suitable workspace.

Once you’ve decided that online classes are right for you, the next step is making sure you’ve brushed up on the most effective study methods. If you’re continuing your education after many years in the workforce, you may need a bit of a refresher. Even if you have been immersed in classes recently, taking a step back and evaluating your study habits is an effective practice.

In addition to setting yourself up for studying success, make sure that you establish a suitable workspace. The ideal space is one that is quiet, with good internet connection and access to power, and without any distractions.

3. Take advantage of resources.

From the library to the career center, online students have access to many resources that exist for on-campus students. Need some help writing a paper? Need some one-on-one advice to help improve your study habits? There are resources for that, and much more. Make sure to check out these resources early, and take advantage of them when necessary.

4. Communicate frequently with professors and peers.

If you are taking a semester-based class, think of it as a “virtual classroom,” meaning that you should interact with your professors and peers just as you would in-person. These interactions are crucial to feeling engaged and avoiding isolation when taking online classes. In fact, many instructors will encourage online discussions, which is an excellent way to learn more about your peers. Continue the conversation by asking questions and giving feedback.

Additionally, fostering a strong relationship with your instructors will only help you succeed. Brittany Smith, who earned her master’s online at Mizzou, said that while the lack of face-to-face is “challenging,” her professors gave her the flexibility and support she needed to help her achieve her goals. Hear more from Brittany.

5. Ask for help.

If you have questions that aren’t related to a specific class, don’t be afraid to reach out to your academic adviser. All online degree-seeking students at Mizzou are assigned an adviser upon acceptance into a degree program.

Questions about your course or an assignment? As mentioned in Tip 4, having a great relationship with your instructors and fellow students will help you feel empowered to ask them for their assistance.

The University of Missouri’s online bachelor’s in general studies program ranks No. 1 on “The 45 Best Online Bachelor’s in General Studies Programs” list.

The Best Schools selects degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings and reputation. The organization also ranks Mizzou in the top of lists such as “The 30 Best Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Degree Programs” and “The Five Best Online Master’s in Journalism Programs” — and many more.

Mizzou’s online bachelor’s in general studies program is 100 percent online, and typical transfer students need 66 credit hours to complete the program.

Ready to earn your #OnlineStripes? Learn more about the program and apply.

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General studies: Online bachelor’s degree

U.S. News ranks Mizzou's online programs among the best

Bill Poteet: Bachelor of General Studies `17, University of Missouri

Demand for professionals who can make sense of big health data and IT systems is growing along with expanded career opportunities for community health workers and health educators. In fact, employment for these two occupations is projected to grow 16 percent between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.1

Because the need for trained public health professionals is growing, the demand for more public health education programs also surges.

To help address this need, the University of Missouri is launching two public health programs – both 100 percent online. The School of Health Professions now offers a bachelor of health science in public health and the School of Medicine will open in January 2019 a graduate certificate in informatics for public health.

Demand for new graduates: informatics for public health

This 12-credit-hour graduate certificate provides a unique focus on the development, adoption and application of informatics solutions in the public health arena. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach and is a collaboration between the School of Medicine and the School of Health Professions at Mizzou.

Iris Zachary, assistant research professor in the School of Medicine’s health management and informatics department, said the informatics program is unique and valuable, and you won’t find many others like it elsewhere.

“We worked to create the best program to train professionals in the public health field maximizing the use of data and information technology. We apply informatics to current and emerging public health practice and interventions to improve outcomes,” Zachary said. “With this certificate, we hope to help close the gap between community need and the number of trained informatics professionals in the public health field.”

Public health informatics officers, information officers, health care workers and community professionals servicing the public health field – and those aspiring to work in the field – will find immense value in this degree.

Read more about the program.

Bachelor of health science in public health

Similarly, the bachelor’s program is designed to address the need for more public health professionals by preparing graduates to enter the workforce in a number of core areas of public health.

“This program is built for students who have a passion for promoting the health of people and communities,” said Michelle Teti, associate professor in the Department of Health Sciences, who is also the lead faculty member for the program. “Whether the student has yet to enter the workforce, or is in the midst of their career, this degree will prepare them for success.”

Read more about the program.

Apply today

The online BPH and informatics for public health programs are 100 percent online. No campus visits are required.

The BPH program is currently accepting applications for classes that begin in August.

The informatics for public health program will begin offering classes in January 2019 with applications being accepted through Dec. 15.

The School of Health Professions also is launching a master’s program in veterinary public health with classes beginning in August.

“Mizzou continues to expand the number of online degree programs for high-demand fields such as public health,” said Kim Siegenthaler, director of Mizzou Online. “We are providing in-demand majors for students who can’t relocate to campus for their studies, and we’re also producing new professionals that the public needs.”

For more information about online public health degrees and certificates from Mizzou, visit

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Public health: Online bachelor’s degree completion

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Online public health degrees



Mizzou Online award winners at the Celebration of Teaching on May 16, 2018 Mizzou Online award winners
at the Celebration of Teaching on May 16, 2018

Mizzou recently celebrated the commencement of more than 5,500 graduates, including more than 540 students who earned their degrees online.

To recognize the faculty that makes it possible for these graduates to earn a first-class education, Mizzou hosts the Celebration of Teaching. At this annual professional development opportunity, the MU community comes together to acknowledge educators for their unique approaches to teaching.  

On May 16, at this year’s Celebration of Teaching, MU recognized five faculty members for their efforts in designing high-quality online courses and excelling in facilitating online learning experiences.

This year’s awards for Excellence in Online Class Facilitation went to Nikki Ashcraft, Lynelle Phillips and Donna Otto. The Outstanding Online Course Design Award went to Dr. Laurie Kingsley and Dr. Laura Cole.

Nikki Ashcraft is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the College of Education Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages program (TESOL) and has taught 100 percent online for seven years.

Assistant Professor Samuel Otten nominated Ashcraft for the honor and highlighted her work on the Teaching ESL/EFL to Adult Learners course. During fall 2017, Ashcraft facilitated student interactions across the globe with thoughtfully crafted discussion questions among students from the U.S., China, Korea and Ecuador. “Dr. Ashcraft’s skill in engaging with students and promoting student-to-student interaction is widely evident,” Otten wrote.

The second online class facilitation award went to instructors for the Sinclair School of Nursing, Lynelle Phillips and Donna Otto. Phillips and Otto worked on a redesign of the RN-to-BSN curriculum track, specifically aiming to improve the student experience in required group activities.

Laura Foley, academic technology liaison for the Sinclair School of Nursing, nominated both Phillips and Otto for the award. Foley wrote that the two professors deserve to be recognizedas they were “highly successful in improving group interactions in the NURSE 4970 course.”

Laurie Kingsley, an Associate Teaching Professor in Literacy Education in the College of Education was nominated for her work on Making a Difference for Struggling Reader, a graduate course taken by practicing teachers.

Otten, who also serves as Chair of the Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum Faculty Awards Committee, nominated Kingsley for the outstanding course design award.

In the course, Kingsley introduced a collaborative opportunity between her students, and as Otten writes, “This extremely authentic task has been lauded by many of the students in both of the classes as one of the best experiences they have had in an online class.”

Laura Cole also was honored for her exceptional work on an online course. Cole developed Sustainable Building Design Fundamentals with no previous online teaching experience. For this course, she was tasked with implementing an online laboratory, an approach that very few have attempted.

Not only did Cole attempt an online laboratory in her course, she succeeded. As her nominator, Jerod Quinn, wrote, “Dr. Cole went above and beyond creating this course to impact, benefit, and serve her learners in ways that educators dream about.”

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This weekend, May 11-13, the University of Missouri celebrates a new class of graduates. Among them are more than 540 graduates who are earning their #OnlineStripes – they completed their degrees online. 

Ajay Vinze Ajay Vinze
Trulaske College of Business

Ajay Vinzé, Dean of the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, reminds the graduates that earning their degree online was no small feat. 

“We at the University of Missouri developed distance learning opportunities to improve access. It certainly was not to make programs any easier,” said Vinzé. “Online programming at Mizzou is just as rigorous as our in-seat offerings. But completing these programs is arguably more difficult, as many of our online students – all of you – are balancing family, career, and community responsibilities.”

Vinzé’s remarks are part of MU’s online commencement celebration of the class of 2018. The online commencement site also includes a guestbook and a stream of best wishes for online graduates from Twitter users.

The site is a tribute to the past accomplishments of the new graduates, but Vinzé reminds them to also look ahead to their future.

“The future is bright,” Vinzé says. “You are now #MizzouMade and I know you’ll join the extensive network of Tigers with pride.”

More than 540 Tigers from more than a dozen MU schools and colleges have earned their degrees or certificates online this semester at all academic levels.

Members of Mizzou’s online class of ’18 live in 39 of the United States and seven countries — as far away as Thailand. They range in age from 21 to 72. 21 graduates received tuition awards that provide a 10 percent tuition reduction (the Mizzou Online Military Tuition Award and the Mizzou Online Community College Award).

One of the spring ’18 graduates is Jennifer Kandlik, who has earned several degrees through the University of Missouri. This semester, Kandlik has completed a doctorate in nursing practice online. Kandlik reminds graduates to not only thank their support networks, but to congratulate themselves during this time of celebration.

“Never forget to congratulate yourself,” said Kandlik. “Yes, give yourself a round of applause. You are the one who dreamed of more and took the steps needed to pursue the goal of higher education and never gave up.” 

Are you earning your #OnlineStripes this weekend? If so, share your photos on social media with #OnlineStripes in your post. You also can send the web link to your friends and family so they may leave congratulatory messages in the online guest book

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