AMHERST, Mass. – In a comprehensive plan to address the increasing demand for innovative course delivery and degree completion programs for students at every stage in their educational and professional lives, UMass Amherst today launched a strategic expansion of its landmark University Without Walls (UWW) program.
This expansion of UWW, which is one of the oldest and most well-regarded adult bachelor’s degree completion programs in the United States, anticipates a future where universities must evolve into integrated academic services providers capable of offering full-fledged degree programs, stackable credentials and professional career development. In this model, courses will be offered in a number of modes including face-to-face immersive, online and hybrid. The new UWW will elevate the student experience by introducing adaptable multi-modal pedagogies and comprehensive student support services, which will significantly expand access to a high-quality UMass Amherst education.
“The expansion will extend UWW’s rich, 47-year history of providing non-traditional students with a high-quality experience,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “From the notion of a decade ago that MOOCs would replace place-bound colleges, we are beginning to see higher education evolving into different, co-existing modalities of acquiring education, skills and credentials. As befits our university’s history of invention and innovation, we intend to embrace this upcoming revolution and become leaders.”
As one aspect of a comprehensive effort by the University of Massachusetts system to significantly expand its online education offerings, the services offered through UWW will be bound together on a multi-faceted platform tailored for students based on their location and stage of academic life. These cohorts include traditional undergraduates on campus; non-traditional undergraduates pursuing a degree through distance learning; graduate students; mid-career professionals; and those learning in retirement.
“This initiative by the Amherst campus will advance our system-wide strategy to increase access to a world-class UMass education by exploring new modalities and expanding our digital education offerings,” said UMass President Marty Meehan.
UMassOnline CEO Donald Kilburn added, “UMassOnline is excited to partner with UMass Amherst to develop innovative learning pathways to meet the needs of current students and to deliver high quality UMass Amherst programs to more non-traditional and adult learners.”
In a fast-evolving educational landscape where students are seeking multi-modal learning choices, UWW will be positioned to meet their needs by offering a full UMass Amherst educational experience. Course offerings will be developed and taught by UMass Amherst faculty who will adhere to the same faculty governance standards for quality that apply to in-person, on-campus courses. In addition, a robust support structure, including individual advising and other integrated academic services, will also be provided to students.
“UMass Amherst is deepening its commitment to UWW’s core mission of delivering a quality academic experience to non-traditional students while expanding the reach of UWW to traditional students as well,” Subbaswamy observed. “We will provide students at any point in their lives and in all locales full access to the excellence of UMass Amherst. This is the type of innovation that distinguishes UMass Amherst and advances our standing as one of the nation’s premier public universities.”
Visit the UWW website at https://www.umass.edu/uww/