University College oversees multiple components

Aaron Pabon/Staff Writer

There is much confusion among the University as to who exactly is in charge of FIU Online.

Joshua Sanchez, sophomore engineering major, always thought that FIU ran the online component to his virtual classes.

When he was told that University College is in charge of FIU Online, he responded, “does FIU run University College?”

According to professor Brian Peterson, the interim chair of the Online Review Committee, “University College is the overseer of FIU Online.”

University College is the administrative body of continuing education and noncredit programs. It offers a multitude of off-campus and online credit courses and noncredit offerings.

Projects from University College, aside from FIU Online, include executive and professional education courses, the Legal Studies Institute, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the FIU Broward Pines Center. It is also responsible for training and specialty courses in continuing education units, customized training, scuba diving training and dual enrollment.

“FIU Online is also a part of University College. FIU Online is responsible for the design, development, delivery, and support of all online degree programs and all online non-credit programs,” Dean of University College Joyce Elam wrote in an email to Student Media. “The Dual Enrollment Program in high schools [a program whereby high school students take college classes] is also managed by University College.”

“What I think is there have been problems with FIU Online and having it separate from Academic Affairs,” Peterson said.

Issues between the two have involved communication and networking.

Peterson thinks the situation can be fixed.

“A closer relationship between the two should be strengthened in the future,” he said.

In 2009, University College has partnered with Academic Partnerships — a decision that has been met with controversy.

In an article published in The Beacon on Feb. 26, faculty were “questioning the procedure — or lack thereof — that was undergone to select the company for partnership, which was neither competitive nor voted upon.”

According to the Academic Partnerships website, the company offers services in recruitment, student retention, curriculum and faculty support, market research and analysis.

“FIU chose to partner with Academic Partnerships to provide the marketing and recruiting for the Corporate MBA [Master’s of Business Administration] program,” Elam wrote. “At the time that this program was launched [in 2009], FIU Online did not have the capability to provide for the necessary marketing and recruiting services.”

Currently, FIU Online is responsible for all of the online graduate programs.

“Because of the significant up front cost of marketing and recruiting, it is possible that we will partner with an outside company to provide these services for some graduate online programs in the future,” Elam wrote.

Currently, the MBA program from Academic Partnerships is the only online program that FIU Online and University College has partnered with.