As technology’s reach continues to expand, more and more tasks can be accomplished from the comfort of home — including getting a college degree.
Established in 2015, SJC Online now offers students in all 50 states the chance to get a top-tier education, rooted in a liberal arts tradition, that supports provision for career preparation and enhancement, and offers the level of flexibility students need. Upperclassmen, transfer students and adult learners looking to go back to school can all access classes on their computer, tablet or phone from anywhere accessible to WiFi.
SJC Online’s Success
“The success of SJC Online is truly a success for the entire college,” said Associate Dean of Online Learning Amy Poland, Ph.D., who is also an associate professor of criminal justice. “Without the collaboration of faculty and staff from both campuses, it would be impossible to continue to achieve the encouraging outcomes we have seen.”
Just three years after its inception, SJC Online is among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for 2017 and 2018, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings. SJC Online features more than 20 academic offerings to work around a busy schedule. Students choose from exceptional undergraduate and graduate degrees, dual degrees and certificates.
The success of SJC Online is truly a success for the entire college.” –Associate Dean of Online Learning Amy Poland, Ph.D.
Dr. Poland said much of the success is attributable to SJC Online’s work with the marketing and admissions departments to enroll new students, and with the academic centers, counseling and wellness and career services to retain students and help them succeed after they earn degrees.
“At the heart of all of this is the work of the faculty, alongside our instructional technologists and instructional designer, to create and deliver high-quality courses for our students,” she said.
As of 2018, SJC Online has conferred close to 100 degrees, including 30 graduate degrees. In addition, more than 50 students have completed the requirements for the advanced certificate in applied behavioral analysis. And because SJC Online is a branch of St. Joseph’s College, which has two physical campuses — in Patchogue and Brooklyn — online graduates can choose to attend the commencement ceremony for either campus.
SJC Online has grown both in the number of programs offered and the number of students in online classes. Outpacing all predictions, enrollment for fully online programs is expected to reach 500 students for fall 2018 — a 400-percent increase from the first semester enrollment of 99 students. Graduate enrollment has increased from 27 students three years ago to nearly 250 students this fall. In addition to fully online students, approximately 1,300 students on the Long Island and Brooklyn campuses are enrolled in at least one online class this fall, giving them the flexibility they need to complete their education.
“SJC Online professors are very helpful and willing to work with the students,” Texas resident Rajan Arun, 27, said. “They understand some students (like me) have a full-time job. The professors also look to challenge your ideas and thoughts, and push you to think outside the box.”
Mr. Arun graduated from SJC Online in May 2018, earning an Executive Master’s of Business Administration (E.M.B.A.), as well as an M.S. in Management with a concentration in Organizational Management. He made the trip from Texas to New York to cross the stage and receive his diploma at SJC Long Island’s May 30 commencement ceremony. Mr. Arun’s mother, father, brother and wife also attended the ceremony.
Eugene Lowery left school 38 years ago for a full-time job. Now a retired Long Island Railroad engineer living in Florida half the year, Lowery decided to finish his degree online.
“I always wanted to finish my degree,” said the 67-year-old U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. “And now that I’ve retired, it’s been part of my bucket list, and so I did it. Mr. Lowery attended the May commencement ceremony on
Long Island, receiving his bachelor’s degree in general studies.
Although Courtney Dillon was a full-time student at SJC Long Island her first two years at the College, she later switched to SJC Online.
When I first contacted SJC, everyone was very professional and helpful. I honestly did not feel the need to contact other colleges.” –Miren Blackwood
“I was offered a position that I couldn’t turn down and took a break from school to work full time,” said Ms. Dillon, who received her degree in health administration this past August. “After a few years off, I wanted to complete my degree. SJC Online gave me the opportunity to complete my degree fully online, while living and working in the city. Having the option to be a full-time student online for the program made it an easy decision to go back to school.”
Full-time program coordinator at work, full-time mother of three and wife at home, and full-time student, Miren Blackwood picked SJC Online because it offered her the flexibility she needed to accommodate her demanding schedule.
“When I first contacted SJC, everyone was very professional and helpful. I honestly did not feel the need to contact other colleges,” Ms. Blackwood of Jamaica, New York, said. She’s working toward a B.S. in Human Services and an M.S. in Human Services Leadership from SJC Online.
Creating a Community
Part of what makes SJC Online an easy choice for so many students is how helpful and dedicated the professors are, going above and beyond to make sure online students feel like they’re part of a campus community.
“I am intentional about creating activities and assignments that help us build community within the online course and beyond,” said Heather Barry, Ph.D., a history professor for the College and assistant provost for strategic planning and institutional assessment at SJC Long Island. “From the first introductory assignment, students are able to virtually meet their fellow peers and learn about their majors, interests and career goals. It is important for students to feel they are a part of the course and that they can depend on me as an instructor, but also that they can acquire help from their classmates.”
My favorite thing about teaching online courses is interacting with my students and seeing them learn.” –Heather Barry, Ph.D., history professor and assistant provost for strategic planning and institutional assessment at SJC Long Island
Dr. Barry, who’s taught at St. Joseph’s since 2002, began teaching online about 10 years ago. She teaches an array of subjects, both online and land-based, including a course on the history of women and gender, the history of New York state and city, and the history of South Africa.
“My favorite thing about teaching online courses is interacting with my students and seeing them learn,” Dr. Barry said. “The discussion board posts are fun to read and I enjoy witnessing my students interacting with each other about important topics.”
Online classes are developed and taught by the same faculty teaching in the traditional classrooms on the Brooklyn and Long Island campuses. Class sizes remain small, mirroring the experience of students in land-based programs.
“Many of my students work, have children to take care of or have other commitments that make online courses the most efficient way for them to learn,” Dr. Barry said. “Also, some students prefer to take certain courses online and others on campus. There are many options for students at St. Joseph’s College!”