Southern Leadership, Faculty at Odds Over Online Degree Offerings
The Advocate is today reporting that faculty in the Southern University System are opposing plans for the system to develop online degree offerings.
The plans, which will create online access to degree programs currently being offered at System campuses in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Louisiana, will help build revenue and enrollment for the nation’s only HBCU system, according to system leadership.
But faculty say online offerings will limit Southern’s ability to nurture students with face-to-face interaction, and will put a financial burden on students.
Southern Faculty Senate President Sudhir Trivedi said the university system is failing to go through the proper faculty curriculum design processes to ensure the degree programs are thorough and stringent once transferred entirely online.
“We are not against doing online degrees,” Trivedi said. “But it’s not as easy as just saying, ‘Put them online.’
“We are doing everything under the table.”
Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said the faculty claims are “just wrong.”
“All academic decisions are made by the faculty,” Mason said. “It really is just an online format of what’s offered in the classroom.” (The Advocate)
Several HBCUs nationwide have introduced fully-online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level in the last two years. Southern is the only historically black system of higher education in the United States.