North Central launches a new online program in partnership with churches nationwide.
To begin the fall 2019 semester, North Central University launched their new online opportunities that would allow students to major in one of five degree programs from the convenience of their home.
With 11 different academic partnerships with churches across the US, North Central is able to offer “the online Christian college experience as well as the on campus student experience,” through discounted degree programs to over 50 students.
Students can earn bachelor’s degrees in business administration, church leadership, digital media, humanitarian leadership or a master’s degree in strategic leadership.
North Central leaders have pitched the online program as a way to grow enrollment and to serve a greater base of students, saying it will draw those who may not be able to move to Minneapolis or even attend a university full time.
Sharon Decker, the program director & academic coach of undergraduate online education for North Central, has worked in online education for 10 years. She previously worked for Capella University, and was hired by North Central this year.
“The students are having a good experience,”said Decker,“there is lots and lots of contact” with the professors.
An online student commented that “the faculty members have been great to work with.”
With just over 50 students in the program, North Central has already surpassed their goals for the first semester of the online program. Most of the students are freshmen and hail from across the country. The professors of the online classes have made a great effort to establish connections between themselves and the students despite the distance. Decker said she recently got off the phone with a student who described their experience with the online program so far as “awesome.”
Decker said that the professors are “learning to connect in a different way” to tailor to the online student needs. The online classes are set up just like the on campus classes, with a Moodle site and active communication with the professors. Most enrolled students are also a part of a church partnership—which can mean group work, discussion, and internship experiences. It also keeps students connected to the strong spiritual experience unique to the campus.
“Students have our education, but they get to have that community element with their church,” said Decker.
8 of our 11 partnered churches currently have students enrolled with North Central and that number continues to increase.
North Central says that students will receive a diploma while also participating in meaningful internships and gaining hands on experience through a partnered church. The program resembles similar ones at institutions such as Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, which currently has 187 partner sites.
One partnership that North Central obtained was with Jakes Divinity School (JDS) to provide access to fully accredited online degree programs. Through JDS, students will be able to enroll in North Central’s Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership, and soon to come, the bachelor’s degree programs in Church Leadership and Humanitarian Leadership.
North Central hopes to continue their growth in online education and establish church partnerships that will help reach more students every year.