Dear Faculty and Staff:
Early in 2017, the University of Memphis will launch a new pilot online initiative, UofM Global, targeting FULLY online students. As was shared last week, we now have 30+ programs ranked in the top 30 nationally, with our overall online efforts as a University ranked 40th nationally. Given uncertainty about demand and potential enrollment, this initial effort involves only four programs on campus, allowing us to gather data to project not only interest but potential growth trajectory.
As you may or may not be aware, the Tennessee Board of Regents Online Degree Program (now eTN online) will dissolve in the coming year following implementation of the Focus Act and autonomous board status for the TBR universities. Given that the UofM is a significant beneficiary of RODP, a coordinated program ready to launch and compete in this critical area for the UofM is required and essential. Hence, the UofM Global initiative.
UofM Global will target FULLY online students and have a separate admission designation for these students. Partially online students status will not change. Remember, almost a third of our students take at least one course online during their college career. UofM Global also allows us to offer a differential tuition rate for these FULLY online students, one that is competitive not just regionally, but nationally. As has always been the case, faculty, programs and departments will manage course development, content, delivery and assessment.
Launching the UofM Global pilot simply allows the following:
- Target a new group of students, those FULLY online.
- Offer a reduced tuition rate allowing the UofM to compete regionally and nationally.
- Gather data on interest and potential growth trajectory without any financial risks or investment outside of our existing marketing budget.
- Maintain the high quality of our online course delivery while demand and any need for potential faculty growth (which will be decided by the programs and departments) is gauged.
- Develop an empirically-driven strategic vision for the future of online offerings for all of our students, including those both partially and fully online.
Updates will be provided as we move forward with this effort. It is an exciting initiative and offers considerable potential for our University. We are doing exceptional work already, and UofM Global offers the chance to do even more in a thoughtful and measured fashion.
M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor