On campus or online, our programs pay off

Ralph Ford, Chancellor of Penn State Behrend

Ralph Ford, Chancellor of Penn State Behrend

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Two years ago, Penn State World Campus launched its first-ever online engineering degree — the bachelor of science in software engineering designed and taught by Behrend faculty members. The degree was recently ranked by TheBestSchools.org as No. 1 among online undergraduate programs in that field of study.

It’s not the only successful Behrend program offered through World Campus. In all, our faculty teach nearly 1,000 students in online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. This includes our finance degree, which has more than doubled in enrollment year over year since it was introduced online in 2014.

For certain programs and segments of the student population, online is the place to be, and we are an increasingly active academic partner in such World Campus offerings. At the same time, we’re deepening our commitment to the on-campus student experience in myriad ways.

We’re expanding our open lab model of learning and discovery, which brings students together with business and industry partners to explore ideas, advance technologies, and solve problems. In one of our newest ventures, we’ve partnered with Erie-based biodiesel fuel-maker HERO BX to establish a research lab where students and company chemists are examining ways to reduce sulfur in biodiesel feed stocks.

In Trippe Hall, our newest student residence, we’re helping students build international perspectives and cultural competency. Our Global Boarders program, based in Trippe, features group discussion of world events, language seminars, lectures and panel discussions on international topics, even world-cuisine house dinners.

We’re creating opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in their fields of study, and nowhere is that need more critical than in nursing education. In our newly expanded Simulation Center, funded largely by a $900,000 gift from the Hirtzel Foundation, nursing students are building their clinical skills while “treating” high-fidelity mannequins that are programmed to replicate real-life medical situations.

The expansion of our nursing facilities, like all of our investments on campus and online, is an intentional effort to match the needs of both our students and the marketplace. A college education is a significant but life-changing investment, and at Penn State Behrend, it pays off.

Annual rankings by the compensation data software company Payscale place Penn State Behrend among the top 10 percent of all colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, both public and private, for highest return on tuition investment (ROI). At the same time, Penn State World Campus is consistently among the most well-represented in U.S. News & World Report rankings of Best Online Programs.

The bottom line? Whether delivered on campus or online, our programs are a smart investment.

If you have thoughts or ideas about the college, I invite you to share them with me.


Chancellor Ralph Ford
[email protected]