By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
The political science department at Fort Hays State University is receiving recognition through the ranking of two of its programs.
The undergraduate program was ranked No. 11 in the top 15 online political science degrees by Social Science Careers.
The website guides students to careers in criminal justice, sociology and political science by ranking schools based on graduation rate and affordability.
FHSU has a political science graduation rate of 42 percent.
"FHSU does online education very well," said Shala Mills, chairwoman of the department of political science. "The whole program has to be well-facilitated in the online environment to have that high graduation rate. We have been thoughtful in developing our program online."
Mills said the program succeeds by hiring talented faculty and thoughtfully sequencing the classes.
"Having a predictable and reasonable sequence of classes really helps with graduation rate because it facilitates students getting through the program quickly," she said. "It's also easier to get through a course and program when you have faculty who are very attentive working with you, trying to help you be successful."
In addition, the master's of liberal arts in public administration was ranked No. 2 by GetEducated.com.
The website ranked universities based on cost and accreditation.
"Not all schools have online degrees," Mills said. "Cost is part of what makes students come here. We do have a good tuition rate. That makes us attractive for online."
The undergraduate program has 176 students, and the master's programs have 48 students.
"All of us really care about education," Mills said, "whether it's on-campus or online because, for whatever reason, the student can't get a traditional degree. We're really happy to provide a quality education regardless of where they might be."
Senior Rosendo Esparza is completing his program from Washington.
"The classes exceeded my expectations and imagination of what an online class would be like," Esparza said. "I credit the course with helping me succeed in other courses."
The program is offered on-campus, online and in China.
"We were very excited," Mills said. "It's always nice to have your good work recognized. We were very pleased with the rankings."