There’s no denying it. Hodges University has undergone many changes in the past five years, from new faces in leadership to the addition and deletion of various academic programs. By taking a closer look at what adult learners report they’d like from higher education institutions, Hodges has re-engineered its academic programming to provide a more personalized and flexible pathway to success. Hodges’ faculty, staff and administrative leadership started with a clean sheet of paper to realign the university to the reality of workforce demands by providing students with a new approach to learning.
Statewide Course Numbering System (SCNS) and Core Plus Four
The biggest changes to Hodges’ academic programming are two-fold: a conversion to mostly three-credit hour courses instead of four and the monthly start for many programs. Monthly starts provide students the flexibility to begin their degree programs at the start of any given month – 12 times a year rather than three – thereby dramatically reducing the wait to get started and alleviating the issue of waiting until an entire term has passed before enrolling.
“It’s about finding an approach to best help people – especially those who have families, jobs, and otherwise full schedules – to pursue higher education. This approach uses a mechanism that will meet them where they are and help them accomplish their goals while maintaining full academic rigor,” – Dr. John Meyer
Moving to three-credit hour courses also allows Hodges to adopt the Florida Department of Education’s Statewide Course Numbering System and ease the issue of transferring credits into and out of Hodges.
Three-credit courses also allow for another groundbreaking Hodges University initiative, Core Plus Four. Core Plus Four allows students to reduce their effective tuition rate and accelerate their degree completion by getting a tuition-free, self-paced course (at the four credit level) when they enroll full time and take 12 credits in a term. This pathway allows students to earn their degrees faster and at a lower tuition cost than before.
Previously, a full-time student taking 12 credits in a 16-week term could be in class three nights a week (and focusing on three different subjects each week) in addition to the time spent studying, researching, writing, etc.
Now, the same student in Hodges’ monthly start format will likely be in class one night a week and will focus on one subject at a time, all while still earning 12 credits. If that same student pursues the Core Plus Four pathway, he or she would earn 16 credits in the same time frame.
“It’s about finding an approach to best help people – especially those who have families, jobs, and otherwise full schedules – to pursue higher education. This approach uses a mechanism that will meet them where they are and help them accomplish their goals while maintaining full academic rigor,” said Dr. John Meyer, president of Hodges University.
To make the start of each class easier for students, all course materials will now be available in electronic format on the first day of class.
“By providing an e-book option for all classes, students will be able to obtain these materials at a less expensive price and can also begin using these materials from the first minute of class,” Meyer explained.
Research has shown that one of the determining factors of a student’s decision to attend a specific
school is the flexibility of its courses. Adult learners need varying levels of program delivery to best suit their needs, which is why Hodges is offering its new style of programming in three different formats.
Online: Students attend class fully online. Students have some latitude about when they engage in class discussions and study the course material. While the courses do move rapidly and require frequent engagement, each is designed to be readily achievable. This style of learning requires frequent participation on the student’s part, and due dates for completing assignments are mandated. This delivery format is designed for students with personal or professional schedules requiring they determine which days and times work best for their busy lives.
Blended: Students in this format will typically attend class once a week for four weeks on campus. Mornings, afternoon and evening classes will be available. The remainder of the class will be online.
This delivery format is designed for students who need the flexibility of online courses to accommodate their personal or professional lives but also prefer their academic experience to include classroom instruction. A variation on the blended theme is the Technology Enhanced Classroom (TEC) course. These classes function as blended courses for students who wish to attend in person, but also provide the opportunity for students to attend remotely in real time (synchronously) or later (asynchronously) as their schedules require. TEC classrooms rely on advanced technology available in select university classrooms, so not every program has TEC-enabled classes.
On Campus: Students in this format will attend face-to-face classes fully on campus. Students who are enrolled in the on-campus format can expect:
- A four-week course will meet three (3) times a week for three (3) hours.
- An eight-week course will meet two (2) times a week for two and a half (2.5) hours.
- A 16-week course will meet once a week for two and a half (2.5) hours.
This delivery format is designed for students who are enrolled in degree programs that require lab-based science courses, or who are enrolled in cohort-based programs such as physical therapist assistant (PTA) or nursing. Hodges’ English as a Second Language (ESL) program is delivered only in the on-campus format.
Associate in Science versus Associate in Arts
“The availability of the A.A. degree really opens up a range of new options for our students,” – Dr. John Meyer
Throughout the duration of the winter 2018 term, Meyer met with faculty to analyze course programming to determine where Hodges could improve its curricula and provide greater value to students. As a result, one of the changes is the addition of an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree.
Although an A.A. degree is not necessarily tied to a workforce outcome like an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree, it serves as the general education degree of the university and provides the same level of preparation for programs such as nursing, physical therapist assistant, criminal justice, digital design and graphics, and interdisciplinary studies. It is also a very widely recognized credential, particularly for those students who are undecided on their bachelor’s degree major or who wish to pursue a degree completion program. “The availability of the A.A. degree really opens up a range of new options for our students,” Meyer said.
An A.A. degree requires students to take 36 general education credit hours as well as 24 credit hours of electives, totaling 60 credit hours. The A.A. is also the only degree flexible enough to allow students to arrange their schedules to ensure completion of all of the prerequisite courses for a specific discipline such as nursing. It also requires the completion of all of the general education requirements for a bachelor’s degree, so it is the ideal pathway to almost any bachelor’s program.
Bachelor of Science Degree
Whether a student has completed an associate degree or is immediately enrolling in a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program, all B.S. degrees have the corollary A.S. degree embedded.
Students enrolled in one of Hodges’ B.S. degree programs are expected to complete 36 general education credits, 36 or more core credits with remaining credits comprised of electives.
“If I’m a student and I completed 18 general education credits in the A.S. degree, I will only need to take another 18 general education credits in the baccalaureate program in addition to the courses comprising the major and any required electives,” said Meyer.
One of the prominent programs within Hodges’ B.S. degree offerings is interdisciplinary studies (IDS), and students can expect to see changes to how this program is offered. The IDS program is currently being reimagined to provide pathways to specific occupations w
hile retaining true interdisciplinarity. It will ultimately provide multiple pathways in a variety of disciplines to provide maximum flexibility.
“When we think about interdisciplinary studies, a basic requirement is that it combines two or more academic disciplines,” Meyer explained. “The IDS core will be composed of 21 credit hours, and we will couple it with an additional discipline to provide students a specific pathway to and specific preparation for a workforce outcome.”
While many of Hodges’ graduate-level degree programs remain the same, certain programs such as Master of Accountancy (MACC), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Management (MSM) are now offering the following concentrations:
Master of Accountancy Concentration
- Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
Master of Business Administration (MBA) Concentration
- General Business
- Information Systems
- Public Administration
- Visual Communication
Master of Science in Management Concentration
- Health Services Management
- Human Resources Management
- Management of Nonprofit Organizations
- Organizational Leadership
As part of the graduate-level degree programs, students have the option to obtain an additional nine credits, which will open the door to possible collegiate teaching opportunities in the future.
“If a student opts to pursue an MBA, he or she will earn 36 graduate credit hours in the degree program. If the student chooses a concentration within that MBA, that, by definition, is nine credits. So, by taking an additional nine graduate semester hours of say, public administration coursework, he or she would hold the qualification necessary to teach college-level courses in both business and public administration. That dramatically increases the value of the degree to that student and does so with a modest additional investment of both time and money,” said Meyer.
In an effort to provide students and business professionals an opportunity to expand their skill sets outside the realm of a degree program, Hodges faculty identified and designed specific stand-alone certificates. Should an individual earn a certificate and decide to go back to school for a degree in the same field as his or her certificate, the earned credits will apply toward the degree program.
- Animation Design
- AutoCAD Drafting
- E-Business Software
- E-Business Ventures
- Graphic Design Production
- Help Desk Support
- Information Technology Support
- Networking Specialist
- Professional Sales
- User Experience (UX) and Web Design
- Database Management
- Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
- Public Administration
- Visual Communication
As an institution of higher learning that aims to meet the needs of adult learners, we understand the difficulty students face in attempting to plan their school schedule around work and family. Recognizing the problems associated with traditional scheduling models, Hodges is providing students with a guaranteed annual schedule complete with all of the available courses offered throughout the year.
“That’s as close to a customized educational program as I can realistically imagine,” – Dr. John Meyer
As a student works with his or her adviser, the goal is to plan which courses he or she will take throughout the academic year. This new way of scheduling gives the student the assurance of knowing that it will not be canceled due to low enrollment.
“We are working to build a sequence of courses where the introductory course may be offered several times throughout the year but more advanced courses that attract fewer students will be offered once or twice each year,” said Meyer.
During the planning stages of a student’s schedule, the adviser will inform the student of these sequenced courses, and work individually with each student to design a degree completion schedule that works best for that individual.
“That’s as close to a customized educational program as I can realistically imagine,” Meyer added.
Hodges University faculty, staff and administration are dedicated to ensuring all students receive the tools and support needed to successfully complete their educational journey. Our new approach to adult education is one you can believe in, and no matter which pathway you choose, Hodges believes in you.
Have questions, comments or concerns? Please contact your academic adviser in the Student Success department. Our academic advisers are here to help you navigate these changes and facilitate a smooth transition. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.