President's Column for Traill County Tribune

November 2, 2019 

Diverse options accommodate today’s students in pursuit of higher education

The number of adults pursuing higher education in the United States continues to grow. Nationally, approximately 45% of college students are adults, ages 25 and older. There are probably more students in this category at Mayville State than one would realize.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the annual conference of the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) in Denver, Colo. I’ve been a member of this organization for years and enjoy getting together with colleagues and keeping pace with the latest developments in this area of higher education. I was able to hear from a number of interesting keynote speakers and attend concurrent sessions on a variety of topics.

ACHE is a dynamic network of diverse professionals who are dedicated to promoting lifelong learning and excellence in continuing higher education. As an organization of colleges, universities, and individuals, ACHE encourages professional development, research, and exchange of information for members and continuing higher education as a means of enhancing and improving society. Belief in the values of professional development, collegiality, and service guide the mission of the group.

ACHE has approximately 1,200 individual members, and more than 300 different institutions, and organizations throughout the United States and Canada are represented. The organization serves the entire spectrum of continuing higher education.

Because they often are place-bound and/or have family and employment commitments, many adult learners pursue higher education via online and other distance options. This is the case for many of Mayville State’s adult students.

This semester, Mayville State has a number of students of all ages pursuing higher education through our distance learning avenues. Degree-seeking online/distance undergraduate students number 397, which is up from 368 in the fall of 2018. Another 23 students are seeking graduate degrees through Mayville State’s online programs. This number has grown from 18 in the fall of 2018. These trends are positive because they show that our brand of personal service is important to adult students as well as others.

Our online students represent the following states: North Dakota, Minnesota, California, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alabama, Virginia, Colorado, Nebraska, Washington, New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, South Caroline, Indiana, Nevada, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Wisconsin, Montana, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Oregon, Ohio, New York, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Hampshire, Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Kansas, and Iowa, as well as the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Ontario; and Washington, D.C.

November 4-8, 2019 is National Distance Learning Week. To celebrate, Mayville State’s Office of Extended Learning has a number of activities planned. There will be opportunities to win prizes, refreshments, and more. Online students and prospective online students are invited to attend “Virtual Open Houses,” where they can chat and talk with online advisors.

Mayville State is definitely a leader in the area of distance learning, and we have been recognized by several organizations for our good work. College Atlas has named Mayville State one of the most affordable online colleges, while SR Education Group named Mayville State among the best online colleges in North Dakota.

I commend MSU Director of Extended Learning Misti Wouri and her staff for their fantastic work. Distance learning at Mayville State is a great team effort, as nearly every Mayville State employee is involved in some way, including the bookstore personnel who sell and ship books and materials to students, faculty who teach the courses, advisors who make sure students are on track, business office personnel who work with bill paying, and many, many more. These people make me Comet Proud, and I am grateful for all that they do!