BOSTON, May 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Simmons University today announced that it will unveil a fully online and reimagined undergraduate offering to complement its traditional on campus experience that will be ready for new and returning students on September 1, 2020.
The new program will accelerate Simmons' digital transformation strategy and mission to educate the next century of learners, while also enhancing access. Hundreds of courses from the existing Simmons catalog will be intentionally redesigned for online delivery with a blend of synchronous and asynchronous coursework, in partnership with global education technology leader 2U, Inc. These high-quality online courses will enable returning students to continue their studies in the event the campus is not fully open in the fall, while also providing non-traditional prospective students the chance to pursue a Simmons degree fully online.
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve in Boston and around the world, Simmons University will look to the state and city leadership and public health experts to determine when and how students can safely return to campus. No matter where students are this fall, Simmons will be ready to continue delivering the academic excellence they expect and deserve—whether in-person or online.
"Institutions that can be nimble, innovative, and forward thinking in this difficult moment will be best positioned to thrive in the future, and we believe Simmons will emerge from the pandemic stronger as a result of the commitment and strategic direction we're taking today," Simmons University President Helen G. Drinan said. "We're confident - given the ingenuity, talent, and support of our faculty, and our long track record of successfully educating graduate students online over the past decade - that we can leverage this opportunity to better fulfill our mission and continue to deliver a world-class online education to the broader Simmons University community."
The new online program will ensure continuity and quality and complement Simmons' signature undergraduate experience focused on women's leadership and empowerment. Simmons remains committed to bringing students back to campus as quickly as possible this fall, while prioritizing the health and safety of students and the broader campus community.
"This is a path forward that will distinguish Simmons among its peer institutions and ensure its long-term sustainability. By investing in a world-class online undergraduate option, Simmons can expand access to a broader array of students and emerge from these uncertain times as a stronger and more competitive institution," said Simmons University Board of Trustees Chair Regina M. Pisa.
Returning undergraduate students and incoming first year students can expect the majority of their fall courses to be available in an engaging and dynamic digital format. The University is prioritizing continuity for all of its major courses of study to ensure that students can continue to access a high-quality experience with little disruption in their planned coursework in the fall should the campus not be fully open.
In addition to an intentionally designed online academic experience, students and faculty will have access to the same robust support services they have always received, as well as meaningful opportunities for relationship-building and personal growth. By leveraging 2U's technology platform to expand its undergraduate offerings online, Simmons will not only be able to attract a larger and more diverse student body, but make its high-quality education more accessible and affordable to those who otherwise would be unable to participate in Simmons' traditional on campus undergraduate experience.
"In this next chapter of our digital transformation, we will lead with the excellence that has defined our mission and institution for over a century. Crossing boundaries to create new opportunities is one of the university's core values, and we are committed to delivering 'Simmons quality' academic rigor in online education across our programs. With the strong foundation we've built with 2U already in place for online graduate education, we know our faculty will be equipped with the tools to develop high-quality online undergraduate curricula that drives significant student engagement and learning outcomes," said Simmons University President-elect Lynn Perry Wooten.
The launch of a comprehensive online undergraduate option is a natural evolution for the University, which has been a longtime leader in this space. Simmons has worked in close partnership with 2U for nearly a decade to develop and deliver high-quality online graduate degree programs across critical fields like nursing, social work, and public health, educating more than 3,000 students from the Greater Boston region and around the nation. Students pursuing Simmons' online graduate degrees have experienced the same transformative learning experiences and consistently excellent pedagogy in the online environment as their on-campus counterparts, allowing them to make a real and meaningful impact in their local communities.
"We know there is high demand for a Simmons education, particularly given its unique emphasis on the liberal arts, leadership, and professional preparation," added Drinan. "By expanding our platform and reach, we hope to offer the Simmons experience to prospective students and populations that are unable to participate in our traditional on campus experience."
More information on Simmons' online undergraduate experience is available within President Helen Drinan's open letter to the campus community and at Simmons.edu.
About Simmons University
Located in the heart of Boston, Simmons is a respected private university offering more than 50 majors and programs for undergraduate women and graduate programs open to all on campus, in blended formats, or entirely online in nursing and health sciences, liberal arts, business, communications, social work, public health, and library and information science. Founded in 1899, Simmons has established a model of higher education that other colleges and universities are only recently beginning to adapt: the combination of education for leadership in high-demand professional fields with the intellectual foundation of the liberal arts. The result is a Simmons graduate prepared not only to work, but to lead in professional, civic, and personal life — a vision of empowerment that Simmons calls preparation for life's work. Follow Simmons on Twitter at @SimmonsUniv, and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/school/simmons-university/.
Laura Wareck, Director of Media Relations
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SOURCE Simmons University