Offering Future-Focused Education Transcending the Boundaries
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, online education has gained even more significance as a means for students to continue their academic pursuits while facing the challenges of the current environment. In recent years, numerous students have resorted to online programs as a secure and convenient way to continue their education. According to Dr. Steven E. Hairston, CFRM, Vice-President of Institutional Advancement and Title III Administrator at Miles College, “The pandemic compelled educational institutions to harness technology to develop virtual classrooms, enabling uninterrupted learning. This posed a particular challenge for historically disadvantaged students.”
Miles College, situated in Fairfield, Alabama, presents a diverse range of online programs to students seeking a flexible and convenient mode of higher education. During the pandemic, Miles College devised innovative strategies to aid students lacking internet access, computers, and smartphones. The college provided comprehensive training to all faculty members and students to effectively teach and learn in a virtual environment within two weeks. Dr. Hairston asserts, “We maintain the quality of our online courses and programs by engaging in ongoing faculty development, conducting program and course evaluations and revisions, incorporating feedback from corporate and industry partners, students, and obtaining accreditations.”
Miles College Online Education commenced its online course offerings in 2017. In December 2019, the college submitted an application to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which accredits higher education institutions granting degrees in the Southern states, to provide complete degree programs solely online. As a result, in the Fall of 2020, Miles College launched 100% online programs, enabling students to enroll and complete their degrees without setting foot on campus. Today, Miles College’s online programs serve as a valuable platform for students to achieve their academic aspirations and adapt to the ever-evolving higher education landscape.
Presently, Miles College provides seven online programs, comprising Accounting, Business Administration, Computer and Information Sciences, Criminal Justice, Management, Management Information Systems, and Psychology. The college is developing and offering additional certificate and degree programs, which will be accessible shortly. Dr. Hairston notes, “Our students appreciate the individual attention they receive from our faculty members, who know them personally due to our small class sizes. Extending this personalized approach to our online programs makes Miles College stand out in the online education arena.”
A Perfect Support System
As a significant proportion of Miles College’s online students are working adults juggling familial commitments, the college takes measures to assist them by meticulously selecting and training faculty members who empathize with the challenges and requirements of this demographic. Dr. Hairston emphasizes, “We are committed to providing all our online students with the necessary support and resources to ensure their success. Our faculty members and advisors possess extensive experience in facilitating the achievement of online students through ongoing outreach and engagement.”
Miles College Online Education has exceeded all initial projections, with nearly fifty percent of its students either exclusively enrolled online or taking at least one online course. Dr. Hairston affirms that the college prioritizes enhancing the interactivity and engagement of online classes by presenting top-notch content, utilizing appropriate technology, addressing students’ needs, setting objectives, injecting fun into learning, and dividing the lessons into easily digestible modules. Miles College facilitates an avenue for industry partners and employers to contribute to students’ workforce readiness by inviting them to speak at college events or serve as guest lecturers in the classrooms. Furthermore, students gain practical experience through internships, practicums, and summer jobs with industry partners and employers.
At Miles College, online students have an equal chance to qualify for scholarships available to on-campus students, except for scholarships linked to activities requiring physical attendance, such as Band, Football, and Basketball. Additionally, Miles College strives to improve the quality of education through partnerships with other colleges and universities worldwide. One such example is the college’s partnership with Ravenshaw University in India. Dr. Hairston and his team expect that Miles College’s historical involvement in the Civil Rights Movement positions the college as a prominent global institution for teaching and learning.
For More Info: https://www.miles.edu/online-resources
About Dr. Steven E. Hairston, CFRM, Vice-President of Institutional Advancement and Title III Administrator
Dr. Steven E. Hairston serves as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Development at Miles College. In this role, he administers the Office of Advancement and Development, which on behalf of Miles College and the President, seeks to secure, and steward financial resources to support the college’s mission and strategic plan. His areas of responsibility include Individual, Corporate, and Foundation Relations, Sponsored Programs, Public Relations, and Alumni Affairs. He will also serve as the college’s Title III Administrator, Corporate Secretary, and Treasurer for the Miles College Community Development Corporation. Dr. Hairston also serves as the Director of the Miles College UNCF Transformation Initiative Project and Program Advisor to the Miles College-Strada Education Network Scholar Program.