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The Department of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering Technology at SHSU will be bringing a whole new kind of online degree program – the Master of Agriculture in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Environment (SAFE) – to SHSU this fall.*

Unlike many other master’s degree programs which are generally intended for students pursuing academic or specialist careers, this unique, non-thesis 36-hour distance education program is designed to prepare working professionals for studies in agrSAFE_icon_greenwords_verticaliculture that focus on sustainable practices.

The program’s curriculum will explore a variety of modern agricultural pursuits framed by sustainable practices, including non-traditional and viable enterprises in agriculture, alternative value-added products, modern farming techniques, food safety, and small business marketing. This makes it an ideal choice for small landowners, urban farmers, value-added and cottage food makers, educators, government agents, or anyone interested in local food production.

Dr. Stanley Kelley, chair of the Department of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering Technology, says: “We know our students have unique needs and interests in the field of agriculture. That is why we are excited to offer a fully online degree program that is relevant to modern agriculture with sustainable practices,” and adds, “SHSU is a leader in online education that has received national recognition. Our faculty are ready to engage you no matter where you live.”

The department will also offer a new Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture.* This 12-credit hour online program will build student’s competencies in the most current aspects of the agricultural industry, including agricultural advocacy, alternative agricultural enterprises, entrepreneurial activities, agritourism, conservation, and innovative marketing strategies.

For more information on enrollment, contact Dr. Kelley at 936-294-1189 or

*New programs for Fall 2015 pending approval from The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

OnlineMastersPrograms.Org recently ranked Sam Houston State University’s Master of Education in Administration program #36 in the nation among their “Best Online Education Master’s Programs” category.

According to OnlineMastersPrograms.Org’s ranking methodology, thousands of programs were assessed across the nation, but only 46 programs made the cut, meeting the below assessments:

rankings-badgeOur rankings methodology begins with two crucial factors: The school’s commitment to consistently rewarding degrees and The school’s commitment to online graduate education.

From there, we confirmed that the school offered the following services, as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS):

  • Academic/Career Counseling Service
  • Employment Services for Students
  • Placement Services for Completers

These services are the essential indicator that a school understands how to bridge the gap between their online master’s programs and the working world. Any school lacking in these basic services was not included in our final list.

SHSU Online is proud to receive this recognition, and congratulates the Department of Educational Leadership for the achievement.

View the complete rankings of OnlineMastersPrograms.Org’s Best Online Education Master’s Programs at

summer-classroomRegistration for summer courses closes in two weeks… As an online student, you have the benefit of choosing your classroom. Where will yours be this summer?

With more than 25 degree programs and dozens of professional certifications and graduate certificates offered 100% online, you can make educational choices that suit your personal, academic, and professional goals.

Catch up while others are cooling off and find a program that’s right for you at

OnlineColleges.Net recently ranked Sam Houston State University #14 in their “Most Affordable Online Colleges in Texas” category.

According to OnlineColleges.Net:

logo-nav-2x“Our affordability rankings are compiled using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Using their online data tools IPEDS and College Navigator, we pulled a master list of accredited, not-for-profit schools offering degree programs online… Schools are ranked by affordability.
Tuition rates reflect the annual cost of enrolling
full-time as an in-state student.”

SHSU Online is proud to receive this recognition, which reflects the university’s continuing commitment to provide outstanding online degree programs at the most affordable prices possible.

The full rankings of Most Affordable Online Colleges in Texas is available at

The College of Health Sciences’ Master of Arts in Kinesiology (Sport and Human Performance) program combines SHSU’s online course delivery with individual, on-campus instruction to create a flexible degree plan personalized to suit multiple career paths.

The program allows students to complete their coursework entirely online while visiting the SHSU campus once a semester for lab work, opening the door to careers in personal training, college coaching, commercial wellness, and more.

hispanic-male-tablet“The inclusion of lab days provides us the opportunity to deliver much of the course content online, allowing students maximum flexibility and the option of keeping a full-time job while maintaining the hands-on component that is critical for our discipline,” says Dr. A. Page Glave, academic advisor of the program. “The combination of hands-on lab time and the utilization of web-based evaluations gives students a well-rounded education that allows them to tailor the program to best match their career aspirations.”

Lab activities are dedicated to learning how to utilize equipment used in sport and human performance for research, clinical, and applied applications. Students are first introduced to lab equipment through online videos and other presentations and then given hands-on time with the equipment during lab.

Glave says the foundation of the program is the Department of Kinesiology faculty, who are dedicated to utilizing the online format to guide students into careers as developing practitioners in research, clinical, and applied settings.

“We recently updated the curriculum of our program to help increase the marketability of our students after graduation while continuing to provide multiple options to fit the career goals and schedules,” says Glave. “Through our program, we give our students full access to work closely and develop mentoring relationship with our faculty, who are subject matter experts with real-world experience and backgrounds in many areas of sport and human performance.”

Visit to find out more about the online Master of Arts in Kinesiology (Sport and Human Performance) degree offered through SHSU Online, and see what you can do to get started today!



2015-USNews-Web-Hero(NoSwoosh)-1940x746For the fourth straight year, Sam Houston State University has earned national recognition in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of online education programs.

2014 was the first year that SHSU was invited to participate in the ranking process for Best Graduate Online Criminal Justice degree programs, and the university came in at #5 in the nation.  In the Student Services and Technology area of the ranking dimensions for this program, SHSU is second nationwide. The Student Engagement and Faculty Credentials and Training dimensions of the rankings also contributed to the program’s overall top-shelf ranking. And the new student retention rate for this program is 85 percent for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Another standout ranking for SHSU was in the Graduate Online Information Technology Program listing. Here the university notched a rank of #7, again with exceptional scores in Student Services and Technology, Student Engagement, and Faculty Credentials and Training. This program has earned similar high rankings in past years in the U.S. News & World Report listings. SHSU’s overall rank of #7 places the school in the top sixth, or top 16 percent, of all schools included in the ranking report for Graduate Online Information Technology Programs nationwide.

In the rankings of Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs, SHSU fell within the top 25 percent of all universities included in the survey. Similarly, in the Best Online MBA Programs rankings, the university’s rank is comfortably in the top third (31 percent) of all schools surveyed.

Bill Angrove, associate vice president for distance learning, says: “The #5 ranking of the Best Graduate Online Criminal Justice degree programs is especially rewarding to me as this is the first program to be put online after my arrival at SHSU Online in 2009. In helping to develop this program, I was honored to work closely with the former Dean of the College of Criminal Justice, Dr. Vincent Webb, and I am sure he is as thrilled as I am to receive this recognition. It’s also an honor to be recognized by U.S. News and World Report with high rankings for so many additional online degree programs.”

SHSU Online’s service plays a key role in the university’s placement regarding U.S. News & World Report’s “Student Services and Technology” indicator by providing student support and highly accessible technologies and services and strong support to its students.

U.S. News & World Report’s “Student Engagement” indicator measures the degree to which programs promote quality participation in courses, allow students opportunities to both readily interact with their instructors and fellow classmates similarly to a campus-based setting, and allow students to complete their degrees in a reasonable amount of time.

SHSU offers more than 35 fully online degree programs, including two doctoral programs, as well as 24 online certificate programs. For more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit

A complete listing of the U.S. News and World Report online rankings can be found at

shutterstock_194704859Although online education has gained significant popularity in recent years, the processes of obtaining a degree online as opposed to taking classes on campus still raises doubts for many.

However, a recent white paper from Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, titled “Equal Opportunity in Higher Education: Understanding Rigor and Engagement Across Learning Modalities,” found that there are strong similarities between the quality of on-campus and online courses:

  • Online students write and read as much as traditional students
  • Faculty members for online courses provide the same amount of feedback as faculty in traditional classrooms, and possibly more quickly

The report, combining data from a survey conducted by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) as well as Online College Students 2014: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences (OCS), obtained results from more than 500 institutions nationwide and 27 in Canada, and 1,500 individuals nationwide, respectively.

Through comparing the results of the NSSE and OCS surveys, it was found that across nearly all the questions examined, there were little to no significant statistical differences in academic rigor or faculty engagement between the groups. However, there were some directional trends and conclusions that did emerge, including:

  • Online students are writing just as much as, and possibly more than, NSSE students.
  • Online students are preparing just as much as NSSE students, but may be spending more of this preparation time reading.
  • Online students report feeling less challenged by their online coursework
— perhaps due to their age and life experiences they bring into the classroom.
  • Online faculty are providing the same amount of feedback, but may be doing so more quickly.

Our student stories speak for themselves, but SHSU Online is dedicated to providing modern technological applications and support to the university’s award-winning distance education programs. Visit our Awards and Recognitions page to see how SHSU Online stacks up against academic institutions across the nation.

SHSU offers more than 35 fully online degree programs, including two doctoral programs, as well as 24 online certificate programs. For more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit

decor-christmas-tree-in-bearkat-plazaFrom all of us at SHSU Online, have a happy holiday and a wonderful new year.

We’ll see you again in 2015 as we continue to share insight and information about our growing number of online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as professional certificates.

Thanks for visiting and making 2014 a year to remember.

SHSU Online Student Tam Pham

Tam Pham is currently pursuing at Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice while serving in the U.S. Army.

A first-generation American, Tam Pham’s parents came to the United States after the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War.   The youngest of three boys, Pham joined the U.S. Army immediately after high school, shocking his parents in the process.

“Coming from a middle-class family with strong Vietnamese roots, joining the service was out of the question,” says Pham. “So imagine my mother’s objection when I told her I was not going to college but instead enlisting.”

After many months of arguing then suffering through the silent treatment, Pham’s mom finally got a promise from her son.

“I promised her that I would pursue my degree when I was able, and I would not give up on my education,” says Pham.

And he hasn’t, turning to SHSU Online to help him keep that promise.

Pham, now 27, has been pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice for the past decade. He tried, and failed, to complete traditional courses while on base but his schedule simply wouldn’t allow it.

Pham is currently stationed in Oahu, Hawaii as a Squad Leader in a Light Infantry Battalion with the 25th Infantry Division. When he’s not on base, he can spend up to nine months in training followed by twelve months or more of overseas deployment.

“Many times I had to explain to my professors that I would be unable to turn in assignments because I would either be in a different state training or out of country,” says Pham. “It made a pursuit of a traditional education difficult.”

In 2012, Pham transferred to SHSU Online for its highly rated undergraduate criminal justice program and because online courses allowed him the flexibility to pursue his education along with his primary commitments.

Pham was also pleased with the support he received from recruiters in the Veteran’s Resource Center.

“I had honestly never had a Veteran Affairs rep that understood the complexity of how an active duty soldier’s life was and how to help me succeed in my future endeavor with SHSU.”

Still, Pham had to learn how to be a full-time online student with a full-time job.

“I believe to be an online student, there is a level of discipline and dedication to stay on track and complete your work,” says Pham. “Finding that balance came with time. It took a lot of growing up and deciding what a priority was and what was not.”

It helped to remember the promise he made to his mother and his own professional goals.

SHSU Online Student Tam Pham hiking

Tam Pham hiking in Oahu, where he is stationed.

“My mother has worked the same occupation for 30 years and has never complained once, and although I am the youngest of three, I will be the first to get a degree in our family,” says Pham. “I want to set a standard for my future family and show that although our lineage started off as refugees, you can still be so much more.”

When he graduates, Pham hopes to pursue a career in the Federal Law Enforcement sector and earning his degree online while completing his military service can help him do that.

“[My degree] also allows me several opportunities to pursue a career outside of the service so I don’t fall behind my peers in the job market. I’ll have the best of both worlds: a degree and experience.”

SHSU Online is proud to support active military students like Tam Pham as a military-friendly university, and we’re committed to supporting other student veterans with the very best in online programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels. We offer several online programs highly ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of 2014 Best Online Programs for Veterans, including Best Online Bachelor’s, Graduate Education and Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs. To see these and other degrees, visit our degree programs page.

Are you active military or a veteran?
Contact the Veterans Resource Center

How to Contact Us:
ABIII, room 116
Open Mon-Fri
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Phone: 936.294.1046
Fax: 936.294.4921

shutterstock_71599324Sam Houston State University’s acclaimed College of Criminal Justice recently expanded their online programs to include a Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies degree and two online certificates, catering to the growing demand for professionals in the field.

The program utilizes a broad educational objective, including national security, cyber security, and emergency management, to develop graduates who can be leaders in the field in theoretical and experiential dimensions of security management.

Following the frenzied events of September 11, 2001, the scope of homeland security was redefined to include both the public and private sector to regulate responses to natural disasters, airborne illnesses, and terrorist attacks. The bridge between the sectors and the united front created a need for professionals prepared to face a multitude of threats.

The degree consists of 36 credit hours, and courses in the Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies include:

  • Intelligence and Counterintelligence in National Security
  • Global Terrorism
  • Security and the Future
  • Digital Forensics Investigation
  • And more

For working professionals seeking to explore online courses for the first time or to add a specialization to their skill set, the College also offers two graduate certificates: Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection.

Both certificates consist of 18 credit hours, allowing students to complete the program in one calendar year by enrolling in two courses per semester, and places graduates halfway to receiving their MS in Homeland Security Studies.

For more information about the online Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies, or the graduate certificates in Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection, visit

1. Our Faculty and Students.  Without the dedicated faculty from all seven colleges and numerous programs across campus, there is no SHSU Online. Students pursue degrees online at SHSU because of the faculty’s dynamic programs, challenging curricula, and engaging coursework. But even more than that, it’s their commitment to student success. 

2. Steady Support. When you have ambitious goals, you have to be prepared to make them a reality. We’re thankful that SHSU’s leadership not only provides steady support but the right tools to make these goals a reality. That’s a powerful combination.

3. Ambitious Goals. Bigger isn’t always better, but better is always better. We’re grateful for the forward and ambitious thinking of SHSU and a leadership team that believes there is always room for improvement–for SHSU faculty who teach online, online students, and SHSU staff.

Halloween Party at Murff Building

4. Co-workers Who Dress. You never really know someone until you see him or her in a Halloween costume. At SHSU Online, we’re more than our job titles and we’re grateful for any opportunity to step away from our ordinary day to day to really get to know our fellow co-workers—whether it’s their creative costume idea, or their mean three-cheese macaroni and cheese recipe. What we discover about them often makes us like them even more.

5. New Leases. Change isn’t easy, but it’s always an adventure worth having. This past October, 75 percent of our staff moved into a new building just off campus. For the first time, the staff is interacting on a daily basis rather than an occasional one. There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in the air with all this creativity and talent under one roof. The result is more ideas, more creative exploration, and more good work.


Advance registration for the Spring 2015 semester is open.  Keep the sweaters, scarves, and jackets in the closet, but bundle up with a variety of online learning options to heat up your career.

Whether you’re starting your academic journey, picking up where you left off, or taking courses to advance your education, SHSU Online’s got you covered.

We have online undergraduate degrees, online master’s degrees, and more to further your education without compromising your lifestyle or schedule. Find a program that’s right for you at

More than 90 percent of SHSU’s online students live and work in Texas, with more scattered around the US, and a few who live even farther afield, like SHSU Online student Tony Tovar who is pursuing a principal certification.

For the past 12 years, Tony Tovar has made Shanghai, China his home with wife Yun Yang and daughter Noelle, teaching sixth grade language arts, history, and drama at Concordia International School Shanghai.

Tovar admits that his early college years weren’t very focused.

“I basically majored in Ping-Pong, pool, and sleeping,” says Tovar. He took three years off before returning to school with a much more serious outlook, one that eventually led him to education.

“I started out as a communication major, switched to English, and then decided to add secondary education as a fallback, and I discovered I loved teaching.

He switched his major to elementary education, graduated and went on to earn his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction ten years later. He’s now pursuing a Principal Certification from SHSU Online, to take his career in education to the next level by becoming an administrator.

“After 20 years of teaching, I’ve decided that I want to move into administration,” says Tovar. “I want to take my influence beyond the classroom and help shape a new generation of teachers and learners. It’s the logical next step for me.”

Tony Tovar with his wife, Yun Yang, and daughter, Noelle

Tony Tovar with his wife, Yun Yang, and daughter, Noelle

While Tovar admits that he’d prefer sitting in a classroom, learning together with a group of people, his Shanghai address made that difficult.

“My teaching license is in Texas. In order to have principal certification added to my license, I needed to take courses from a program approved by the Texas Education Association. However, they don’t approve universities in Shanghai, China.”

With no immediate plans to return stateside, Tovar looked at his options from an international perspective, turning to US-based, accredited universities with online programs.

Fortunately for Tovar, he was no stranger to online education, having completed his M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction online. Before completing his research, Tovar outlined his specific needs relative to his online education.

“I was looking for program that I could complete in two years or less and for a program with classes that interested me.”

But, more importantly, he wanted a program that took into account that he already had a Master’s degree.

“The main thing that made me choose SHSU was that it gave me credit for my previous education and experience,” says Tovar. “SHSU is giving me the tools to get my principal certification without having to work on a second master’s degree.”

Tovar still experiences hurdles similar to those other online students may have, like balancing a full-time job, his family life and demands of schoolwork. Tovar tries to take advantage of quiet, early mornings, planning time during the school day, and lulls in action between when school lets out and dinnertime.

For Tovar, the fact that he lives in Shanghai, China and not in the United States has not changed his online learning experience.

For example, Tovar especially enjoys being able to think about his responses before giving them.

“A nice part of taking online classes is that I have more time to craft answers. In the classroom, the teacher or a classmate asks a question, and you have to formulate an answer quickly or you don’t always get to share,” says Tovar. “With the discussion board format, I can look at someone’s post, think about it, and come back later that day or the next day and give a response that is more thoughtful.”

Along with these benefits, Tovar does experience one unique advantage of taking online courses while living in China: the International Date Line.

“Shanghai is 13 or 14 hours ahead of Huntsville,” says Tovar. “If an assignment is due on Friday at midnight, for example, I can wake up on Saturday morning, have a cup of coffee, and put the finishing touches on it before I turn it in, and it’s still on time.”

Are you an American living and working overseas looking to further your education? Or perhaps you’re an international student looking for an accredited university program? Explore our many online degree and certificate programs.

One criticism of online education is that, on average, pursuing a four-year degree is more expensive online than on campus. At Sam Houston State University Online, that’s not the case.

college-moneyTo provide our online students with the same quality education and level of service our on-campus students enjoy, we staff dedicated employees and utilize modern and safeguarded technology to deliver online courses. This added cost of delivery requires a distance-learning fee for online students. However, the fee is somewhat offset by waivers for other on-campus
service fees that online students are not required to pay since they are not on campus.

In the end, SHSU Online students enjoy all the benefits of being an online student at a cost quite similar to that of SHSU on-campus students.

In addition to numerous intangibles, including the cost of vehicle maintenance and gas to commute to campus, the foremost benefit to taking classes online is convenience. Your coursework is available on your time. If you need to listen to a lecture, participate in online class discussions, or ask a question, you may do so, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Online education provides opportunities for students that may be otherwise unavailable. College students of all ages and backgrounds have the freedom to work their education into their otherwise busy lives, which can be invaluable for those working long or unconventional hours, raising a family, or living in areas with geographic constraints.

We live in a time where technology bridges gaps across the globe, and consequently, opens the door to opportunities previously unavailable. If a student in China is interested in pursuing SHSU’s online Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, they may do so, from the convenience of their own home. In fact, students from India, Norway, Canada, and Vietnam are currently enrolled in online classes at SHSU!

We have numerous success stories of students who took unconventional paths to return to college and complete their degree, and more often than not, our students say they would not be able to reach this milestone without the assistance of SHSU Online.

We know that SHSU students’ needs are as unique as the students themselves, and we pride ourselves on serving them. We’ve been honored to receive numerous awards through the years for the quality of our programs.

Invest in your future. Visit today.


It’s never too late to have the career you want!

Advancing your education or your career is not just an adventure for the young. No matter what your age or what you want to be, it’s never too late to have the career you want. Here are five tips to help you get started.

  1. Research Your Target Field/Industry: When online student Meredith Carey graduated with a BA in Sociology, she found herself ill-prepared for the job market. After getting a part-time job, she spent a lot of time researching what exactly she needed to get a research job in her field. She found out that it required more education and more hands-on experience. Research what kind of education and/or combination of experience that jobs in your field require.
  1. Research the Your Field/Industry Community: Meredith also immersed herself in the sociology community by attending conferences and seminars, and networking with others who already had jobs in the field she was trying to enter. This helped her expand her options in terms of where she might find a job—in academia, non-profits, or public research firms.
  1. Research What You Need: Before committing to a degree program, Meredith first identified what she could and couldn’t do. She couldn’t move, at least not at present. She needed to keep working her part-time job, not only for the income but also to maintain her health insurance. And she needed an accredited program that offered quality coursework balanced with plenty of hands-on experiences.
  1. Research Degree Programs: With all these needs in mind, Meredith researched colleges that offered programs that met her needs. In the end, she chose Sam Houston State University Online after checking off her needs list.
  1. Compare your present needs with your future hopes: Starting a new career often means starting over in a new town. What are you willing to sacrifice to follow your passion? Ask yourself (and your family): are you ready for a possible relocation? What are the salaries in your field as compared to what you make now? Can you handle a pay cut? Meredith knows that she’ll probably have to move to get a job in her field, but she and her husband are on the same page and are prepared for that eventuality.

Changing careers doesn’t have to be painful. Lay the groundwork by doing your research—not only in your target field or industry, but also by asking yourself some tough questions and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way. Find out how online students Meredith Carey and David Davenport are using an online education to advance their careers.

Are you ready for a promotion or a career change? Explore our many online degree and certificate programs —it’s never too late to have the career you want!

Online Schools Center has included SHSU in a list of the top U.S. online schools that “offer the discerning learner the finest education using the most progressive technology.” SHSU ranked #15 on the list, ahead of such institutions as UCLA, Johns Hopkins and Boston University.

techThe list from Online Schools Center cited numerous reasons for ranking SHSU so highly this year, starting with SHSU’s seven lecture theaters that have been equipped with interactive television technology. These rooms, which are operational at both main campus and The Woodlands Center, enable classes to be streamed live to distance learners, with the added benefit of adjustable cameras and multiple microphones. The list also mentioned SHSU’s effective utilization of Blackboard to organize course content while also empowering web-based students to use the university’s library, career services and writing hub.

Online Schools Center describes itself as a resource geared towards business professionals, busy stay at home moms and dads, and those with full schedules whom would prefer an online option. To learn more about Online Schools Center and view the complete list of rankings, visit their website.

SHSU’s Peggy C. Holzweiss, Ph.D., was recently interviewed by NBC Learn to discuss the benefits of integrating NBC Learn HigherEd’s digital library to supplement her courses.

Holzweiss teaches online courses for the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling, and her incorporation of the resource is an example of SHSU faculty using technology to facilitate learning outside of conventional resources.

The original interview may be found at “NBCLearn in the Classroom.”

Peggy C. Holzweiss, Ph.D.

Peggy C. Holzweiss, Ph.D.

Peggy Holzweiss teaches a graduate-level class called “Internship Resource Management in Higher Education” at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Holzweiss assigns NBC Learn videos as homework and uses them to introduce topics and prompt discussion. She says NBC Learn sets the stage for what students are learning in a short amount of time.

Holzweiss: “It’s hard for my students to imagine something like the Kent State shooting happening today. But with NBC Learn, I can transport them to that time and contextualize what was going on in the world at that time.

NBC Learn: How do your students respond to NBC Learn videos?

Holzweiss: “NBC Learn videos are always in the form of a story. My students pay attention to stories because there is a natural connection between people.  NBC Learn videos are tailored to their attention span, and they love having a visual component to balance out their reading.”

NBC Learn: How do you use NBC Learn videos?

Holzweiss: “When we discuss how society views higher education, I can show specific examples of the state of funding in higher education. I want my students to see how people outside the world of academia are thinking, and put things into perspective for the students.”

NBC Learn: Why do you use NBC Learn?

“I really like NBC Learn’s brevity and quality. Combining those two things is incredibly important when you are teaching. It helps the students find a balance between the text and the real world. Whenever I can add a component that helps them enjoy the class like NBC Learn does, I am certainly going to use it.”

Pursuing an advanced degree—no matter if you start at 18, 28 or 58—is a journey filled with great rewards and its fair share of challenges. One major challenge actually has nothing to do with, say, writing a paper or passing an exam; it’s about balance. How do you balance your education with everything else; that is, family, a full-time job, a second job, and a social life? Here are five tips to help get you started.

  1. Establishing a balance between your online education and everything else.

    Get some tips on balancing your online education with everything else in your life

    The Boy Scouts have it right: Be Prepared. That means planning ahead when assignments are due and in relation to what’s going on in the rest of your life. Don’t schedule doctor’s appointments for you and your three kids the day before a major exam, for example. Life can be unpredictable, but if you plan your week ahead of time, you’re in a position of power and can make adjustments as needed.

  2. Be Clear on What You Need and Communicate It. After all that planning, things sometimes can go awry. That’s why it’s important to let people know if you need help and how you need help. Do you need one precious hour to finish a paper before a getaway weekend? Do you need some encouragement and a kind word? Can someone put out the trash? Ask for help.
  3. Develop A Support Network. It does take a village! Your regular support network may be great at giving you encouragement but how are they are AP style? Or technical issues with your computer? Diversify your support network. Sometimes you only have problems that your professor or classmate can help you with. Other times, you might call on the friendly help desk at the library. Be sure to call on them when you need them.
  4. Listen to your Support Network. Sometimes the people who see us clearly are the ones looking in from the outside. If your family lets you know they see you’re overtaxed or maybe your work is suffering, listen when they tell you to take a break. They have your best interests at heart.
  5. Find and Use Your Tools. In this technological day and age you can be sure there’s an app for that. Start or join a Facebook support group with your classmates, add assignment due dates into your calendar and sync it with your smart phone. Take advantage of Blackboard Mobile to check in from anywhere using your phone or tablet. Find out what kind of tools help you and use them.

Just remember, don’t forgot to enjoy your educational journey: it’s the small, day to day successes that help you grow personally as well as academically.

Find out what these online students had to say about finding balance in their lives.

Graduate certificates have seen a dramatic increase in popularity due to the minimal time commitment necessary to complete the certificate and the immediate return on the student’s investment as it relates to job placement and/or promotion.

shutterstock_176126174Sam Houston State University’s College of Education offers nine online graduate certificates, allowing students to pursue a variety of specializations in targeted fields that can stand alone or be used in combination with a master’s degree, where applicable.

For example, the completion of the online Graduate Certificate in Academic Advising, consisting of 15 credit hours, represents half of the required credits necessary to receive a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration, should the student decide to seek the degree. Students could enroll in the master’s program following the completion of the certificate and be halfway to completing the degree.


Dr. Matthew Fuller Assistant Professor

Matt Fuller, Ph.D., the academic advisor for the Graduate Certificate in Academic Advising, says of the 49 students enrolled in the certificate program, 41 students are pursuing the certificate in tandem with the M.A. in Higher Education Administration.

“When people look to obtain a graduate certificate, they want to know the program that is being offered is vigorous, and that the program will highlight a professional focus,” he says. “We have top-notch faculty teaching programs in our certificate program, and we have seen tremendous success resulting in the completion of the certificate.”

Fuller says 89% of students who completed the certificate accepted a new job or a promotion in their current position as a result of the completion of the certificate.

The success and student interest of the certificate program has guaranteed at least one new certificate, “Assessment in Institutional Research,” available Fall 2014.

For more information about online graduate certificates, visit

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 3.18.08 PMAs we celebrate our nation’s independence, consider a statement from Texas legend Sam Houston:

“The benefits of education and of useful knowledge… are essential to the preservation of a free government.”

Whether you are seeking a new career, wanting to advance your education, or curious to discover more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit