Welcome to washingtonpost.com's Education Open House Discussions Live. This is the place to meet experts in the field of education from our sponsoring institutions who will address your needs by providing useful and timely information on a variety of education-related topics.
How Strayer University is meeting the needs of today's student.
Donald R. Stoddard, Ph.D.
All you have to do to ask a question is press the "Submit Question" button below. Questions may be submitted in advance and during the discussion.
So dive in and use this resource to get the educational information you've been looking for.
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard is the President of Strayer University, and serves also as a member of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Stoddard has presided over the tremendous growth the University has seen, with current enrollment exceeding 10,000 students. Strayer currently has thirteen campus locations in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Dr. Stoddard has an extensive background in higher education administration. Before becoming President of Strayer in 1997, Dr. Stoddard was Coordinator of Collegiate Institutions at Maryland Higher Education Commission. Dr. Stoddard also served on the faculty of a variety of institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Northeastern University, Skidmore College, Augusta College, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, George Mason University, and Anne Arundel Community College. Dr. Stoddard holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from Northeastern University.
Hello and welcome to Discussions Live. Our guest today is the President of Strayer University, Dr. Donald R. Stoddard. Dr. Stoddard, thank you for joining us.
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : I'm very happy to be here today to talk with you about Strayer University and today's college students. I'll be glad to try to answer any questions you may have.
What is driving the trend of older, non-traditional students enrolling in increasing numbers at colleges and universities? How does this affect the schools?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : The increased enrollments are partly the result of population increases in the U. S. and partly because of a shift in the nature of the college student. There was a time when the term "college student" suggested a very specific image of a white male between the ages of 18-22,with a similar socioeconomic background as his classmates. Today's 14 million college students are quite diverse. Most of them are women and they come from a wide variety of ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds. They are more self-reliant and feel a stronger sense of independence than their predecessors, especially in defining whom they are and where they're going. They also have different notions of how to get there.
How many students go to school fulltime and work fulltime?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Two-thirds of Strayer students work and go to school part-time. This is the reason we offer most of our courses during the evenings and on the weekends. More than half of these students are part-time because they are working to pay for their education.
Why is that Strayer Univ. has not attained similar accreditation as George Wash., Georgetown, Univ. of Maryland - College Park, George Mason Univ. and etc.? Those schools' accreditation carries more weight by recruiters and employers. In addition, it helps build the academic reputation of the university.
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Indeed Strayer has the same regional accreditation as the institutions you named. We are accredited by the Middle States Association. Our credits transfer readily and our graduates succeed in gaining admittance to graduate programs at other institutions.
Silver Spring, MD:
Will Strayer build a centralized campus, where 98% of its students will have to take classes there?? If so, will Strayer include dorms, open fields, fitness facilities, computer facilities, and specialzed schools -eg. business and other-??
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer has 13 campuses in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, and a 14th campus is planned for next year in the Richmond area. What seems to meet the needs of our students are campuses close to their residences. There are no plans for a centralized campus or residential facilities. In terms of fields and fitness facilities, Strayer tries to respond to the needs of its students and thus far there has not been enough interest to warrant their includsion. All of our campuses have state-of-the-art computer laboratories and our programs are available at all campuses, with exception of the Anne Arundel Campus which does not offer associate and diploma programs. All of the other campuses offer undergraduate and graduate classes at the master's, bachelor's, associate's, and diploma level.
Silver Spring, MD:
How do employers and recruiters in the business and technology arena view Strayer as an academic institution? Do many of your graduates and current students receive competitive job offers from large or well known companies?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer University has an excellent placement record. We receive many inquiries from business and industry seeking graduates in business, computer information, accounting and marketing. As you probably know, a high-technology industry in the greater Washington area cannot fill all of the positions available for graduates in these fields.
Falls Church, VA:
What is it about Strayer University that makes it attractive to working adults?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer is attractive to working adults because most of the courses are taught by active practitioners in their fields. This helps to graduate students who have state-of-the-art knowledge. Classes are offered at 13 campuses at convenient times, including eveings and weekends. There is even a course at our Woodbridge Campus that meets early Sunday mornings that is always well-enrolled. We try to schedule classes for the convenience of the working adults and others who need a flexible schedule.
Does Strayer currently offer courses online? If so, what percentage of students attend online?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer has a very active online program. The entire curricula at Strayer is available online. More than 1000 students were enrolled in online courses this year. Most students combine their regular classes with online courses, in order to continue their education while shouldering career and family responsibilities.
I'm giving serious thought returning to school as an online student given my work schedule, but I wonder about the quality of the interactions I'd be having with teachers and fellow students. What do your online students have to say about this?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer Online courses are interactive. The professor teaches the course at a set time on a specified day/evening. The courses are synchronous and students are able to ask questions and have them answered by the instructor and other students during the classes. In fact this online discussion is similar to the program. Many students form discussion groups and learn from each other outside of the class sessions.
Some people have started at Stayer and have been transferred out of the area, but have been able to continue their programs through Strayer Online across the country and around the world.
One student signs off from his course at 7:30 each week to put his children to bed. His wife is taking a course on campus and Strayer Online allows him to take the course he needs for his degree program at home. He signs back on at 7:45 and rejoins the class! This is the kind of flexibility that Strayer Online offers. For more information about online courses, you can call 1-888-4-STRAYER.
Strayer considers full time as 13.5 cr-hrs, and 9 cr-hrs as half time. When looking from a financial aspect, 9 cr-hrs amounts to paying for 3-4 time. VA will only pay me for 1-2 time because of your policy. Will there be any change soon to the policy to reflect 9 credit hours as it truly is--3-4 quarter time?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Veterns Administration is quite familiar with a quarter-system and you can get direct information on how these quarter hours are equated to semester hours from our Student Services office. The Washington Campus number is 202-408-2400. Feel free to call Michael Williams, the Washington Campus Coordinator.
Can I take business courses on an ad hoc basis at Strayer?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Yes, some students attend Strayer to take specific courses others are enrolled in degree or diploma programs. You are welcome to take the courses that you need.
would you talk about the evolution of strayer from college to university and its ramifications
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer began in 1892 as a secretarial school in Baltimore, Maryland. It has grown to become a college and ultimately a university. With more than 10,000 students, Strayer's growth in both graduate and undergraduate programs made it evident that a university name was a more accurate description of what we are. Strayer University also has a university-level faculty comprised of both academic scholars and active practioners in their field. More than half of the credit courses at Strayer are taught by professors with terminal degrees or the equivalent.
Can Strayer help students find jobs in their field while they're still in school?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer frequently assists students in finding jobs while they are still in school. One of the programs that assists our students is called JobTrak that allows students to post their resumes online and employers to post job listings. Staff frequently assist students in preparing resumes, interviewing techniques, and job search skills. Job fairs are periodically scheduled and area businesses frequently send representatives to these functions.
I am interested in obtaining a Master's Degree in Advertising. Does your university offer this program.
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Although we do not have a specific degree in Advertising, we do have a master's degree in business administration. We offer Master of Science degree programs in Information Systems and Professional Accounting, as well. For more information about Strayer's degree programs, please call 1-888-4-STRAYER. By the way, this phone number will connect you to the campus nearest your home.
How can Strayer make any money from offering courses online? Isn't it expensive to develop courses for Internet delivery?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Yes it is expensive to develop Internet courses. Our hope is that the volume of students taking these will ultimately make these cost-effective. Our intention is to stay with synchronous courses which our research shows are the most effective distance learning formats.
Sir, I have 10 years' worth of business experience mostly in marketing and management. I'm unhappy in my current situation and would like to make a change. I have anundergraduate business degree but think often of obtaining a masters in order to make myself more marketable. My question is at what point does work experience compensate for the lack of a grad degree, in my case an MBA?
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Experience is certainly important but statistics show that people with masters' degree generally earn higher salaries. Sometimes even being enrolled in a master's degree program opens up promotions or job opportunities.
Why is STRAYER so much more expensive than other local schools? Nine hundred dollars
a class seems rather "excessive".
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer University's tuition is competitive with other private universities in the area. In fact our tuition is approximately 45% lower than that of other private institutions. The public colleges and universities in the area are subsidized by the tax payers and this allows them to charge less than those institutions that are not publicly supported. We feel that our students receive excellent value for the tuition they pay.
Will Strayer be offering Exchange soon and NT 5.0? Technology is advancing and how will Strayer prepare for it. Also, what advice would you have for someone who passes the MCSE, but has no experience? I am running into employers who will not hire without experience, even if you hold a MCSE. Most jobs don't want to train you.
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Strayer offers certification courses for MCSE, CNE/CNA, and Oracle DBA and Developer. Strayer embeds the professional certification preparation with the university-level instruction so that the student not only completes a credit-course but will be well-prepared to take the certification exam. For more detailed information about these courses, please contact our Admissions Offices at 1-888-4-STRAYER.
Dr. Donald R. Stoddard : Thank you for the opportunity to discuss our university and its programs. Please feel free to call us or visit our website at www.strayer.edu for more information.
That's all the time we have for today. Our thanks to all, especially Dr. Stoddard.