Since Harding Online’s establishment in the spring, four new programs have been or are in the process of being developed and added to the list of University academic offerings. Harding Online seeks partnerships with organizations that identify with the University’s mission and can assist Harding in reaching a global audience.
The first new program is a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, an interdisciplinary academic field of study that is focused on individual and team success. Harding Online has signed an agreement with Strata Leadership to help develop and grow this program. Out of this agreement came the formation of the University Center for Organizational Leadership under which the MAOL will be offered, in collaboration with Harding Online and the College of Business. The MAOL is a 30-hour degree offering graduate certificates that focus on leadership coaching, human resources and other areas. As part of the partnership, Strata Leadership is helping the University seek adjunct professors and students interested in enrolling in the program, which is set to begin in August 2021.
Harding Online also has signed an agreement with Orbis Education to implement an advanced Bachelor of Science in Nursing, commencing in Fall 2022. All of the didactic requirements will be taught online by Harding faculty. After students have completed that portion of the degree, they will arrange to take their clinicals. Orbis will help establish connections with hospitals in West Memphis and Northwest Arkansas, in addition to building out centers where students can fulfill their simulation laboratories. Students also will be able to arrange to take their clinicals in other locations, if needed.
“The longer term plan for that is to not just limit it to nursing,” said Keith Cronk, chief information officer and senior vice president of information systems and technology and Harding Online. “We would love to expand our physician assistant programs as well, and they could use the same sort of facilities in years to come.”
“That plan has always been to take Harding Christian higher education to all the world.”
The third initiative Harding Online has developed is an agreement with Grand Canyon Education to offer an MBA and MSIS degree that will begin in Spring 2022. Currently these programs are offered through the College of Business Administration; however, Harding Online’s instructional designers will collaborate with COBA and GCE. GCE will be primarily responsible for running the digital marketing and the enrollment process.
“GCE approached us initially and asked if we wanted to partner with them,” said Cronk. “They are overtly Christian, so it was a great opportunity to partner. If these are successful, the idea is we will expand out from there. We are looking to get a total of 150 students a year in those two programs.”
The fourth program Harding Online has been working to implement is a Master of Education in Christian education.
“We are working very diligently with Brandon Tatum to kick this off in Spring 2022,” said Cronk. “His long-term association with the National Christian Schools Association and the Association of Christian Schools International gives us an incredibly broad spectrum of opportunities to reach those schools, particularly because this is a nonlicensure degree. We won’t have to go through state boards of licensure.”
Harding Online instructional designers will begin collaborating with current University online programs on their curricular development. Any additional faculty hired for new programs will continue to go through the University hiring process.
Cronk says Harding Online is something he has envisioned for more than a decade, and he is excited to see how things progress.
“I have a folder that has a strategic plan in it from 1999. That plan has always been to take Harding Christian higher education to all the world. That’s what I want to do, to get what we have, in terms of Christian higher education, out to people who will never come to our campus. I think in two years time we could have 800 to 1,000 students that we never had before because we have offered this opportunity.”