UIU President Bill Duffy, right, and Board of Trustees Chair Bob Firth present a board resolution to Barb Schultz, assistant vice president - Center of Distance Education, during one of the events that honored faculty, staff and alumni of the Upper Iowa program now known as self-paced study. The program was launched in 1973 as the Coordinated Off-Campus Degree Program and has led to creation of off-campus education centers, an online degree program and the re-engineered self-paced study program.
FAYETTE, Iowa (October 15, 2013) – A series of events during the recent Upper Iowa University Homecoming honored both the administrators and the graduates of a 40-year-old program that helped pave the way for off-campus university education programs – not only at UIU but throughout U.S. colleges and universities.
In 1973, Upper Iowa was one of the first American universities to emulate the British model of a "university without walls" when UIU created the Coordinated Off-Campus Degree Program (COCDP), which at the time offered only one bachelor's degree in public administration. Essentially, the basics of COCDP allowed students to satisfy most of their college credits without attending classes on campus through paper-based correspondence courses. Since then, as technology changed, so did the program, which now relies extensively on computers and web-based classes. The successful initiative has evolved over four decades, being renamed as the external degree program, independent study program and most recently the self-paced degree program.
In addition to changes in the initial COCDP structure, UIU has added an online program and developed 19 educational centers located in various U.S. communities in seven states. Today, the total non-residential University accounts for the majority of UIU graduates.
"The off-campus degree program in 1973 quickly gained popularity by serving the needs of adult learners who had few opportunities to finish their college education while continuing on their career trajectory," UIU President William R. Duffy II told the assembled group at a reception for alumni during Homecoming. "The UIU program would evolve into the Division of Continuing Studies, the Off-Campus Degree Programs, and later, the Online Program. Upper Iowa gained a national reputation for serving adult learners through distance learning and evening and weekend classes. Only in recent years, have student expectations changed so that most other colleges now offer some type of distance learning."
"The administration at UIU in 1973 could not have imagined its entrepreneurial efforts to take a major risk would not only stabilize the university financially but would forever change the scope and identity of Upper Iowa University," he added. "The entrepreneurial spirit that led UIU into the world of off-campus education long before many other colleges and universities will continue to be a driving force for UIU."
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to some 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing