The University of Louisiana at Lafayette was founded as an industrial school in 1898, growing since to become the largest campus in the UL system (around 1400 acres) and the second largest university in the entire state. More than just technical training, UL Lafayette is now a doctoral level research school, with numerous undergrad and graduate degree offerings and not only has one of the highest enrollments in the state (almost 17000), but also has the highest employment in the Lafayette Parish (around 2100 faculty, researchers, and employees).
Numerous academic programs are offered here, with 78 undergraduate degree tracts, another 27 Master’s degree programs, and Doctor of Philosophy with 8 different specializations (from biology to mathematics to computer science/engineering). There are a total of 10 degree offering schools on campus, with renowned programs of study especially in the areas of engineering, computer science, and architecture.
Distance learning is a budding area at UL Lafayette, with online course offerings both for credit and non-credit students, for adults looking to start a degree program and for current students looking to add a flexible learning option to their major tract. Currently there are no completely online degree programs, but UL Lafayette “is presently working on a program strategy for the University” that will eventually “offer distance learning to select markets AND assure high quality” with everything from “online graduate programs” to programs for “adult learners… that want a pathway to earn a degree”.
There are online classes offered now, though they are still working on a long range plan to introduce a more complete schedule of classes based on priority and usefulness. Moodle is their course management system of choice, with both completely web-based (80%+ online, with on campus orientations and some exams/meetings) and hybrid courses (50-79% online)for any students enrolled. University College handles the “for credit” online classes, as well as the evening/weekend classes, senior citizen students, and dual-enrollment high school kids looking to get an early jump on college credit while simultaneously earning secondary level (usually taught in house or on weekends on UL Lafayette’s campus). The online offerings at U.C. (organized through the Office of Distance and Electronic Learning) include English, Business, Finance, Health, and Music departments to name a few, but this pool deepens each semester (including summer).
The U.C. also offers programs for non-traditional students, ranging from on-site evenings/weekends both on campus and at satellite locations around the state, a summer visitor program for non-UL Lafayette students looking to transfer in the fall, an ENTRÉE program for graduate students to take some credit early before actually taking their GRE and GMAT, and even a reduced tuition programs for those over 60.
There are numerous non-credit online offerings through the Continuing Education department (which also holds evening, weekend, and even weekday classes on campus) in areas like creating web pages, accounting fundamentals, and medical terminology. Designed to help get a leg up in the workplace or simply for self-gratification, these are flexible, affordable learning options for working adults.
UL Lafayette is distinguished for many reasons, from the fine academics and research, to their Division I sports, to their paper, the UL Lafayette Press (the second largest academic publisher in the state). Now, with its dedication to distance learning and the development of additional online programs, that recognition will have a chance to grow further.