WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Berkeley College alumni, business partners, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of online education at Berkeley College during National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) on Nov. 7.
The festivities included a preview of initiatives to commemorate 20 years of online education at Berkeley College in 2018. During NDLW, Nov. 6-10, the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), showcases worldwide content that features distance learning accomplishments from all sectors including Pre-K-12, Higher Education, Corporate, Government/Military and Telehealth.
“Berkeley College is proud to be one of the first college or university programs worldwide certified by Berkeley College by the United States Distance Learning Association,” said Michael J. Smith, president of Berkeley College. “Since that designation four years ago, Berkeley College strives to continue achieving even greater levels of excellence in its online program. Best of all, we see that innovation and flexibility afforded through online learning are two aspects of the Berkeley College experience that influence student and graduate outcome in positive ways. Adult learners especially need flexible paths to a college degree or career certification,” he added.
Speakers at the gathering included Sharon Goldstein, Campus Operating Officer, Berkeley College Online®; Kevin L. Luing, Berkeley College Board Chairman; Joseph Scuralli, DPS, Dean, Online; and alumna Jessica Mahoney, Esq., of Middletown, N.Y.
Scuralli taught his first online course in 2010. “Standing on the shoulders of the faculty that had taught before me, I found teaching Berkeley College online courses to be a very rewarding and enriching experience,” he said. “Using the technology available online was much more interesting than being in a brick and mortar classroom.”
“Berkeley College has come a long way since those first days 20 years ago,” Scuralli said. “We have had many successes, including earning the United States Distance Learning Association continued Quality Standards Certification status. Today we run approximately 400 sections per term, with more than 3,000 students taking at least one online course per term, and our initiatives to improve the quality of our students’ experience continue.
Mahoney was on the fast track when she graduated from Berkeley College with a BS in Justice Studies – Criminal Justice in 2011. Her dream since childhood was to become a lawyer. She took courses in Midtown Manhattan, White Plains, N.Y., and online.
“I knew Berkeley College was the right choice for me. I was able to live at home, work part-time, and obtain an internship at a local law office while earning my degree,” she said. “Taking courses online required a great level of self-discipline. I learned the importance of time management, organization and how to balance my life. That transferred over in my career as an attorney where I constantly manage deadlines."
Mahoney graduated from Albany Law School in 2014, the same year she sat for the New York State Bar Exam. By 2015 she was sworn in as an attorney and counselor at law by the Second Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
Focusing primarily in the areas of real property and municipal law, Mahoney opened her own firm, JM Mahoney Law PLLC, in September 2017. Prior to opening her own firm, she was an associate attorney at The Law Office of Elizabeth K. Cassidy PLLC, in Warwick, N.Y., and Drake Loeb PLLC, in New Windsor, N.Y. She will also teach at Berkeley College beginning in January 2018 as an adjunct professor for legal studies.
Other Berkeley College alumni in attendance at the celebration included Crystal Chisholm of Bloomfield and Assata Knox of Summit.
Chisholm graduated with an A.A.S. in 2001 in business administration – office system management, and a BS in 2010 in management – human resources management. Now she is the CEO and founder of Crayne Career Solutions, LLC, conducting speaking engagements and career counseling services for individuals from all walks of life.
“I always had a love for human resources,” Chisholm said. “But after being in the corporate workplace for 17 years I realized I needed a bachelor’s degree, and I was pregnant at the time. It gave me freedom and flexibility. Returning by taking courses at Berkeley College Online was a good challenge for me.”
Knox graduated from Berkeley College in 2010 with a B.S. in finance. She is currently enrolled in the M.B.A. in management program at Berkeley College and is the lead customer service representative for The Connection, a nonprofit organization located in Summit, that offers enrichment programs for all members of the community.
“I chose Berkeley College because I could take courses online,” Knox said. “After I graduate with my M.B.A. in 2018 I can offer my employer more expertise from a business and managerial perspective.”
Nearly 3,100 students – or 44 percent – of undergraduates, and 104 graduate students – 88 percent – were enrolled in at least one online course at Berkeley College in the fall 2017. More than 395 sections of 188 undergraduate online courses are being taught by 194 faculty, and 22 graduate-level online courses by 14 faculty this semester.
The online program at Berkeley College is supported through outstanding leadership, and for the past four years, 2014-2017, Berkeley College has been cited by U.S News & World Report for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.