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University of California Lifts Ban on Online Degree Programs

University of California Lifts Ban on Online Degree Programs

Inside Higher Ed

Lauren Coffey
February 27, 2024
The University of California is ending a ban on allowing students to study for their degrees entirely through online courses.
The UC Board of Regents voted 10 to 1 on Feb. 14 to repeal a year-old decision by the Academic Senate. That 2023 decision essentially banned online degrees from the university system, requiring anyone seeking an online degree to get an exception to that “campus experience” requirement.
The vote has raised issues about the balance of power between the regents and the Academic Senate.
“It’s within the board’s authority to make a decision in the area of degree requirements, but the way it was carried out was damaging to shared governance,” said James Steintrager, chair of the Academic Senate.
Steintrager said there are no immediate plans to respond to the regents’ reversal, adding that the Senate does not have the power to override the decision. But, he said, there will be a response about the regents’ decision-making process.
“I was taken aback in the way they did it, because they listened to the argument but had no meaningful Q&A,” he said, referring to the lack of questioning during his presentation at the meeting. “They seemed to have a willingness to act without being informed.”
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