Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: WGU Ohio

September 4th, 2020

Provide us with a summary of your business’ services.

WGU Ohio is a state affiliate of Western Governors University, an accredited, nonprofit, online university established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors to expand access to quality higher education. WGU is the nation’s first accredited competency-based university and still the only university providing competency-based education at scale.

In June 2018, to help the state reach its degree attainment goal, the state of Ohio and WGU launched a partnership – WGU Ohio. Our programs are authorized by the state Department of Higher Education. When we launched, about 2,200 Ohio students were enrolled – now there are about 4,000 – xx of whom live in the greater Columbus area.

WGU is distinctive, not because it is all online, but because the university uses competency-based education. The most important aspect of competency-based education is that it measures learning rather than time. Competency-based learning allows students to earn their degrees by demonstrating what they know and can do (competency) rather than spending time in class to accumulate credit hours.

Terms at WGU are six months long, and students may begin on the first day of any month. WGU’s tuition is about $7,000 per 12-month year for most programs. It is charged at a flat rate, which means students may complete as many courses as they are able in any term at no additional cost. WGU is self-sustaining on its tuition, with no ongoing funding from state or federal government.

WGU offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, information technology, K–12 teacher education, and health professions, including nursing. Our programs align with the most in-demand careers in today’s job market, and we continually update our existing programs—and create new ones—to meet the most current needs of employers, the economy, and our students.

We strategically partner with businesses throughout the state to provide employers with an affordable higher ed option for employee education.

Tell us about your company’s mission and values.

The principal mission of WGU Ohio is to improve quality and expand access to post-secondary educational opportunities by providing a means for individuals to learn independent of time or place and to earn competency-based degrees and other credentials that are credible to both academic institutions and employers.

We help students achieve their dreams for degree and career success by providing and enabling personal, flexible, and affordable education based on real-world competencies.

We provide employees a meaningful, enjoyable, and rewarding work experience.

How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?

WGU is a national leader in the field of competency-based education. We expect fresh thinking and look for new ideas everywhere. We are comfortable being first and taking calculated risks to overcome great challenges.

WGU employs strategic partnerships managers who connect with employers. They work to identify areas of opportunity for workplace skills and communicate those to the university’s curriculum designers.

The university also seeks advice on workforce skills from members of national and state advisory boards. All of WGU’s courses are designed with input and feedback from industry employers.

Please describe your company culture.

Everything we do and every decision we make starts with our students. We keep our mission core to all our decisions and never lose sight of the end goal. Every day we strive to live up to the WGU Promise.

We live by 10 Leadership Principles: student obsession, innovation, learning, inspire & develop, urgency, courage, ownership, deliver results, integrity, and earn trust.

What defines a successful employee at your company?

Every employee at WGU understands that student success is why we are here. Student-centricity guides all of our decisions. We are here to change lives.

Our employees are comfortable with working on the edge of innovation. WGU is constantly growing, learning, and improving. With that comes a lot of change, and our employees recognize this is necessary to remain a leader in competency-based education.

What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?

Columbus is a wonderfully diverse and resilient community with a wide variety of employers – from Fortune 100 companies and major league sports franchises to higher education institutions to homegrown restaurant chains. WGU Ohio is honored to be a part of upscaling the workforce in Columbus, allowing employees to change their lives for the better.

What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber? We are looking forward to connecting and working with other Columbus area businesses. We are excited to attend Chamber events and program offerings to learn more about the Columbus Community and the amazing businesses and people here.

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