HCN News & Notes

Bay Path University’s Online Liberal Studies Program Earns Accolades

LONGMEADOW — The American Women’s College at Bay Path University has been helping women complete their bachelor’s degrees at twice the rate of the national average since its inception in 2013, thanks to its digitally enhanced learning model, SOUL (Social Online Universal Learning). This innovative approach to education has placed its bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies among the 50 best in the nation, as ranked by TheBestSchools.org.

“The American Women’s College seeks to accommodate our students by offering a liberal studies degree, complimented by our Women Empowered by Learners and Leaders [WELL] program, to develop well-rounded, articulate, critical thinkers and leaders,” Chief Administrative Officer Amanda Gould said. “Our adaptive coursework can help students refresh on content, as needed, on each student’s customized learning path, even if they have had to take breaks in their learning. With our fully online, accelerated schedule, credit for prior experiences, and generous transfer policy, many students are able to finally obtain an undergraduate degree that may have been in progress off and on for many years.”

TheBestSchools.org ranked colleges based on six major categories: academic excellence, strength of faculty scholarship, reputation, financial aid, range of degree programs, and strength of online instruction methodology. The university’s program placed 21st on the list, in which the editor highlighted the freedom it provides to students, particularly adult women who have other responsibilities, including family and work obligations, to design an academic program to suit their needs and schedule.

The SOUL model uses data-driven intervention strategies to help mitigate achievement gaps, and has been recognized with more than $5 million in support from industry thought leaders and organizations. SOUL was developed after the American Women’s College was awarded a grant through the First in the World competition administered through the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The four-year, $3.5 million award was used to develop — and continually hone — the program by improving educator access to learning data, allowing for targeted feedback and personalized guidance. SOUL has been recognized with several other grants and awards from national foundations, the federal government, and awarding agencies.

“The American Women’s College is focused on being responsive to students’ needs,” Gould said. “From accommodating complex lives with flexible delivery to using adaptive technology to create customized learning paths, to building an entire network of support and community, we try to find ways to meet students where they are and provide them the opportunity to change their lives with education.”