Home > Blog > September 2018 > Q & A with Online Education Director Deborah Ayers

Q & A with Online Education Director Deborah Ayers

Posted: September 5, 2018 by Diane Smith
Photo of Online Programs Team
Online Programs Team

Many would agree that the ultimate goal for a college student pursuing a bachelor’s degree is to actually finish it. That might seem obvious but when you account for a 100 percent online experience and the fact that most students are often working adults with families, it starts to sound almost impossible to complete that degree on time. Not at Pima Medical Institute.

According to a recent report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Pima Medical Institute ranks #1 among 4-year, for-profit institutions with a 78.3% on-time graduation rate. The on-time graduation rate is an important metric – meaning students are successfully completing their classes and sticking with their program.

These types of results don’t happen by accident.

Deborah Ayers, Pima Medical’s Director of Online Education, has been on the online education frontlines for more than two decades and attributes Pima Medical’s success to great course content, engaged faculty and amazing support team.

Here’s what she had to say about Pima Medical’s online excellence.

Q: What separates Pima’s Online program from others out there?
Photo of Director of Online Education, Deb Ayers Director of Online Education, Deb Ayers
“First, I believe people need to understand the importance of being recognized in this publication. As the Wall Street Journal is to the world of finance, The Chronicle of Higher Education is to the world of academia. It is a very prestigious publication.”

“Pima Medical Institute has never strived to be the biggest school system, but we do aim to be the best. Having the latest and greatest technical gadgets, assessment metrics and performance dashboards is an asset but it doesn’t guarantee great results. It sounds cliché but what really matters are the people.”

“Do your faculty really know and care about their students? Do faculty feel supported? Does the whole team understand that graduates are our goal? If the answer to all of these questions is “Yes!” then a school can have great outcomes.”
Q: What do you think this ranking says, not just about Pima Medical, but your team as a whole?
“I am so proud of my team and the way we work together. As a distributed team who is dispersed all across the country, we have to work especially hard to keep engaged and to support each other and our students. We write and build virtually all of our course material in-house using our own design team so that the material is engaging and very relevant to healthcare professionals. All of our courses are set up using the same blueprint so that the technology component fades into the background and the student can focus on the course work.

And unlike many schools, we don’t outsource our online technical support. I have seven people on my team who work the Online Help Desk as a part of their job responsibilities. They know Pima’s processes, systems, courses, faculty and students and are much better equipped to provide a high level of support—both technical and personal.”

“We also tell our faculty that it is our ambition to have the best online faculty in the education space. We look for faculty who truly have a passion to teach and mentor and I believe we have a great support structure for them as well.”

Q. Why should people consider an online education?
“This question (in 2018) is like asking someone why they should consider getting a mobile phone. It’s just not a relevant question anymore. Why should people consider earning their degree through Pima Medical’s Online Education programs? Our programs are designed for healthcare professionals who will be learning things in their classes that they can immediately apply in their profession. And we’re committed to helping our students make it all the way to that graduation finish line…on time!

Pima offers the following online degree programs:

Radiography - Bridge
Health Care Administration

Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy

For more information go to our online programs page at https://pmi.edu/online.

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