Rider to offer accelerated master’s program in organizational leadership beginning this fall

The program can be completed entirely online in only five semesters

Starting in the fall of 2019, Rider University will begin offering an accelerated Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program that can be completed entirely online in only five semesters.

The 30-credit program is designed to enhance students’ leadership, supervisory and administrative skills. Students will be enrolled in the developing people and organizations concentration, which offers a broad perspective on organizational behavior and leadership. In its accelerated format, each course will be approximately seven-weeks long, and there will be six admission cycles throughout the year.

“We recognize that not everyone has the time for a traditional on-campus program model because they’re already very busy with work and family responsibilities, and there are only so many hours in the day,” says Program Director Tricia Nolfi, who is also an assistant professor. “At the same time, they might be required to obtain a master’s degree in order to advance in their careers, and this program will enable them to do that.”

Nolfi adds that in creating the new program, one of the key goals was ensuring that students taking the online courses will receive the same level of support as those who are on campus. “A big part of Rider’s culture has always been making sure our students succeed. That’s just a part of what we do.”

Staff will be available to offer guidance along every step of the process, assisting students with everything from scheduling to financial aid to academic advising. There will even be periodic check-ins to see how the students’ experience is going after they’ve enrolled.

“A few weeks into the course, someone will follow up to ask, ‘How are you doing? Is there anything you need help with?’ she says. “Since these students won’t physically come to campus, there’s going to be a lot more outreach to ensure that they’re feeling connected to the University.”

Prospective students will now be able to choose from among three options for earning their degree. In addition to the new accelerated format, Rider will continue to offer the current version, which follows the traditional 14-week semester format and generally takes three years to complete. For this option, students have the choice of taking classes fully online or in a hybrid format, which combines online learning with on-campus classes.

As an interdisciplinary master’s program at Rider, organizational leadership attracts students from a variety of areas, including education, nonprofits, business and public organizations.

“Our program is really relevant for any individual aspiring to be a leader within an organization,” says Nolfi. Nevertheless, she notes that many of the students in the Developing People and Organizations concentration tend to work in human resources or learning and development positions.

“One of the things that’s unique about our program is that the students have a capstone experience where they conduct organizational research and actually go into an organization, identify a problem, conduct a needs assessment and solve the problem. This is a very hands-on, application-based program. For every single course that they take, students are expected to apply what they are learning in that class to the work setting. I think that’s a big part of why many of our students are able to get a new job or receive a promotion within three months of graduation.”