National University (NU) is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California and the 12th largest in the United States. Founded in 1971, National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California, United States offering academic degree programs at campuses located throughout the state, as well as in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Texas, Virginia, and Seattle through an online learning environment.
National University is organized into five professional schools and one college: the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering, Technology and Media; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies. National University’s online academic programs are interactive with streaming videos, real-time discussions, multimedia learning material, and online classrooms.
Programs at National University are concentrated for adult learners and on-campus classes are scheduled during evenings and on weekends.
National University founder Dr. David Chigos, a retired United States Navy lieutenant commander and a director of employee training for General Dynamics Corporation in San Diego, saw a need for a non-traditional university education format with relevant and high-demand degree programs to serve working adults. In November 1971, National University was organized as a private, non-profit institution with 27 students attending classes in 1972. National's first commencement ceremony included 143 graduates. In 1975, National purchased two properties on Camino del Rio South in Mission Valley. Two years later it opened up facilities in Kearny Mesa and then expanded in San Diego County.
In 1977, National had some 1,000 alumni and it received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. By 1979, National had a 15-acre campus with 110,000 square feet of classroom and library space and some 3,500 alumni. Also in 1979, National acquired the Cabrillo Pacific College of Law that became National's School of Law.
During the 1980s, National expanded with campuses in California's largest cities. National's School of Education was established in 1980. In 1988, Chigos, retired as president with approximately 7,000 students enrolled at 35 established campuses in California, Las Vegas, Nevada, and in Costa Rica.
Dr. Jerry C. Lee was National University’s second president from 1989 until 2007. During his tenure, the number and locations of the university's campuses were restructured, the university’s finances were stabilized and strengthened, National’s academic programs were further enhanced and reviewed by outside specialized accrediting bodies for quality and rigor, and affiliate educational institutions were added to the university.
A tiered faculty structure model was developed in 1991. Also in 1991, National University's School of Law was dissolved.
In 1996, the academic and administrative headquarters was moved from Mission Valley to La Jolla. Also in 1996, online classes and academic degree programs became available. In 2000, there were over 17,000 students enrolled.
In 2001, the Board of Trustees established the National University System and Lee was appointed Chancellor. The National University System is a multi-tiered alliance of individual educational and research institutions with each of its respective leaders (including the National University president) reporting to the chancellor. Dr. Dana Gibson, was appointed as National's third president in 2007 and Lee became President Emeritus. In 2009, Gibson left National and Patricia E. Potter served as Interim President. Michael R. Cunningham became President on July 1, 2013.
As of 2010 National had over 26,000 enrolled students with over 130 undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs and 23 teacher credential programs at 28 campuses in California and one in Henderson, Nevada, with over 70 academic programs offered online. National University is the second-largest private, non-profit institution of higher education in California and the 12th largest private, non-profit in the United States. National University, in 2011-12, had its 40th anniversary with an endowment of over $400 million and real estate property valued at over $145 million.
National University is organized into five schools and one college; the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering, Technology and Media; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies. The university offers over 130 undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as 23 teacher credential/certificate programs. Participating in online education since 1996, National University offers more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degree programs and over 1,500 courses online.
College of Letters and Sciences
National University’s College of Letters and Sciences provides the undergraduate general education courses to the students enrolled in all of the schools of National and the college itself offers liberal arts programs from bachelor’s degrees in biological science, history, and psychology to master’s degrees in applied linguistics, creative writing, English, film studies, gerontology, rhetoric, history, and strategic communications.
The School of Business and Management offers business degree programs on campuses and via online in an interactive learning environment. The school is composed of three departments and offers various bachelor's and master's degrees. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) program features a curriculum delivered exclusively through distance-learning technologies.
Accounting and Finance Department: Associate of Science, business administration, financial management, accountancy, business law, finance, financial management, professional golf management, project management, and economics.
Management and Marketing Department: Integrated marketing, management, business administration in Spanish, global management, and management information systems. Certificates can be earned in basic sales and marketing.
School of Education
National University’s School of Education offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, certificates, and education credentials in areas including teaching, school counseling, school psychology, special education, early childhood education, and school administration. National holds teaching contracts with 643 California school districts and approximately 70% of the 26,000 teachers in San Diego County earned their credentials at National University. Programs are offered on campus and online.
At the Henderson, Nevada campus, the School of Education offers Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree teacher licensure programs in elementary education, secondary math, and secondary English.
Computer Science and Information Systems Department: Associate of Arts, digital media design, computer science, information systems, information technology management, cyber security and information assurance, and management information systems.
Community Health Department: Associate of Science, health sciences with a Preliminary Single Subject Teaching Credential (California), healthcare administration, health and life science analytics, public health, and health informatics.
Health Sciences Department: Allied health, clinical laboratory science, radiation therapy, and clinical regulatory affairs.
Nursing Department: Nursing (general entry studies to LVN, BSN, and RN completion), nurse anesthesia, and a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP).
School of Professional Studies
The School of Professional Studies offers several graduate and undergraduate academic degree programs focusing on community improvement, law, criminal justice, public service, and continuing education programs.
Professional Studies Department: Associate of Science, digital journalism, pre-law studies, criminal justice administration, alternative dispute resolution, homeland security and emergency management, paralegal studies, bachelor's and master's degrees in public administration, and Master of Fine Arts programs in digital cinema and professional screenwriting.
Extended Learning Department: A variety of professional certificates and programs offered in education, paralegal specialists, engineering and technology, and healthcare.
National University is geographically dispersed, with its academic and administrative centers located in La Jolla, California. These centers include all administrative offices of the president, vice presidents, school deans and department chairs, financial aid, registrar, and admissions. From its administrative center, the university maintains more than 28 academic campuses throughout urban areas in California and one in Nevada. Campus locations include:
National University offers reduced tuition for classes on base for qualified military students and their dependents. Admission offices and Learning Centers are located on many U.S. military bases in the San Diego area and in Twentynine Palms which include:
Naval Air Station North Island Learning Center, San Diego
Naval Base Coronado Learning Center, San Diego
Naval Base San Diego Learning Center, San Diego
Naval Hospital Learning Center, San Diego
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Learning Center, San Diego
Fleet AntiSubmarine Warfare Training Center Learning Center, San Diego
Online Information Centers
Due to the growing number of online students, National University has been opening Online Information Centers to enable current and future students to update study schedules and receive other services normally available at a National campus. The centers are designed for online students with flexibility of online learning, but also prefer a personal student advisory service close to home.
Currently, National University Online Information Centers are located in:
The Board of Trustees of the National University System is the governing body vested with "supreme control" over National University. Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to the university as a whole. Among other responsibilities, the board elects the president, adopts an annual plan of financial operation, and establishes degrees to be awarded. Board oversight is also provided through its committee structure consisting of an Advisory Executive Committee, a Nominating Committee, an Investment Committee, an Audit Committee, the Committee on Academics, the Committee on Advancement, and the Committee on Resources. Day-to-day responsibility for administration of the university is delegated by the trustees to the president.
The Board of Trustees consists of 25 voting members. Two ex-officio members, the president of the university and the chancellor of the system, also have voting privileges. The Board meets three times a year in San Diego.
National University has an enrollment size that represents the second-largest private, non-profit institution of higher education in California. The average age of a NU student age is 32 and roughly 23,000 full-time undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled. Nine percent of the student body are in the military. National University ranks as one of the largest graduate student institutions of higher education in the United States with 18,946 students officially enrolled.
There are approximately 135,000 National University alumni in all 50 states and around the world.
National University is one of the "great colleges to work for" (Honor Roll) according to a 2010 survey of university professors and instructors in the United States by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The results in The Chronicle’s third annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 42,000 employees at 277 colleges and universities.
According to an annual report by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) released October 11, 2011, National University prepared more candidates for teaching credentials than any other university in California for the school year 2009-2010. Between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, 1,653 teachers earned their single-subject, multiple-subject, and education specialist teaching credentials through National University, accounting for ten percent of the statewide total. National University has led California in preparing credentialed teachers every year since 2000.
During the 2008-2009 academic year, National University conferred more master’s degrees in education to minority students – including Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans – than any other college or university in California.
For the 2009-2010 academic year, National University ranked 2nd nationally in granting master's degrees in education to Hispanic Americans, and 6th nationally in granting master's degrees in education to all minorities.
National University's endowment ranks among the top 200 largest in the nation, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers' 2008 survey of the leading 796 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
In 2008, three National University alumni received recognition as California Teacher of the Year by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
National University is the flagship institution of the National University System, which was established in 2001. In addition to National University, the affiliates of the non-profit National University System are:
Entities also in the National University System include the Center for Integrative Health, Center for Performance Psychology, and the National University System Institute for Policy Research. The System is governed by a Board of Trustees and is headquartered in La Jolla, California.