Forbes economist calls Centre “one of the finest schools in the U.S.”
January 6, 2012 By Michael Strysick, Director of Communications
economist Richard Vedder calls Centre “one of the finest schools
in the U.S.” Vedder says, “Its secret, I think, is an unrelenting,
laser-like focus on offering a superior experience for students.”
“Centre offers a first-rate education, and deeply cares about its students,” writes economist Richard Vedder in his recent “Innovations” blog entry, titled “The Kentucky Advantage,” for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“I have met with top college officials, including its excellent president John Roush, and in my role helping Forbes magazine rank colleges, have observed that Centre is one of the finest schools in the U.S.,” he adds. “Its secret, I think, is an unrelenting, laser-like focus on offering a superior experience for students.”
Vedder is director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, a Washington, D.C., think tank, and professor of economics at Ohio University. He is responsible for creating the methodology by which Forbes ranks America’s top colleges. This annual list of America’s best undergraduate institutions promotes itself as being distinct by focusing “on educational outcomes, not reputations,” as well as “quality of teaching, great career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt.”
Centre was ranked #34 by Forbes among all colleges and universities in the nation this year, and for the past three years has also been among the top five schools in the South, holding the #1 spot for two years in a row.
This ranking, Vedder points out, puts Centre “above such famous Ivy League universities as Columbia, Cornell, or the University of Pennsylvania.” Vedder concludes, “If the Forbes rankings are about right, the qualitative difference between Centre and Dartmouth colleges is trivial.”
Besides its “laser-like” attention to personal education, Vedder also cites Centre’s international focus by recognizing that “the vast majority of students study abroad.” Over the last decade, an average 85 percent of Centre graduates studied abroad at least once, and 25 percent studied abroad two or more times. Vedder also recognized how the world comes to Centre through programming at the College’s Norton Center for the Arts, which puts “serious dollars into bringing in talent from the outside, including a performing-artist series that puts the one at my much larger university (Ohio University) to shame.”
In addition to hosting its second Vice Presidential Debate on Oct. 11, 2012, the Norton Center has hosted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Twyla Tharp, and musicals such as “Rent,” “Titanic” and “My Fair Lady.”
Vedder’s focus on what he calls “The Kentucky Advantage” gives credit to Berea College as well. After citing national per capita income rates that characterize Kentucky as a poor state, Vedder suggests that by the same measure the Bluegrass State offers several educational gems that far outshine what one normally expects from states like Massachusetts, California and Virginia.
Vedder ends his article by returning to the value proposition that informs the Forbes rankings: quality. “Walking around the rich private schools (I did so recently at Princeton and Dartmouth),” Vedders writes, “the places exude wealth. That is not the case at Berea and Centre, yet when one looks at the ‘bottom line’ — the quality of the educational experience, they do remarkably well.
Ultimately, he writes, “The nation could learn a lot by looking at ‘best practices’ at these fine Kentucky schools.”
The full article can be found here.
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Centre College, founded in 1819 and chosen to host its second Vice Presidential Debate in 2012, is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges, at 42nd in the nation, and ranks 27th for best value among national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 34th among all the nation’s colleges and universities and has named Centre in the top five among all institutions of higher education in the South for three years in a row. Centre is also ranked #4 in the nation by U.S. News for its study abroad program. For more, click here.