Following a #28 national ranking this year for most innovative colleges by U.S. News & World Report, Centre College has recently earned two additional and similar distinctions.
The first came from College Consensus, which ranked Centre #17 in the nation, while the second, international in nature, came from Y-Axis, the world’s largest business-to-consumer (B2C) immigration firm, which ranked Centre #4 in the nation for innovation.
All three agree that Centre is constantly striving to strengthen the student learning experience through curricular, programmatic and physical improvements that are current and relevant.
The U.S. News ranking was determined by asking top-level academics to rate institutions they deemed are making “the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”
Those involved include college presidents, provosts and deans of admission.
“This ranking enables top college officials to pick schools that the public should be watching,” explained U.S. News, “because of cutting-edge changes the colleges are making on their campuses.”
For its part, College Consensus declared Centre “one of the best colleges for experiential learning in the nation.” The Centre Commitment, which guarantees a study abroad experience and internship or research opportunity, informed this recognition.
“I’ve long been a firm believer that Centre’s best days are yet to come,” said John A. Roush, now in his 21st year as president of the top-50 national liberal arts college currently celebrating its bicentennial.
“We cannot stand still as institution if we are to continue improving the educational experience for the young people who come our way,” Roush added, “and these rankings are confirmation that we’re headed in the right direction.”
Among many on-going efforts at Centre, the College recently completed a new Campus Master Plan and is now engaged in nearly $32 million worth of capital projects.
While a new 184-bed residence hall set for completion by August 2019 leads the list, other projects include renovation of Olin Hall—home to chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics—a project that complements the recent expansion of Young Hall, Centre’s other science facility.
Classroom and laboratory upgrades will take place in Young, as well as Crounse Hall, home to the social sciences and humanities. And a lighting retrofit project is already underway to help reduce the carbon footprint, through significant emission reductions, as well as increase campus safety.
Other projects included in the master plan involve the college library, the Norton Center for the Arts, a new greenhouse and several athletics projects.
But facilities innovations merely provide the means by which many new educational approaches and opportunities unfold.
The Centre faculty has undertaken a rigorous review of its general education curriculum that has the potential to bring greater flexibility to the College’s full and complete grounding in the liberal arts and sciences.
Kyle Anderson, the new director of the Center for Global Citizenship, is also looking at ways to expand the College’s already strong study abroad program, ranked #3 in the nation, by looking at new destinations across the globe, along with increased international internship experiences.
As part of its most recent reaffirmation of accreditation process, Centre’s faculty adopted a Quality Enhancement Plan (or QEP) called Creative Centre, which is devoted to enhancing a campus culture that values and practices creative thinking
The College’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) sponsors grants for experiments with new and innovative teaching practices, particularly with a focus on experiential and community-based learning.
Centre also recently joined the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), part of its focus on enhancing creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.
Complete information for the U.S. News most innovative national liberal arts colleges ranking is available here.
Complete information for the College Consensus most innovative colleges ranking is available here.
Complete information on the Y-Axis innovative college ranking is available here.
by Michael Strysick
January 31, 2019