Centre College remains high atop the U.S. News & World Report annual list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, this year distinguishing itself in a variety of categories beyond the overall ranking itself.
Of particular note is recognition in the Most Innovative Colleges category, where Centre landed at #29 in the nation, an improvement of nine spots from the previous year.
This category focuses on original and inventive efforts being undertaken by America’s colleges and universities.
At Centre, recent initiatives include creation of CentreWorks, a new space for innovation and collaboration to develop an “entrepreneurial mindset” among Centre students and provide unprecedented opportunities to learn about business and community development in a hands-on, practical manner.
In addition, a new and comprehensive student success program called the Centre Learning Commons will be complete by December, and significant curricular changes that offer greater flexibility in the general education curriculum are being enjoyed by Centre students this fall.
Centre faculty also enjoyed accolades again this year, earning a #30 national ranking for Best Undergraduate Teaching, keeping company with colleagues at other notable institutions such as Washington & Lee, Davidson and Kenyon.
Centre President Milton Moreland described the rankings as affirmation of the College’s mission to prepare students “to be agile thinkers and adapt to changing circumstances.”
He attributes much of the honors for innovation and teaching on how Centre “challenges students to identify interesting problems and then ask probing questions about our world to seek meaningful explanations that will benefit their present and future communities.”
Many of Centre’s new innovative projects have been supported through the generosity of donors, and this year the College earned a #10 national ranking for its high percentage of alumni giving.
Long noted for one of the strongest study abroad programs in the nation, Centre also received a prominent spot as #24 among the country’s liberal arts colleges.
While international study has been curtailed due to the coronavirus, when travel restrictions are lifted, Centre students will be able to choose between faculty-led semester-long programs in Merida, Mexico; Strasbourg, France; and London, England. Options also include other destinations in England and Mexico, as well as programs in China, Japan, Northern Ireland and Spain.
Students also have numerous options across the globe during the three-week CentreTerm in January.
Study abroad courses already scheduled for 2022 include Global Environmental Health and Development taught in the Gambia, Ancient Math and Archaeology in Peru, Caribbean Ecology in Belize, the Art of Pilgrimage in Spain, London in Transition in England, and Happiness in the Land of Enlightenment in Bhutan.
Finally, Centre also earned high marks in the Best Value category, jumping nine spots to #27 in the nation. This category’s methodology focuses squarely on return-on-investment, with an emphasis less on affordability alone and more on the relative significance of academic quality in terms of cost.
Centre’s overall national ranking this year was #52, in a tie with Furman University.
Only six times in the entire history of the U.S. News ranking, dating back to 1983, has Centre been just out of the top 50. Over the last decade, the College’s highest ranking has been #42 in the nation, and since its inception, Centre has been ranked as high as #40.
by Michael Strysick
September 14, 2020