It has been more than a decade since we launched the Wagner Plan, an innovative approach to the undergraduate curriculum that has become the College’s signature, our defining feature.
What the Wagner Plan does is to combine a broad-based liberal arts education with experiential learning. We’ve often referred to this blend as the “practical liberal arts.” In the years since it has been in place, the Wagner Plan has brought to us a group of students who participate in their education in an active, engaged way.
Accolades attesting to the Wagner Plan’s quality have been coming in strong, but especially during the past couple of years. Pick up the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guide, and you will find that Wagner is recognized as having four “Programs to Look For,” which are all fundamental components of the Wagner Plan. The magazine cites our first-year experience, internships, learning communities (which explore certain issues or problems through an interdisciplinary approach), and our service learning experience as among the best in the nation. The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) calls these areas “high-impact practices” that contribute to the overall quality of an education. Of the hundreds of schools that are ranked in U.S. News each year, only seven were mentioned in four or more categories of “Programs to Look For.” That is a gratifying recognition, and an affirmation of the curriculum that we’ve developed and the work that we do.
In this issue, Wagner Magazine takes you along with our students to show you the Wagner Plan in action, from internships at the Clinton Foundation, to a learning community studying the cosmos, to a study abroad program in Italy, and more. Reading their stories and seeing first hand how engaged they are in their work demonstrates to me that Wagner students will continue to be leaders in a rapidly changing world. And, there’s more.
While you’re reading about the Wagner Plan, please look at the sidebar story, “Liberally Educated, Professionally Prepared.” This piece describes a recent survey of employers conducted by the AAC&U. In this survey, they asked employers which skills they prized most in prospective employees, and what it takes to succeed. The results reveal that the goals and outcomes of the Wagner Plan are closely aligned with the attributes employers identified as most important to a successful career. In fact, 94 percent of the employers surveyed said that a liberal arts-based education is the most important curriculum for today’s students.
This is all good news for Wagner College and for the Wagner Plan.
When you are next on campus, I would invite you to speak with some of our students and hear what they have to say about their studies. I think you’ll be both pleased and proud.
About the Photo: Janet Henderson Bird '60 and Walter Baumhoff '59 stand in the doorway of Main Hall, ca. 1959.