If you saw the 2015 edition of the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guidebook, you surely noticed that the accomplishments of Wagner College were celebrated in a number of the book’s pages.
Wagner, for example, was one of seven colleges to be cited at least four times in the guide’s “Focus on Student Success” section, which recognized our first-year experience, internships, learning communities, and service learning opportunities as among the best in the nation.
This recognition is especially significant because it is an acknowledgment not only from U.S. News, but also from our competitors. Inclusion in this part of the guidebook comes through a survey of college presidents, provosts, and enrollment officers nationwide. They decide which schools best fit these categories, look up the unique codes for the particular colleges and universities they are nominating, copy those codes, and enter them into the guidebook’s questionnaire. It takes a bit of time and effort, indicating that our colleagues feel strongly about our work in these areas.
“All of this … speaks to the role that Wagner plays as a leader and an innovator in higher education.”
You’ll also see that Wagner is prominently mentioned in the book’s main feature. The magazine discussed our emphasis on civic learning from the first year onward, and notes how we create learning communities that combine courses from different disciplines that are seemingly unrelated, but help our students approach and analyze real-life challenges. Wagner’s 2014 graduate Kellie Griffith, who is now teaching English on a Fulbright award in Ecuador, was quoted as an example of the success that the Wagner Plan can help our students achieve.
All of this, I would argue, speaks to the role that Wagner plays as a leader and an innovator in higher education. This is important because higher education is at a crossroads — or, as a friend of mine likes to say, at an inflection point.
As members of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Wagner faculty and administrators have been participating in some of the most interesting discussions that are now going on about higher education reform and innovation. AAC&U is essentially a think tank. It is important that we thoroughly understand how the landscape of higher education is changing under our feet if we are to truly thrive and not just survive. In the current environment, I believe even survival will be difficult for some institutions. At Wagner, we must be prepared for these changes in order to continue to prepare our students well.
You will read more about these challenges and changes in Wagner Magazine Editor Laura Barlament’s excellent story on the future trends in higher education.
Please come and visit campus in the new year. Much is happening here, as always, and I would enjoy the opportunity to say hello.