The Wall Street Journal, along with Times Higher Education, has released its 2017 rankings of universities and colleges, and Dordt College was named the no. 1 school in the country in student engagement.
According to the WSJ, “decades of research has found that the best way to truly understand teaching quality at an institution—how well it manages to inform, inspire, and challenge its students—is through capturing what is known as ‘student engagement.’”
Measuring engagement with learning, the WSJ examined four key questions: 1) to what extent does the college support critical thinking, 2) to what extent does the teaching support reflection upon, or making connections among the things the student has learned, 3) to what extent does the teaching support applying the student’s learning to the real world, and 4) to what extent did the classes taken in college challenge the student.
The WSJ also looked at the opportunities for students to interact with faculty and for students to work collaboratively with other students. A final measure asked students how likely they were to recommend their college to friends or family.
While earning the nation’s top spot from the Wall Street Journal was unexpected, Dordt College President Erik Hoekstra said he is not surprised that the college would be recognized for student engagement.
“When we see how our students are performing on national tests—like the ETS proficiency test—and how employers seek our students out following graduation, we know how well students are engaging in their studies,” said Hoekstra. “Our students’ scores and career outcomes paint a clear picture of how much students are learning and how they are able to apply their knowledge.”
Dordt College’s ETS scores show four times the growth of the national average, and score in the 96th percentile (https://www.dordt.edu/article/putting-number-student-growth). Additionally, 99.6 percent of graduating seniors have found jobs or entered graduate school within six months of graduation.
The top five performers on the WSJ’s engagement ranking are all religious institutions.
“Christ is the center of everything that we do at Dordt College,” said Hoekstra. “Students and faculty do their work in service to the Lord. Faculty know the students sitting in their classrooms and visiting them in their offices are image bearers of God. It is because of our deeply held Christian beliefs that we work diligently and for the glory of God.”
Rankings were created based on the first annual Times Higher Education U.S. Student Survey (consisting of 100,000 student responses) and the Academic Reputation Survey, data from IPEDs (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System), and the College Scorecard.
As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, the mission of Dordt College is to equip students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.
The college continues to find new ways to engage students and is in the early stages of creating a new two-year professional and technical program, Pro-Tech, that will give students a full college experience while getting hands-on vocational training for middle skills professions. Learn more about the program at www.dordt.edu/pro-tech.
Dordt has also recently been named to Best Colleges lists by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes.com, and Princeton Review. Money Magazine named Dordt to its list of Best Colleges for Your Money, and Washington Monthly called Dordt a Best Bang for the Buck. Learn more about Dordt College at www.dordt.edu.