Dordt ranks #2 for "Best Undergraduate Teaching" college in the Midwest

This ranking highlights faculty's commitment to teaching

Dordt University has been ranked the second-best regional college in the Midwest for undergraduate teaching, according to the 2021 U.S. News and World Report rankings. The "Best Undergraduate Teaching: Regional Colleges Midwest” ranking focuses on schools where faculty and administrators are committed to teaching undergraduate students in a high-quality manner. 

“There’s a passion for undergraduate students here, and it’s affirming to hear that others are noticing,” says Dr. Teresa Ter Haar, dean of curriculum and instruction at Dordt. “Especially these days when students have so many institutions they could choose from, to hear that Dordt is one of the top places to go to get an undergraduate education should speak volumes to the students.”

One of the ways Dordt is special is that faculty members come to Dordt because they specifically want to teach undergraduates, says Ter Haar.

“Often at a larger state school or research institution, the focus of the faculty can be divided. And that’s not to say our faculty aren’t interested in scholarship and research—they certainly are—but what’s wonderful is that our faculty take their research, scholarship, and community service and enfold it into the work they do with students,” she says.

Dr. Leah Zuidema, vice president for academic affairs at Dordt, says the Covid-19 pandemic has shown how resilient and innovative Dordt faculty are.

“Dordt University faculty show extraordinary creativity and care for our students, and that has become even more visible as we adapt instruction for safe face-to-face learning during Covid-19,” says Zuidema. “Faculty creativity is obvious in the ways that they work with the constraints of distancing and limited classroom capacity.”

For example, adds Zuidema, some who teach larger classes have designed lessons where half of the class attends in person and engages in a live discussion, while students attending remotely observe and then reflect on a discussion board about what they heard. Then, the next class period, students rotate and swap roles so all students have regular time for face-to-face learning, as well as for speaking, listening, reflection, and analysis.

“Professors’ care for students is remarkable, too. Every faculty member spent the summer preparing ‘flex’ online or remote activities for their courses so that whenever there are students who are in isolation or quarantine, they can continue with meaningful learning,” says Zuidema. “Faculty want to help students stay connected and involved, and they regularly go the extra mile to make that happen. They are great stewards of the opportunities that God has given us this semester for teaching and learning!”

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. For four years in a row, Dordt has been named number one in the nation for student engagement by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.