This week, Converse College received national recognition for fulfilling its mission to develop engaged citizens who affect positive change in the world. On Monday, Washington Monthly released its annual ranking of colleges based on “their contribution to the public good,” with Converse as the highest ranked master’s university in South Carolina. Converse was ranked #43 out of 553 colleges nationwide in this category, a significant jump ahead of its #127 ranking last year, placing the College among the top 10% in the nation.
Criteria for the rankings include:
- Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students),
- Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and sending undergraduates on to attain PhDs), and
- Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).
“We all benefit when colleges produce groundbreaking research that drives economic growth, when they offer students from low-income families the path to a better life, and when they shape the character of future leaders,” says Washington Monthly of its ranking criteria.
“We all benefit when colleges produce groundbreaking research that drives economic growth, when they offer students from low-income families the path to a better life, and when they shape the character of future leaders”
The criteria align well with Converse’s strengths and strategic priorities. “Our mission is to produce engaged citizens who affect positive change in the world,” said Converse President Betsy Fleming. “We prioritize making Converse accessible to all capable young women, and that commitment is reflected in this year’s incoming class. 15% of these women are first-generation college students and 45% are eligible for Pell Grants. They are high academic achievers as well, with 4 valedictorians among them, an average GPA of 3.8 and middle SAT range of 1000-1180.”
“Converse also has an uncommon and very favorable 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio that enables us to involve students more deeply in research, leadership and service. For the last four years, our faculty and students have been awarded more research funding from South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities than any other institution in the state. Half of the Class of 2011 participated in independent research or creative projects at Converse, and more than half participated in leadership and service opportunities. Last year alone, our faculty, staff and students contributed a total of 10,650 hours of service. These distinctions set the Converse experience apart and helped attract our largest incoming class in more than a decade this year.”
Institutions are ranked by Washington Monthly in four categories: national universities, liberal arts colleges, master’s universities, baccalaureate colleges. Eight South Carolina institutions are included in the master’s universities category. The magazine’s full story and rankings are available at http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/index.php
Earlier this month, Forbes ranked Converse in the top 20% of the nation for quality of teaching, career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt. Converse was named #1 in the nation by U.S.News & World Report in their 2011 “Great Schools at Great Prices” list, and #15 overall among regional universities in the South.