GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College’s innovative application of high-impact educational practices earned it honors as a 2016-2017 College of Distinction. The designation recognizes select schools for excellence in student-focused higher education.
Thiel students participate in study abroad experiences, service learning, student-faculty research, rigorous academic programs and internships that are available as soon as the second semester of their first year. These high-impact educational practices—along with the College’s 10:1 student-faculty ratio and 94 percent placement rate in graduate school or employment for 2014 and 2015 graduates—were among the benchmarks used to establish Thiel College as a College of Distinction.
“We’re so happy to award Thiel College for developing skills relevant to graduates’ lives,” said Tyson Schritter, executive editor for Colleges of Distinction. “High student engagement in college is one of the keys to a successful undergraduate education. With an increasing emphasis on hands-on learning techniques, Colleges of Distinction applauds Thiel College for practicing methodologies that prepare students for their futures.”
Colleges and universities must demonstrate results across four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes. High school counselors and educators nominate institutions, and each school is evaluated on key indicators including student engagement, student empowerment and curricular innovation. Colleges judged to be excellent in each of the four distinctions and that have demonstrated dedication to enriching student outcomes through creative learning opportunities are then invited to join Colleges of Distinction.
“Thiel’s selection as a College of Distinction is a testament to the institution’s dedicated faculty and staff,” incoming President Susan Traverso, Ph.D., said. “As I begin my presidency, I couldn’t be more proud of this honor Thiel has received. I look forward to working with the campus to continue the College’s commitment to student success.”
Traverso takes office at Thiel College on Aug. 1. Traverso was the provost and senior vice president at Elizabethtown College (Elizabethtown, Pa.). Her achievements at Elizabethtown align with the criteria the Colleges of Distinction program uses to select its recognized schools. Traverso’s student-centered strategies included creating an Office of Sponsored Research and Programs, developing the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and establishing the Center for Community and Civic Engagement. She also coordinated $60 million in campus improvements and advanced fundraising priorities that resulted in external funding of $20 million.
“Thiel College is thrilled to be chosen as a College of Distinction. Our liberal arts foundation, commitment to student outcomes and wide variety of academic offerings all were integral to our selection,” Vice President for Enrollment Management Stephen Lazowski said.
The annual process to select the nation’s Colleges of Distinction also includes a review of each school’s first-year experience, as well as its general education program, strategic plan, and alumni success and satisfaction measures.
“Colleges of Distinction is more than an annual ranking of colleges and universities. We only include colleges that offer every student a holistic and valuable experience,” Schritter said. “The Colleges of Distinction have earned solid reputations for serving their students and nurturing success. Like Thiel College, our member schools provide the affirming undergraduate experience every student deserves.”
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