Denison University, nationally acknowledged for the deep value of its prestigious academics, the strength of its mentorship, and warmth of its community, has been recognized for its exceptional education by U.S. News & World Report. This year, Denison jumped forward five places in the publication’s ranking of national liberal arts colleges to No. 46.
“Denison’s strategic plan, which emphasizes expanding academic and global programs, enhancing student mentorship, re-imagining career exploration through the Austin E. Knowlton Center, deepening our work across the arts, and co-curricular innovation, is clearly propelling the college forward,” said Denison University President Adam Weinberg. “We are thrilled that others are acknowledging the fine work of our faculty and staff.”
Building on a foundation of rigorous academics and exceptional faculty, the college recently has made a number of astute changes. Several academic programs have been added to the curriculum, including majors in Global Commerce, Data Analytics, and Health, Exercise and Sport Studies, as well as concentrations in Financial Economics and Narrative Nonfiction. Global programs have been expanded. Today, 80 percent of Denison students have a study abroad or off-campus experience during their undergraduate years.
Relationships are a cornerstone of a Denison education. Gallup polls show that mentorship in college has a high correlation to success after graduation. At Denison, 92 percent of students report forming a close relationship with a faculty or staff member. Faculty, coaches and other mentors challenge and nurture students, and help them develop confidence, ability, and persistence.
President Weinberg’s vision for the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Career Exploration has been recognized by the National Association of Colleges and Employers with its inaugural 2017 Career Services Champion Award. Denison’s career coaches help students determine the kind of lives they want to lead and the careers and professions that best align with that vision.
The Knowlton Center has a robust internship program, which includes stipends to allow students from all economic backgrounds to take advantage of unpaid opportunities. The Center is leveraging Denison’s powerful and engaged alumni network, helping students find alumni coaches and mentors who can onboard them into careers. This includes a new program, Denison Connecting, which supports students post-graduation. The Knowlton Center also has developed a program called OnBoard that offers 60 online modules to help students with profession-specific skills and knowledge. Five years post-graduation, 94 percent of alumni are satisfied with how well Denison prepared them for professional success after college.
Denison also is building on long-standing strengths across the arts. The college’s new Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts will be home to the departments of dance, music, and theatre. It will house state-of-the-art stages and rehearsal spaces, numerous classrooms and offices, as well as open spaces especially configured to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. Denison is the place for students who want to take part in a first-class arts program as well as an outstanding liberal arts education.
In addition to impacting U.S. News rankings, these changes also have led to record breaking applications. Applications are up 54 percent over the last three years. Last year, early decision applications were up 56 percent.
“While we are happy with this recognition of the exceptional education that Denison provides for its students, we also have to state that no ranking can fully encompass just how special a place Denison is,” said Weinberg. “We have fantastic students, an incredibly engaged faculty, and a campus filled with talented and committed staff. The relationships that form at Denison have a way of unlocking the potential of students to imagine and lead great lives. I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a Denisonian.”