Denison University has been recognized for the extraordinary education it provides to its students by U.S. News & World Report. This year, Denison jumps forward three places in the publication’s ranking of national liberal arts colleges, to #43. All told, the college’s ranking has moved forward eight places in the past two years.
Denison University Vice President for Enrollment Management Greg Sneed said, “It is great to be recognized for Denison’s success, but it is important to realize that this is really just one metric for the work we do preparing our students for a lifetime of meaning and accomplishment.”
Denison University President Adam Weinberg noted, “We are offering students the kind of education that unlocks their potential to be the architects of their own lives. Our intent is not to prescribe a life for our students, but rather to immerse them in the liberal arts in ways that help them start to imagine the life they want to lead, and to equip them with the skills, values, habits, networks, and experiences to get started down the path of building that life.” He added. “Our students are reaping huge benefits from our approach to education. I am proud of the work we are doing at Denison.”
Now in its third year of implementation, Denison’s strategic plan is expanding academic and global programs, enhancing student mentorship, and building a robust new model for career exploration through the Austin E. Knowlton Center. The college’s soon-to-open Eisner Center for the Performing Arts will provide deeper engagement across the arts, and the Denison Big Red athletic teams captured their 16th NCAC All Sports Trophy this past year.
Recent academic programs, anchored in the liberal arts, include Global Commerce, Data Analytics, Health, Exercise and Sport Studies, Financial Economics, Narrative Journalism, and Middle East & North African Studies. Global programs, including Denison Seminars, have been expanded. Today, 80 percent of Denison students have a study abroad or off-campus experience during their undergraduate years.
Denison is a college where relationships form the core of the educational experience. Faculty, coaches, staff and peer mentors challenge and nurture students, and help them develop confidence, ability and persistence. Students form lifelong friendships with fellow students and mentoring relationships with faculty. 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.
The Austin E. Knowlton Center for Career Exploration is disrupting the traditional college career office model. The center is built on seven signature programs that students benefit from throughout their four years at Denison. The focus is on closing the skills gaps, exposing students to a variety of professions, connecting them with alumni, using the winter and summer breaks for internships and externships, and supporting students after graduation as they launch. Five years post-graduation, 94 percent of alumni are satisfied with how well Denison prepared them for professional success after college.
The college’s new Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts will be home to the departments of dance, music and theatre. Building on long-standing strengths across the arts, students will access state-of-the-art stages and rehearsal spaces, numerous classrooms, studios, 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.
These strategic priorities are impacting admission as well. Applications to the college have increased — 64 percent over the past four years. In 2018, from a record-breaking pool of more than 8,000 applications, Denison offered admission to 2,700 students, resulting in the most selective year in Denison’s history, with an admission rate of 34 percent.
“Relationships are the key to a successful college experience. Denison students have access to world-class faculty who are caring mentors, and fantastic student peers. Talented staff direct and enhance co-curricular learning — as well as the really important learning that happens in residence halls,” said Weinberg. “While we are happy with U.S. News & World Report recognition of the exceptional education that Denison provides for its students, no ranking can fully encompass just how special a place Denison is,” said Weinberg. “I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a Denisonian.”