LIBERTY, Mo. (BP)–William Jewell College has been named liberal arts “College of the Year” by Time magazine.
In its Sept. 10 edition, Time rated the Liberty, Mo., college as its top pick in its liberal arts categories. The other categories were master college, research university and community college.
William Jewell, with about 1,200 students, is dually aligned with the Missouri Baptist Convention and American Baptist Churches U.S.A.
As opposed to other college rankings in such areas as percentage of faculty with Ph.D.s and the SAT scores of incoming freshmen, Time describes its focus as “exemplars — schools that have taken laudable steps to improve their undergraduate education.” This year’s Colleges of the Year feature recognizes institutions “with highly effective programs to help first-year students make a successful transition into college life.”
The Time article notes that Jewell’s retention rates have risen from 72 percent to 86 percent since the college’s orientation program incorporating peer student mentors was instituted four years ago.
An advisory board of higher education experts provided counsel to the magazine’s staff in selecting this year’s best colleges.
“It would be tough for a freshman to slip through the cracks at William Jewell College,” writes Time reporter Rebecca Winters, who visited the campus from Aug. 23-25. “That’s because this 1,400-student Baptist liberal-arts school in Liberty, Mo., has caulked up every crevice where a newcomer might stumble.”
Winters notes that the college’s mentor program reaches out to incoming students in the spring before their freshman year, and that its “introductory freshman seminar has all the first-year students highlighting their copies of St. Augustine’s Confessions on the same night.” Newcomers are assigned as many as five contacts during their first months on campus, including two faculty members and three students.
Eisele is William Jewell College’s director of communications.