Washington Monthly ranked Goshen College second in the country in the
category “Top 100 National Baccalaureate Colleges,” which focuses on public service,
research and social mobility.
Annually released at the start of each school year, the Washington Monthly
rankings take into account other factors as well, including six-year graduation rate,
percentage of students receiving Pell Grants and percentage of first-generation students.
Goshen moved up a notch nationally, having place third a year ago in the same
category. The college retained its position as the top baccalaureate college in Indiana.
The already noted rankings by Washington Monthly look less at a college’s
“money and prestige” and more at service to the public good. Their college ranking
system highlights the institutions that enroll students with low income, tailor to adult
learners and “train the next generation of scientists and PhDs,” writes Kevin Carey, the
College Guide guest editor for Washington Monthly.
Justin Heinzekehr, director of institutional research and assessment, said it is a
significant validation of what GC is trying to accomplish.
“I really admire what Washington Monthly is doing because it really focuses the
conversation on what it needs to be when we think about higher education in general,”
Heinzekehr’s role at GC includes collecting data, reporting the data to the
Department of Education where it eventually becomes public information, and sending it
out to organizations or persons who request it.
Ken Newbold, interim president, was not surprised when he heard about the
“It is always meaningful to receive such validation for our outstanding programs,”
said Newbold. “The Washington Monthly rankings demonstrate our commitment to a
high quality rigorous academic program, robust student experience, increasing diversity
and serving others.”
Jo-Ann Brant, interim vice president of academic affairs and academic dean,
appreciated Washington Monthly’s criteria and ranking methodology.
“Goshen College graduates…tend to be focused on how they can serve the
community best, how can they bring their gifts to communities where people will benefit
from the work they do,” said Brant, adding, “It’s good to see a publication emphasizing
this other part of what we do.”
GC was also listed as one of Washington Monthly’s top 50 “Best Bang for the
Buck” colleges in the Midwest, receiving high marks for graduation rate, graduate
performance and repayment rank.
Washington Monthly’s annual College Guide is their answer to U.S. News &
World Report’s Best College Rankings and Lists, which, according to Washington
Monthly’s website, relies on “crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth,
exclusivity, and prestige.”
GC was ranked sixth best regional college in the Midwest according to the U.S
News report, one spot below College of the Ozarks, who was ranked one spot below GC
in the Washington Monthly rankings. Taylor University was ranked second best college
in the Midwest, according the U.S News and World Report rankings.
GC was also ranked above University of Evansville, Huntington University, and
Bethel College in Washington Monthly’s college guide. Other colleges who received top
ranking in a category were Stanford University (national universities), Berea College
(liberal arts colleges), SUNY- Geneseo (masters universities), and Golden Gate
University of San Francisco (best four-year colleges for adult learners).
While these rankings seem significant to GC’s administration, faculty, and staff,
do students feel the same way? Marie Bontrager, a senior, added her take about
Washington Monthly’s rankings.
“It makes me happy,” said Bontrager, adding that “it’s not the biggest deal to me
because I’m here already and I didn’t come because of any rankings. I came here
because I liked the college and what it stood for. With that said, I like knowing that I get
an education (at an institution) that is ranked relatively high within the nation.”
Newbold stated that GC’s enrollment has grown in each of the past three years
“which has brought greater diversity to our campus and enriched the academic and
student experience. This was done through the hard work of our admissions team, the
faculty, the coaches and many others. Rankings such as this recognize and affirm these
Bontrager also said, “It speaks to our professors and the rest of the staff. They put
time and effort into us and make sure we are ready to go out into the workforce.”
Despite the national rank, Goshen does not seem to be getting the local awareness
it has hoped for.
“Getting on these lists doesn’t translate into local recognition,” Brant said. “(You
can) still drive an hour away from here and there are people who don’t even know
Goshen is here. It’s a bit of a mystery how we can make these and not gain greater
attention or prominence in our own backyard.”
Brant said GC is “much more willing to take chances on students and see what
they can do.” At least according to Washington Monthly, GC is doing pretty well.