Union College has once again been named among “America’s Best Colleges” in U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings. Coming in at number 48 in the Midwest regional colleges category, this is the tenth consecutive year Union has been recognized as a top-tier school.
“I’m always gratified to see recognition of the hard work and dedication of my colleagues, students and friends here at Union,” said Dr. Vinita Sauder, college president. “No data set is ever going to give you a complete picture of an educational experience, and a lot of what makes Union such a unique environment can’t be quantified with the statistics available to U.S. News. Finding mentors, finding your life’s calling, growing spiritually, and learning adaptability, problem solving and communication—these are central to what we call the ‘Union College experience,’ but can’t be readily quantified and compared … but we’ll take the compliment!”
Though ethnic diversity is not a factor in the U.S. News rankings, the magazine also published a list of the most diverse colleges in America. For the second year in a row, Union College was recognized as the most ethnically diverse campus in its category. The diversity statistic is all the more impressive because it excludes Union’s many international students, and any students who answer “other” are counted as white according to the U.S. News methodology. “Our students come from everywhere, and from every possible background, but they are united in purpose,” said Nadine Nelson, vice president for enrollment and student financial services. “Our diversity is a testimony to the friendly, welcoming environment students find when they visit—both at Union and throughout Lincoln.”
Published annually since 1983, U.S. News’ “America’s Best Colleges” is widely used by parents and students in the college selection process. Its methodology, particularly a reliance on measuring the quality of students a school attracts rather than the quality of its graduates, has long been controversial in higher education, and yet the rankings remains the most widely known and comprehensive direct comparison between American colleges and universities. U.S. News evaluated 1,376 colleges and universities for the 2016 edition, divided into 10 categories. Union College’s category is comprised of institutions located in the Midwest which grant fewer than 50 master’s degrees each year.
By Scott Cushman, director of digital communication