News & Events
MHC Ranked 21st in Washington Monthly Rankings
Mars Hill College has ranked 21st among baccalaureate colleges in the nation on rankings released today in Washington Monthly magazine. A total of 309 colleges were ranked under the baccalaureate grouping.
This is the second year that Washington Monthly has published its rankings as an alternative to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report rankings. Those rankings, it says, are based on the wrong measures of student success.
Mars Hill College has historically done well in the U.S. News rankings, last year ranking 29th among baccalaureate colleges in the South. It ranks even better in the Washington Monthly rankings, due in large part to its emphasis on service and the diversity of its student body.
According to www.washingtonmonthly.com, the Washington Monthly rankings are based on three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). Within those broad categories, each college receives points based on individual characteristics. Out of a possible 100 points, Mars Hill received a total score of 70.
In individual characteristic rankings, Mars Hill ranked highest for the number of bachelor’s recipients who go on to receive doctorates, relative to school size. Among baccalaureate colleges in the nation, Mars Hill ranked 19th in that category. The college also did well in the other characteristic measured under the research category, ranking 27th for the amount spent in total research expenditures.
In the service category, Mars Hill also excelled, ranking 24th among baccalaureate colleges in the nation on community service participation. Mars Hill ranked similarly well for characteristics like: the number of staff supporting community service, relative to the total number of staff; the number of academic courses that incorporate service, relative to school size; and whether the institution provides scholarships for community service.
Mars Hill’s culture of civil engagement may be one reason for the high ranking. With a historically Baptist heritage, the college emphasizes service throughout the curriculum and even has a division of the college, called LifeWorks, which is dedicated to making connections between service and learning.
Mars Hill also gets credit on the Washington Monthly rankings for putting a diverse student body on the road to opportunity. As of last year, just over 23 percent of students at Mars Hill were non-white minority students, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. By percentage then, Mars Hill College boasts the greatest diversity figures of any college in the region. Another unusually high number is Mars Hill’s percentage of first-generation students, which last year numbered around 51%.
Dr. Dan Lunsford, president of Mars Hill College, said he believes the Washington Monthly rankings are very valuable in helping students choose a college based on the total educational experience. “A small liberal arts college like Mars Hill really shines in those areas that are difficult to measure in traditional rankings,” he said. “For example, the personal attention a student receives at Mars Hill can make the difference in whether he or she excels, and then chooses to go on to graduate school. The service culture here on our campus provides an avenue to introduce students to new careers, or even new ways of thinking about their life’s purpose. It is important to remember that liberal arts education is a total package, and we believe that Mars Hill offers an atmosphere where students can receive the very best education, in an atmosphere of community and service to mankind.”
Mars Hill College was considered a baccalaureate college during the 2010-11 academic year, on which these rankings are based. As of this summer, Mars Hill added one master’s program, the Master of Education degree.