UMR Receives National Endorsement for Exceptional Student Support Initiatives

Authored By: dies0044 07/02/2020

College of Distinction CollageUniversity of Minnesota Rochester recognized for its honorable commitment to engaged, experiential education by Colleges of Distinction.

University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) has been recognized for its honorable commitment to engaged, experiential education by Colleges of Distinction, which is celebrating its 20-year anniversary as a one-of-a-kind guide for college-bound students. Colleges of Distinction boasts its longstanding support for student-centered schools that traditional rankings often overlook. As an institution whose primary goals are based on student success and satisfaction, UMR confirms its honor as one of the renowned Colleges of Distinction. 

While higher education has changed over the last 20 years, Colleges of Distinction’s selection process has stayed consistent—conducting in-depth research and detailed interviews with the schools themselves about each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan, student satisfaction, and more—and accepting only those that adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. Overlaid in the last few years have been a look into High-Impact Practices. This model prioritizes the opportunities institutions have for students that make for a fulfilling, individualized college experience.

“Each school is different, just as every student is different,” said Creel. “There is no number-one college for everyone, so we never rank those in our cohort.” University of Minnesota Rochester’s inclusion is informed by the unique ways it commits to achieving success.

Creel and his colleagues found that the most pervasive rankings systems rely on metrics like peer reputation, size of endowment, and alumni salaries. They knew instead that most critical to the student experience were the kinds of engaging experiences that are found at University of Minnesota Rochester: collaborative learning styles, first-year experience, JustASK centers, living learning communities, undergraduate research, capstone experiences and community collaboration. 

Creel continued, “It’s inspiring to see UMR commit to the learning styles and community involvement that will best allow their students to thrive.”