For the 26th consecutive year, Heidelberg University is highly ranked among the top colleges and universities in U.S. News & World Report’s annual national survey. University officials say the rankings prove that Heidelberg’s 164-year tradition of excellence is as strong as ever – and rising.The U.S. News 2014 America’s Best Colleges report, released today, uses a set of criteria, including peer assessment, retention and graduation rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, alumni giving and financial resources, in ranking colleges and universities. The survey provides a thorough examination of how more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools compare on a set of 16 indicators related to academic excellence.
“We are pleased to receive positive external validation based on indicators associated with academic excellence,” said Doug Kellar, vice president for enrollment management at Heidelberg. “The elements that make the Heidelberg experience excellent far exceed the criteria used by U.S. News, but the magazine’s criteria are positive indicators related to the strength and the quality of the institution.”
This year, Heidelberg was ranked in the top tier in the Midwestern Universities category, which includes institutions that offer a full range of undergraduate programs and several graduate programs.
Heidelberg can point to several initiatives completed in the past four years that have had an immediate impact on student learning and success, In addition to five major new or renovated facilities, the university has added new majors and enhanced programs in areas such as freshman advising and academic and career support. Momentum continues to build, according to President Robert H. Huntington.
“Heidelberg has a great tradition of advancing the liberal arts and professional education, and the university continues to make strides toward this central purpose,” Huntington said. “Our goal is to help students prepare for great lives, worthy careers and jobs.
“Academically, we concentrate on deepening and broadening student learning in terms of critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, communication skills and learning to learn.”
Huntington added that the continued high marks from U.S. News underscore Heidelberg’s commitment to become better, bigger, stronger and smarter.
To that end, an aggressive Strategic Action Plan serves as a roadmap for transformation, improvement and growth. In addition to the already completed initiatives, the plan calls for completion of an athletic stadium and alumni center at Mayer Field in the coming year and continued progress toward a comprehensive and transformational $75 million Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence.
“Collectively, our progress proves that we continue to add value to a Heidelberg education,” Huntington said. “Our resolve is stronger than ever to provide an excellent academic and a personally enriching experience for each of our students,” he said. “This commitment motivates us daily.”
Many families use the U.S. News survey as a tool in their college search process as they consider such criteria as cost, financial aid, curriculum, feel of campus life and geographic location. The nearly 450 colleges and universities in the “Regional Universities” category are ranked within four geographic regions and then divided into tiers.