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PLU Earns Multiple, Major National Honors

PLU Earns Multiple, Major National Honors

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Joanna Royce-Davis, Vice President for Student Life at PLU, speaks as part of the First-Year Experience Program, which was cited in PLU's recent College of Distinction honor. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

Image: Joanna Royce-Davis, Vice President for Student Life at PLU, speaks as part of the First-Year Experience Program, which was cited in PLU’s recent College of Distinction honor. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

September 9, 2015

University Named a College of Distinction and Ranked No. 14 in the West

By Sandy Deneau Dunham
PLU Marketing & Communications

TACOMA, Wash. (Sept. 9, 2015)—The accolades continue to amass for Pacific Lutheran University, which has been honored as a College of Distinction for 2015-16 and ranked No. 14 in the West on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Regional Universities, released Sept. 9.

In addition to the No. 14 in the West honor, U.S. News & World Report also ranked PLU:

  • No. 7 in the West for Best Value;
  • One of the West’s “A+ Schools for B Students”; and
  • No. 13 in the West for veterans.

PLU has ranked among the top 20 Western region universities every year since U.S. News & World Report’s first annual “Best College” survey in 1983.

U.S. News & World Report’s rankings are based on academic reputation, retention, graduation rate, faculty resources (including class size), student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving rate. This year’s rankings show increases for PLU in the Best Regional and Best Value categories.

The College of Distinction honor is based on excellence in four categories: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant campus communities and successful outcomes.

“Your folks could be a poster child for our four distinctions,” said Wes Creel of Colleges of Distinction.

PLU also was named a “best practices leader” for its First-Year Experience Program (FYEP) and Living/Learning Communities and will be featured in Colleges of Distinction social-media and website content.

Other Recent PLU Distinctions

Earlier this year, PLU:

“This designation acknowledges how PLU’s culture of care and collaboration directly contributes to the connectedness of the FYEP and Residential Learning Communities experiences,” said Joanna Royce-Davis, Vice President for Student Life at PLU. “Both learning opportunities purposefully integrate course-based learning with intentionally positioned opportunities to make sense of learning in community.”

PLU also is included on the Washington Colleges of Distinction and the Christian Colleges of Distinction lists, and a profile of PLU is part of the 2015-16 Colleges of Distinction eGuidebook.

High-school college counselors and educators nominate colleges and universities for recognition by Colleges of Distinction, which then evaluates each institution based on qualitative and quantitative research. The colleges and universities are not ranked but instead are members of a consortium of other equally impressive schools.

“We focus on colleges that are deeply dedicated to students’ learning,” said Tyson Schritter, executive editor of Colleges of Distinction. “Schools designated as ‘Colleges of Distinction’ offer innovative learning experiences that educate, nurture and transform students.”

Colleges of Distinction says it looks beyond rankings and test scores to find colleges that are the ideal places to learn, grow and succeed. The selection process reviews such factors as the school’s first-year experience, general education program, experiential components of the curriculum, the strategic plan and alumni success and satisfaction.

At PLU, Royce-Davis said, all of those factors tie together—purposefully.

“The related engagement of faculty, staff and students that occurs at PLU is unusual in its scope and depth and is exemplified by the number of themed residential learning communities, such as the Creative Expression and Women’s Empowerment and Leadership residential learning communities, that also utilize linked courses to partner with students in their learning and success,” she said. “This engagement also is reflected in the presence of FYEP faculty across the first year, beginning with new student orientation and following through to other key points in the experience, including follow-up in the second semester and attention to student success as a whole.”