Goshen College appears in the number eight spot – the top in Indiana – on Academic Influence‘s ranking of the best colleges and universities in the country by “Academic Stewardship,” a challenge to traditional college rankings that ranks schools based on how effectively they use their financial and human resources toward academic impact.
“It is an honor to be recognized as a college that excels in academic stewardship,” said Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. “Their formula of balancing financial resources with human resources, highlights the work that Goshen College does to provide academic excellence at an affordable price. We use our money wisely to support students, but our real strength is in our people. We have outstanding faculty who are supported by collaborative staff who keep students at the center of our work. This ranking recognizes the work of everyone on campus to support student learning and success.”
On their website, Academic Influence asks “What are the best colleges and universities if, instead of rewarding waste and extravagance, we reward schools for making the best use of their limited resources?”
Taking their cue from Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast series “The Myths of Meritocracy,” Academic Influence created the Academic Stewardship metric to reward schools for making the most of what they have. The new ranking lists 50 colleges and universities, all small colleges and universities who are doing the best with what they have. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) performed very well on this ranking.
“Schools that are exemplary in Academic Stewardship are doing everything in their power to help students and faculty achieve their full potential,” the Academic Influence website states. “Most college ranking companies…define ‘best’ in a way that devalues schools with smaller budgets and fewer students even when these schools do remarkable work in advancing their students’ education. By and large, college rankings penalize schools that serve under-served populations.”
How Academic Stewardship is measured
As a metric, Academic Stewardship is defined by a precise mathematical formula, which can be found in their Academic Stewardship white paper. Measuring Academic Stewardship requires measuring two forms of stewardship: 1) Stewardship of financial resources (using the money they have responsibility without waste) and 2) Stewardship of human resources (doing their best to help students, faculty and administration to flourish). Together, these two types of stewardship form what they call Academic Stewardship.