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WITC ranked 6th best two-year college in the nation

WITC has recently been recognized by Washington Monthly as sixth among two-year colleges in the nation.

(8/25/2010) The halls of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College’s four campuses are again filling with students for the start of fall semester and a study by Washington Monthly has proven they have made the right choice. The publication ranks WITC sixth among two-year colleges nationwide.

Kevin Carey, a research and policy manager at Education Sector, an independent, nonpartisan think tank, compiled the results for Washington Monthly. According to Carey, “When it comes to quality of instruction, they outperform not only their two-year peers, but many elite four-year research universities as well. Students at the top community colleges are more likely than their research university peers to get prompt feedback from instructors, work with other students on projects in class, make class presentations, and contribute to class discussions.”

In 2007, Washington Monthly combined results from a nonprofit organization called the Community College Survey of Student Engagement with graduation rates published by the U.S. Department of Education to create the first-ever list of America’s best community/technical colleges – which ranked WITC 7th. This year the list was updated with all-new CCSSE data ranking more than 650 community/technical colleges nationwide in order to identify the 50 best community/technical colleges of 2010.

Bob Meyer, WITC President, states that the Board, Administration, and Staff are extremely proud of and pleased with the ranking. 

“Three years ago, the College was ranked seventh best and the movement up in the rankings is confirmation that the College’s strategic plan and continuous improvement activities are making a difference for our students,” Meyer said. “These results show how incredibly committed WITC’s entire staff is to making the students’ experience at WITC outstanding and rewarding.” 

CCSSE combines the results of those questions into aggregate “benchmark” scores in five categories: “Active and Collaborative Learning,” “Student Effort,” “Academic Challenge,” “Student-Faculty Interaction,” and “Support for Learners.” The benchmark scores are standardized to range from 0 to 100 with an average score of 50. Carey’s research based 85 percent of the college ratings on these CCSSE benchmarks. The remaining 15 percent of each college’s ranking is based on graduation rates submitted by colleges to the U.S. Department of Education.

WITC’s highest CCSSE scores were reflected in the “Active and Collaborative Learning” category. The WITC benchmark for “Academic Challenge” was also quite high.

“WITC is a wonderful place to study - and I speak from the academic perspective as well as the experience of being a member of several student organizations,” said accounting student Sarah Hamner.  “The instructors, faculty and staff work hard to help all students achieve their personal and professional goals.  The student organizations helped to round off my overall college experience, reminding me that there is always the opportunity for fun to balance the seriousness of studying.”

Jennifer Kunselman, WITC Research and Planning Coordinator, said the study supports WITC’s recent graduate follow-up survey. Ninety-eight percent of the graduates were satisfied with the training they received at WITC and that they would recommend WITC to a friend or family member.

“These results show how incredibly committed WITC’s entire staff is to making the students’ experience at WITC outstanding and rewarding,” said Meyer.  “Eighty-five percent of last year’s graduates were employed within six months of graduating. In a challenging economic climate, this placement rate validates the value of the technical education opportunities offered by the College.  In addition, 84 percent of WITC’s graduates are working in Wisconsin and 72 percent are working in WITC’s district. All of these facts taken together demonstrate the value WITC brings to the citizens and the economy of Northwest Wisconsin.”

Follow the link to see the entire Washington Monthly Community/Technical College rankings: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/rankings_2010/community_colleges.php