WITC ranked 6th best two-year college 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
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