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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carleton named top liberal arts college for teaching by U.S. News and World Report

<rospective students, Carleton College is now the top liberal arts college for teaching, according to the 2011 edition of the U.S. and News and World Report’s annual ranking of colleges. 

While Carleton maintained the same spot as last year on the magazine’s overall ranking of liberal arts colleges at #8, the school led among liberal arts teaching for the first time, beating out Davidson and Grinnell who were tied for second place. 

Dean of the College Beverly Nagel was ecstatic but not surprised about the honor.
 “I knew our faculty was the best,” she said. “There’s always been a very strong culture here that takes teaching very seriously, something our faculty learns from day one. We continually refine what’s in the classroom.” 

The U.S. News based the list’s results upon a survey in which college presidents, provosts, and admission deans were asked to nominate up to 10 colleges they believed had faculty with an “unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching”. The magazine created separate lists national universities and liberal arts colleges. 

Nagel recounted a story that could help explain Carleton’s place at the top. While on a cruise to the Canadian Arctic, she met a professor from a similar elite, liberal arts school. When the professor discovered Nagel was from Carleton, he gushed over how much adoration he had for the school as a parent of a Carl and academic. The professor also mentioned how he always cited Carleton as the institution the school’s faculty should to aspire to be like when instructing during faculty training. 

The Dean of the College also cited the impact of the Pearlman Center for Learning and Teaching (LTC) and the unusually unanimous satisfaction of Carleton professors in student preparation, which nearly all other schools do not have. The LTC coordinates all sorts of programs that keep faculty aware of the latest ideas in curriculum and teaching methods from initial training to weekly programs during Common Hour. 

Assistant Professor of History David Tompkins has been through impressed by the school’s learning environment since joining Carleton’s faculty in 2008 after teaching at the University of Tennessee for three years. 

“At Carleton, both my scholarly research side and teaching side are valued,” he said. “At Tennessee, they didn’t care much about the teaching side. I’ve really enjoyed my time here also because the students always seemed to be engaged in learning, which makes teaching both fun and interesting.”

Dartmouth College, Miami University (of Ohio), Princeton University, University of Notre Dame, and the College of William and Mary, respectively, were top five schools ranked best national universities for undergraduate teaching. Williams College and the College of Wooster rounded out the top five for liberal arts colleges. Rivals Macalester and Saint Olaf finished seventh and tied for ninth, respectively.

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