Emory & Henry College has been named the top liberal arts institution in Virginia by the Washington Monthly, whose rankings have gained notoriety this year with the help of President Obama.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Monthly has ranked Emory & Henry among the top 50 national liberal arts institutions. Ranked at 45, Emory & Henry is also one of only two Virginia institutions in the top 100 on the list. Washington & Lee University in Lexington is ranked 46.
The Washington Monthly rankings have taken on greater importance this year in the wake of President Obama’s call for better higher education ranking systems. Obama advocates for a system that ranks institutions based on value and performance. The Washington Monthly rankings have been widely seen as doing just that.
A Washington Post article published Tuesday, Aug. 26, points out how the Monthly has argued for years that conventional measures of college prestige are far less important than what colleges do for the country.
In the Post article, Paul Glastris, the Monthly’s editor in chief, said he was pleased that President Obama seems to be endorsing measures of college quality based on institutions’ abilities to change lives and improve society. “It doesn’t happen every day that an administration does exactly what you want,” Glastris said.
The Washington Monthly rankings place high value on an institution’s promotion of upward social mobility, research and public service as well as other metrics, such as graduation rate and quality of faculty.
“Emory & Henry has throughout its history believed in higher education that not only transforms students, but also transforms the communities in which they live and work,” said Jake Schrum, president of the College. “Emory & Henry is a top national liberal arts college because it puts into practice our belief that the liberal arts are an indispensible foundation for the advancement of our nation and its democratic ideals.”
In addition to a ranking for top liberal arts colleges, the Washington Monthly rankings also include a list of the top 100 national universities. Virginia schools mentioned in that ranking are Virginia Tech, 40th, and the University of Virginia, 51st.