For the fifth consecutive year, the University of Indianapolis has been recognized as a College of Distinction, according to UIndy 360. Colleges of Distinction works as a resource to help guide students, parents and guidance counselors in finding the right university or college for them, according to Colleges of Distinction’s Fact Sheet.
Colleges of Distinction assesses universities and colleges on a different set of criteria with their four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes, according to the Fact Sheet. Colleges of Distinction use these criteria because they believe those are the fundamental elements of an effective undergraduate education, according to the Fact Sheet. To be considered as one of the institutions to receive the award, the university has to be nominated by someone, according to Interim Vice President and Provost Mary Beth Bagg. Nominations can come from a student at the institution, an alumni of the university or someone who knows the university and thinks they should be looked at for consideration for the award, Bagg said.
“… It’s not sort of an automatic thing; they actually then look at us and look at the kinds of
things that are offered and then there’s an assessment made on that,” Bagg said.
According to Bagg, this is a different way of evaluating the value of an institution beyond raw numbers and other metrics used by other ranking systems. She said the value of Colleges of Distinction is that it looks at the types of things that attract students to an institution beyond the numbers. When talking to prospective students, Bagg said, she always tells them that a critical piece when looking at which college or university is right for them is to figure out what is most important to them in terms of how they will fit into a place and what the university offers that makes it feel like the right fit.
“It’s really hard to say what makes it a good fit for an individual; that’s really something you have to figure out and you have to decide, what do you want out of your college experience and what are the things you’re looking for,” Bagg said.
Receiving the recognition as a College of Distinction, Bagg said, shows that the university is consistent with
“It isn’t just sort of a one-year blip on the radar but something that demonstrates that year after year, we are the kind of place that continues to offer those engagement pieces that are really the hallmark of who we are as a university,” Bagg said.
She said that students also recognize these opportunities with responses from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) sent out every year to freshmen and seniors. Students are invited to participate in the survey asking them about student engagement. This allows the university to see the progression between a student’s freshman year to their senior year. The survey asks students about engagement or high-impact practices, such as clinicals, study abroad experiences and field experiences offered. These areas, along with a culminating senior experience benchmarks UIndy against other universities like it and universities in the region scoring high in those areas, Bagg said.
“That’s another way that we can say that this recognition by the Colleges of Distinction is underscored by other things that tell us that we’re doing the kinds of things that students value as an institution,” Bagg said.