Washington Monthy Cover The Washington Monthly first started releasing rankings in 2005 in response to the annual “Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. Instead of asking the question, “What can college do for you?” the magazine asks, “What can college do for the country?” The purpose of the rankings is to highlight colleges that have a history of spending energy and resources on encouraging students to give back to the community and nation, not just themselves.

We’re grateful for this recognition,” said president Howard Keim. “This is a tribute to the fine work our faculty and staff do day in and day out to create a positive learning experience for our students.”

The rankings for the two-year college category are compiled from The Community College Survey of Student Engagement and graduation rates published by the Department of Education. The CCSSE measures the following benchmarks: active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction and support for learners. Hesston most recently conducted the survey in 2009. The results for all of the benchmarks improved from the 2007 survey to 2009. 663 institutions of varying size across 48 states with student populations as large as 15,000 or more participated in the 2009 CCSSE.

Hesston College’s Vice President of Aacademics Sandra Zerger is excited that the effort to raise the results from the 2007 survey to 2009 is paying off in a tangible way.

“Assessment isn’t viewed as a dirty word here,” Zerger said. “We conduct these surveys to highlight the areas that we are doing well in and to see where we need to make improvements. Then we find ways to improve in those areas.”

Zerger has consciously worked with the faculty to get away from the “sage on the stage” method of classroom teaching, focusing instead on collaborative and hands-on learning among students.

“Students learn more when they are able to process the information with each other, whether it is through collaborative projects or classroom discussion,” said Zerger.

The full Washington Monthly article and rankings can be found online at washingtonmonthly.com.

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