U.S. News recently released their rankings of colleges in the United States and WTAMU ranked number 72 out of 100 on the list of Regional Colleges in the West. The schools that made the list were graded on their academics, community, athletics, and other factors that potential students look for in a potential college choice.
“It’s great news anytime we’re on a top 100 list,” Dr. Neal Weaver, vice president for Institutional Development, said. “It sounds like a good list to be on, so certainly we’re going to be excited about that.”
WT scored high in many of the criteria used by U.S. News to decide these rankings including tuition rates, selective enrollment and academic programs. One of the best rankings for the school was the faculty and staff. The faculty and staff at WT are both experts in their fields as well as interested in the success of their students.
“I attribute a lot of that success to the passion of the WT faculty,” Kyler Steger, a senior Accounting major, said. “I think this emphasis on the relationship between the professors and their students has contributed to WT’s success. However, it is not just the professors that should be commended, but the deans, assistant deans and department heads as well.”
The intimate community the University boasts was also given credit for the ranking.
“I think we are in the top 100 because of the superior community at WTAMU,” Evan Gamble, a sophomore Psychology major, said. “The professors are high quality and genuinely care for their students and it really creates a great educational setting. On top of that, the community outside of the classroom is very personable and homey. WT is a family, of thousands.”
Over the past few years, the school has been working to improve the campus in many different ways.
“The institution has been doing a lot of things over the last five to six years to move us in this direction,” Weaver said. “When you think of things like the way the campus looks, the Pedestrian Mall, the new Residential Living buildings, and the Buffalo Sports Park, there are a lot of things that have been done to the aesthetics of the campus and to the quality of life of the campus, like the expansion of the Activity Center, all to make this a more comfortable place to be.”
Although there has been quite a bit of work done on the appearance of the campus, this is not the only way that the school has improved.
“Academically, we have aggressively gone after accreditation of every program that we can get accreditation in,” Weaver said. “We have increased the number of endowed faculty positions, we have grown scholarship support, we have grown our ability to attract and keep the very best faculty we can find.”
With retention rates lower than the administration would like to see, and the growth rate slower than desired, there is hope that making it into the top 100 West Regional Colleges is a step in the right direction.
“We have, for lack of a better term, attacked this issue on a number of different fronts,” Weaver said. “It’s really great to see that it’s being noticed and that we’re being recognized for some of the changes and advancements that we’ve made.”