Today (Nov. 17), the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a new classification system for institutions of higher education. The original system, created more than 30 years ago, provided a classification of institutions for the purpose of higher education research. The foundation had previously adjusted the categories several times to reflect changes in education, but this is the most comprehensive revision of the system to date.
The new classifications describe five aspects of colleges and universities: instructional programs, enrollment profile, undergraduate demographics, size, and setting. Undergraduate instructional programs are now designated as Arts & Sciences Focus, Arts & Sciences plus Professions, Balanced Arts & Sciences and Professions, Professions plus Arts & Sciences, or Professions Focus.
Gustavus Adolphus College’s classification is Arts & Sciences plus Professions, indicating that 60 to 80 percent of Gustavus students complete a traditional liberal arts major such as political science, classics, or biology. This category, along with the designations small (under 3,000 students), exclusively undergraduate (no graduate students), four-year, highly residential, selective, and low transfer rate, complete the foundation’s profile of Gustavus.
“This new classification recognizes Gustavus’ strong commitment to the traditional liberal arts. We hold the conviction that the future belongs to those who are liberally educated,” said Mariangela Maguire, interim academic dean at Gustavus.
“All of our students, including those in professional programs, examine questions of meaning and value. They gain a deeper understanding of themselves and others, an appreciation for tradition, and a sense of their place in the larger world.”
The earlier classification didn’t recognize that colleges such as Gustavus also offer professional programs, such as nursing and education, that are taught from a liberal arts perspective. “A Gustavus degree prepares students to enter professions as well as professional and graduate programs,” Maguire added. Approximately 35 percent of graduates immediately enter graduate school, and more than 80 percent report pursuing advanced degrees.
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