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Middle States Report Highlights

Report of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Between March 22 and 25, 2009, as part of a required re-accreditation process, an evaluation team including administrators from St. Lawrence University, Vassar College, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Hamilton College, Grinnell College, and other highly selective colleges spent four days on campus studying all aspects of Ursinus College, from curriculum, to outcomes, to policies to finances. They held open forums and also interviewed students, faculty, administrators, staff, and trustees. Here are some of their observations:

"Ursinus has a culture that says: 'We want to do the things that most impact the liberal learning achievement of students that others, less focused and determined, have failed to do and sustain.'"

"All of the 2009 visiting team members agree that Ursinus faculty, leaders, staff, students, and trustees are more on the same page with regard to what should be happening and what is happening to support student achievement than at any other campus any of us knows."

"There are high levels of communication and trust among faculty, college leaders, students, staff, and trustees on everything that concerns enhancing student liberal learning achievement."

"The Ursinus of old, known for preparing physicians and scientists and for pre-professional education, is now a national leader in its commitment to the high impact practices that facilitate deep and long lasting learning by students in the liberal arts."

"Ursinus is truly inspiring. One comes away with a renewed appreciation of what is possible in liberal education and sees a level of student satisfaction with it all that is heartwarming. We are deeply impressed with this remarkable college."

"We were very impressed by the consensus among students that the campus offers a rich and sustaining social and cultural life...one constant refrain we heard was that Ursinus feels like a family."

“The college is to be commended not only for the introduction of a freshman core course that excited both students and faculty, but for sustaining and developing this challenging course over a ten-year period."

"Also striking is the remarkable transformation of the physical campus. New construction and renovations of existing facilities have been accomplished at a very high level of thoughtfulness and quality all across the campus and the exterior building and landscape aesthetics that have been achieved are wonderfully pleasing."

"Programs and activities afford students the opportunity to integrate their education with practical experience. We commend the very strong connections between the curriculum and the co-curricular lives of students."

"Ursinus’ strong ethos of service and engagement beyond the immediate campus community was evident throughout our campus visit; it is clearly one of its defining characteristics. The ILE (Independent Learning Experience), required of all students, is a major lever to assure that students move toward independence in their undergraduate years."

"The team was struck again and again by the extent to which the entire Ursinus community shares fully in a common vision with student achievement at the center."

"Ursinus feels like a family—comfortable and caring."

"Ursinus….truly spans the breadth of the liberal arts."

"The combination of curricular changes and the focus on student achievement over the past ten years has transformed the undergraduate experience at Ursinus."

"Ursinus’ strong ethos of service and engagement beyond the…campus…is clearly one of [the college's] defining characteristics."

"The visiting team…extends warm congratulations to all in the Ursinus community for a decade of transformation and increased excellence in liberal education…and…by the extent to which the entire Ursinus community shares fully in a common vision with student achievement at the center."

"Bravo, Ursinus!"