Augustana Ranked No. 6 in the Nation by Washington Monthly

Augustana is ranked the No. 6 baccalaureate college in the nation, according to a recent report from Washington Monthly. The publication’s 2010 College Ranking rates 309 baccalaureate institutions according to their contribution to the public good in three areas – social mobility: recruiting and graduating low-income students; research: producing cutting-edge scholars and PhDs and service: encouraging students to give something back to their country.

“We’re proud and humbled by the latest ranking from Washington Monthly,” said Rob Oliver, president of the College. “At Augustana, our job is to celebrate, preserve and channel the contagious curiosity, wealth of ideas and hunger for knowledge our students bring to campus each and every day. We’re committed to providing an education that challenges their intellect, fosters integrity and integrates faith with public service. It’s because of the education we provide, our students tell us, that they develop an intense desire to make the world a better place. We’re proud to be part of that process.

The report’s introduction, “A Different Kind of College Ranking,” points to a renewed desire among college students to serve. Applications to the Peace Corps jumped 18 percent in 2009. The number of students vying for Teach for America slots increased from 18,000 in 2007 to 46,000 this year.

“Many colleges … have long been more inclined to spend energy and resources on encouraging students to give back to their communities and their nation,” the report says.

Service Learning
At Augustana, students participate in Service-Learning programs designed to integrate community service and civic engagement with academic study. Augustana faculty members work hand-in-hand with representatives from community agencies to develop service-learning projects that will meet community-identified needs.

A recent example is the student-run Augie Garden, a rectangular cornucopia of green, red, orange and yellow vegetables just behind Augustana’s “Green” theme house. In its second season, the Augie Garden is a robust place, alive with dill, tomatoes, potatoes, summer squash, spinach, lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, peas, carrots, cucumbers and more. Currently, six students tend to the garden and harvest the produce, which is donated weekly to The Banquet, a non-profit agency that serves meals and provides food to people in need in Sioux Falls.

Scientific Breakthroughs
This summer, 59 Augustana undergraduate students participated in scientific and medical research projects on- and off-campus, the second highest number of student researchers in the college’s history.

Rachel Hurley, a senior majoring in Chemistry and Biology, is one example.

Hurley, a native of Canton, S.D., was one of 65 students selected from more than 1,100 applicants to participate in Mayo Clinic’s summer research initiatives. She’s spent the summer in Rochester, Minn., researching therapeutic efficiencies for the treatment of non-follicular thyroid cancer alongside a faculty member from Mayo’s Bio-Chemistry Department.

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations