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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016


ID 2016 I)or .Ioues E5 (Dill/Jo Li!), Jim. Ill I?irj/l is I&xtrted.

The Connected neighborhood, says Michigan


State Provost June Youatt. This
is a big place, and these early
deliberate connections are really

Student Is An important.
The tactic is part of a strategy
developed over decades to weave
the university into the lives of
//

Engaged Student the studentsand vice versa.


Students also are often required
to go out into the community
TOP SCHOOLS
FOR ENGAGEMENT
The col:egas utli the hIghest
Schools that rank high in around East Lansing, where the
school is based, as part of their
Scores for how engaged students
feel they are with their professors

engagement offer an education that research and classwork. Those


conneclions. on campus and off,
and tner educatIon

I. Dordt college
can have more depth and meaning are paying dividends. In the Wall
Street JournalTinies Higher 2. Brigham Young UrvesIty.
By DOUGLAS BELKnv
Education College Rankings, Prcvo
areas engagement centers and Michigan State was among the Texas Christian UniversIty
trained every adult employee highest-ranked schools in terms
Five years ago. Michigan State working in each neighborhood 4. CodarvIle UnIvosIty
University wanted to ease the of engagement, a measure of how
from the writing tutors to the connected the students are with S. Boyior University
path from high school to college janitorsto prompt students to
for its first-year students. So their school, each other and the
think about their purpose: Why outside world, and how chal 6. Auburn University
it divided the dorms that house are they in college? What do they lenging their courses are, among Bowling Green State University
8,000 freshmen into ve neigh want to do with their lives? What
borhoods, each centered on other things. Bradley University
skills will they need to learn to get The WSJ/THE ranking weights University of Central Oklahoma
a common area with offices for there?
nurses, academic advisers and engagement at 20:; of a schools Miami University tOnio)
The goal was to make sure overall score, because the level
counselors. every student felt connected to Micnrgan State University
The school called the common of engagement determines how
all of the significant adults in their actively students are grappling Swarthmore college

sacs: Wa Sr:cat Jna rs


I On (aliens tans ire

rIiI: s II. SI iii;Irr liii ts iL

with concepts and trying to apply


them to the real world. Getting it
right isnt easy. If the curriculum
is too challenging, or the comniu
nity too distant, students may
disengage. If classes are too easy
or life a little too comfortable.
they may float passively through
school, absorbing little.
When students are engaged
in the learning process, when
theyre intellectually engaged, it
means theyre taking an active
role in their own learning, and we
know that taking an active role is
going to deepen their learning,
says Andrea Follmer Greenhoot.
director of the University of
Kansas Center for Teaching Excel
lence.
Michigan State tied for the
62nd spot in the WSJTHE overall
Professor David Versiuls teaches a graphrc design concep ranking but tied for No. 6 in the
t to a student.
engagement category. Among

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that his rural Ohio school did
so well, considering it is a poor
country cousin to some of the
coastal elites. He believes the
strong showing boils down to the
intensity of the instruction. (The
school finished in a tie for the
372nd spot in the overall ranking.)
Our professors are preparing
students for eternity, he says.
Theres a real sense of mission
here. And you feel that across
campus. He adds that trust on
campus is so strong that students
leave their laptops unattended
outside the cafeteria when they
eat,
At BYU the scores may have
been aided by the students matu
rity, The majority of students
enter school after returning from
a two-year religious mission for
the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints.
Theyve developed these
habits of helping other people,
of ieaching out to other people,
Dordt College students engage in a hands-on field experiment, says Susan Rugh, dean of under
graduate education at BYU, which
they fostered critical thinking came in at No, 103 in the overall
public schools, it ranked No. of Pennsylvania (fourth overall ranking, You really cant over
ment). and prompted students to make
14 overall and tied for the top and tied for 13th in engage connections to the real world. estimate the experience of the
spot in engagement. It beat the That poor showin g left officials
confused. Two more gauged how much mission and of living abroad near
engagement scores for other at some schools tion the students had with the poverty level for several years.
s that ranked higher We are a univer sity that interac
public school and other students. The You come back and feel empow
sity focuses very heavily on our under faculty
overall, including the Univer final questio n asked how likely ered to change the world.
m, says Bob
of Michigan at Ann Arbor (24th graduate progra unlike ly a student would be Both Drs. Rugh and White
for 31st in engage Durkee , Prince tons vice presi or
overall and tied described alcohol as a distraction
to recommend their school to a
nient) the University of California, dent and secretary, adding that friend. The number of subjects and its absence as an opportunity.
g on
Berkeley (tied for 37th overall arid the schools poor showin
offered as degree programs by When its not around, students
tied for 143rd in engagement) and the engagement survey was a the school also figured into the
the University of Virginia in Char puzile. find other ways to have fun
lottesville (tied for 56th overall A spokesman for the California engagement score, and theyre much more likely to
Institu te of Technology declined One of the most remarkable do something constructive on a
and tied for 526th in engage about the engagement
schools poor things Saturday morning, Dr. Rugh says.
ment). It also scored much higher to comment on the
ment than private showing in the categoiy. The dean scores was the absolute domi Back at Michigan State, Ms.
on engage
nance of religious schools at
powerhouses ranked in the top 10 of Harvard College, the under Youatt says one of the secret
Harvar d the top, says Mr. Bat What I weapons the school uses to
overall, like Harvard University graduate program at
Univer sity (both University, is workin g to increas e suspect is the case is that there is generate engagement is food. The
and Princeton
tied with several other schools at commu nicatio n with studen ts, Ins a very high level of pastoral care catering is so good in the under
engage ment), and the spokes woman says. One tactic: and a strong sense of commu gradoate neighborhoods that
632nd in
shorter scann able and nity and a strong sense of shared
California Institute of Technology sendin g faculty and staff and graduate
easily digesti ble eniails and texts. values.
(tied for 957th). students flock there to eat.
The engagement ranking Schools with a religious orien
The poor showing of some of You may not be on a first-
is derived mainly from seven tation took the top five spots in
the nations most prestigious engage ment rankings. Four of name basis wi tli your math
schools iii the engagement metric key questions asked of 100,00 0 tile
themBrigh am Yoking University, professor. says Ms. Youatt. But if
is among the more surpris ing curren t college and u niver
of 50 Baylor Univer sity, Dordt College yoti see him in line getting dessert
findings in the rankings, says Phil sity studen ts. A minim um
ed for each and Cedam-ville University you might stop and talk.
Baty, the Times Higher Educat ion studen ts were survey
regulate alcohol,
rankings edito. The oniy top 10 school ranked. Four of the ques strictly ille President Thomas Mi: Belkin is a Wall Street
measu re how chal Cedarv
school overall to crack the top 25 tions aimed to Journal icpoiter in Chicago,
r White expressed sonic surprise
in engagement was the University lenging classes wel-e and whethe