|What They're Saying About Dickinson
While you can learn a lot about Dickinson College from our
web site and publications, you may also be interested in what others are saying about
us. Here are a few examples:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
In July, 2007, reviewers from the Middle States Association commended Dickinson's Periodic Review as "a model of clarity, candor, and thoroughness." In their introduction, the reviewers note the report addressed earlier recommendations "with both the confidence that arises from an institution that knows its mission and the openness to change that characterizes an institution deeply committed to improvement."
In their conclusion, the reviewers praised Dickinson for the progress of the previous five years:
"Building on a distinguished history, Dickinson has come into its own in recent years. It is clear that the college's leadership is creative, dynamic, and effective, and that there is a bracing sense of shared purpose. The improvements in diversity are significant, and the progress on financial health is extraordinary. The already strong program of global education has become even stronger over the last five years, and collaborative research between students and faculty has blossomed as well. Admissions has improved dramatically, not only in the number of applications and selectivity rates, but also in the academic quality of incoming students. The college has wisely taken steps to institutionalize its many gains and sustain them beyond the current leadership, and it has set itself such crucial new challenges as developing a major initiative in environmental and sustainability studies. ...
"Overall we find Dickinson to be a vibrant and exciting college that has not only improved considerably in recent years but also shows every indication of improving still more in years to come. The college is fully in synch with the standards articulated in Characteristics of Excellence, and seems poised not only to sustain but also to improve its position as one of America's premiere liberal arts colleges."
Dr. Leif Rosenberger
The Ninteenth Annual Strategy Conference was held at the U.S. Army War College in April 2008. Dr. Leif Rosenberger, Economic Advisor at the U.S. Central Command, spoke on the panel "Addressing Civilian Agency Capabilities" and mentioned the International Studies major at Dickinson as a model for the kind of liberal-arts education that will prepare the next generation of civil servants.
Following the conference, Dr. Rosenberger elaborated on his remarks:
"The U.S. national security community has too many narrow specialists incapable of integrating economics, culture, diplomacy and security. Fortunately, there is hope for the future. For instance, Dickinson College is arming its International Studies majors with the knowledge and skills needed to be renaissance men and women—just what the next generation of civil servants needs to connect the dots."
In a cover story on August 21, 2006, Time magazine noted that "competition for the Ivies is as fierce as ever, but kids who look beyond the famous schools may be the smartest applicants of all." In "Who needs Harvard?" authors Nancy Gibbs and Nathan Thornburgh look at students who concentrate on finding the best fit for college. They spoke to Rachel Petrella, a counselor at California's La Jolla Country Day School.
"'The more sophisticated kids who take on the search as a research project, they are getting past the prestige,' says Petrella. Students see that schools like Vassar, Lehigh, Colgate and Dickinson really care about the quality of undergraduate life, she says."
Rugg's Recommendations on the Colleges questioned a number of counselors about quality majors at selective colleges. Tom Bloom, director of guidance at University High School in Morgantown, West Virginia, provided a glowing endorsement of Dickinson.
"I am discovering that my Ivy League students are now considering Dickinson over the more prestigious-name colleges. I would place this school in the top ten in the country. They are progressive in their teaching philosophy; they have a tremendous building program in place and a fantastic library. Where other colleges sit back on their reputation, Dickinson is aggressively pursuing our finest and most qualified students. In a recent discussion with an Ivy League recruiter, they admitted that Dickinson was taking away many of their students and thought the president has moved the school in a strong, positive direction. This school should be on any student's watch list as a keeper."
Black Enterprise magazine named Dickinson to its list of top colleges for African-Americans. Black Enterprise reviewed enrollment and graduation rates and surveyed African-American higher education professionals for their assessments of the social and academic environments for African-American students at the nation's colleges and universities.
Other liberal-arts colleges featured in the September, 2006 article include Wellesley, Amherst, Smith, Barnard and Williams.
The November, 2006 issue of Men's Fitness magazine featured Dickinson on a list of colleges that "have found the way to balance academic excellence with athletic acumen."
The article included photos of Dickinson student-athletes and noted that "in every category of this year's survey, including eating habits, physical activity, and overall fitness of the college, Dickinson was the only school to ace every exam."
Dickinson also was featured in a Today show story about the Men's Fitness list.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
In its issue on June 2, 2006, The Chronicle of Higher Education published a special report on nonprofit endowments and featured the success Dickinson has had over the last few years.
Alvin P. Sanoff begins by observing that "if Dickinson College were a corporation, Wall Street would view it as a classic turnaround story." He notes the financial challenges faced by the college in the 1990s and contrasts that with the financial health of the institution today.
Among the successes cited by the article are the growth of alumni giving, an increase in investment income and a rise in net tuition revenue. Sanoff describes enrollment management initiatives, more aggressive development efforts and a new approach to investing that involved trustees and alumni who are investment professionals. The article quotes a credit analyst at Standard & Poor's as noting that "it is difficult for an institution of higher education to accomplish the kind of financial progress Dickinson has made. That type of improvement is not common."
The article is available on The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Inside Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed is an online journal of news and opinion for higher education. In "The Rich Get Richer" on Jan. 23, 2006, Scott Jaschik wrote about a NACUBO report on the growth of college and university endowments. While noting that "
the best way to make a lot of money is to have a lot of money to start with," Jaschik singled out Dickinson as an example of a smaller school that experienced a rate of return that was greater than many larger schools.
"Still, colleges without Harvard-sized endowments are finding ways to do well," he wrote. "For example, Dickinson College, a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, saw its endowment increase to $206 million this year - an increase of 29.8 percent (just about twice the percentage increase at Harvard). Annette S. Parker, vice president and treasurer there, attributed the gains to changes in the college's investment strategy during this decade."
The full article is available at Inside Higher Ed.
The Atlantic Monthly
In the October 2004 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Gregg Easterbrook
discussed the cutthroat competition that students and parents enter in order to win
acceptance to the 25 "Gotta-Get-In" schools like Williams, Swarthmore and the Ivies.
He noted that "the advantages conferred by the most selective schools may be overstated" and
recommended a group of schools that are only slightly lower in the prestige category
than Yale and Princeton. Among those Easterbrook listed were Dickinson, Bowdoin,
Colby, Kenyon, Middlebury and Vanderbilt.
Findings by Loren Pope, former New York Times education editor,
suggest that "the glamour schools were losing their status as the gatekeepers of accomplishments," Easterbrook
wrote. "Many overestimate the impact of the Gotta-Get-Ins not only on future earnings
but on interesting career paths as well."
Easterbrook concluded his article by reiterating that there are a number
of institutions that can "provide students with an excellent education, sending them
onward to healthy incomes and appealing careers. Harvard is marvelous, but you don't
have to go there to get your foot in the door of life."
In the September 2004 edition of University Business, Ed Sevilla
wrote about the challenge colleges and universities face in finding a balance between
the demands of the marketplace and the values of higher education. According to Sevilla, "The
few who can, like Dickinson College and NYU, survive as winners. The rest of
us lose spectacularly."
Sevilla argues that schools can maintain academic quality while adopting
contemporary marketing practices if, like Dickinson, they "restart a dialogue on the
purpose of higher education" and "measure successful outcomes of education." If faculty
and administrators work together for the common good of the institution, the proper
balance can be found.
text of the article is available online.
Dickinson's innovative approach to the sciences was noted in an article
in the September/October 2004 issue of Change. "Science Spaces for Students
of the 21st Century" looked at new ways to design facilities for science education.
"The story of workshop physics at Dickinson College illustrates how
the content and pedagogy of programs co-evolve with their space, particularly as the
space comes to embody insights about the way students learn the benefits of active,
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
In its April, 2003 report Internationalizing the Campus, NAFSA
"In many respects, no college is more internationally minded than Dickinson
The report was an examination of efforts by U.S. colleges and universities
to integrate global approaches to teaching into campus learning. It profiled the international
education initiatives of sixteen institutions. Dickinson was one of six schools profiled
in depth in the report.
More information about the report is available on the NAFSA
web site. The full text can be viewed in Adobe Acrobat format.
Dickinson's efforts to strengthen its distinctive characteristics and
raise its national profile were recognized in an article in the September/October 2003
issue of Change, the magazine of higher learning. The article was adapted from
David Kirp's forthcoming book, Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing
of Higher Education. Dickinson is one of the case studies in the book, which looks
at schools such as MIT, Columbia, the University of Southern California, NYU, and the
University of Chicago.
"Now Dickinson, chartered as a college just six days after the Treaty
of Paris was signed, calls itself the first 'revolutionary college.' What Benjamin
Rush proudly described as his 'petulant brat' is defining itself as a school with 'attitude'
You can view the full text of the
The Washington Post
Dickinson was noted in an article in The Washington Post Magazine on
Sunday, April 6, 2003. In "20 Undiscovered Gems," respected education writer Jay Mathews
asked high school counselors to identify colleges which deserve a higher profile because
of the quality of education and the experience they provide to students.
Matthews listed Dickinson as fourth on his list, "with its academic standards
higher than ever and an award-winning study-abroad program." He quoted a high school
counselor from New Jersey as saying "My visits to Dickinson in the last couple years
have been wonderful -- the spirit on campus is high [and] the student body is thoughtful
and more diverse."
The Wall Street Journal
In October, 2001, The Wall Street Journal named Dickinson one
of the country's "hot schools." The newspaper listed 16 colleges and universities throughout
the country that are "poised to be players in the new landscape."
The newspaper noted that Dickinson is known for its "international studies," and
that 28 percent of its students "spend a year abroad." Dickinson and Middlebury College
in Vermont were the only two national liberal arts colleges located on the East Coast
included in the list. The other two liberal arts schools on the list are Carleton,
in Minnesota, and Occidental, in California. Other schools on the list include Dartmouth,
Penn State, Rice University, the University of Iowa, Miami University in Ohio, and
Washington University in St. Louis.