For the past one hundred and thirty-three years, Alma College has continuously been considered a liberal arts college. Three weeks ago, an emergency faculty meeting was called in regard to the school’s new title with the newest release of this new US News College Ranking. Concerns were raised in regard to the perception of this new title by prospective students and others.
Alma College has recently been listed as number eight on the Regional Colleges Midwest list for US News Best Colleges. Alma College prides and markets itself on being a liberal arts college–it offers a wide array of disciplines while ensuring that students take other courses to broaden their knowledge of the world. However, over recent years, the school has seen a rise in non-humanities majors, including integrative physiology and health science, nursing and business.
The five most popular majors for 2018 graduates were health professions at nineteen percent, business at sixteen percent, education at twelve percent, social sciences at nine percent and biological and biomedical studies at eight percent.
Humanities courses include art, communication, dance, English, music, philosophy, religion and theater. Although the college requires students of every major to take at least one humanities class, it is the types of majors themselves that count for the ranking.
The school has a large draw on students interested in the sciences due to being one of only a few Division III institutions with a gross anatomy laboratory which allows students to perform on full-body cadavers. The college also draws students in with its internationally renowned Model United Nations team, its highly traveled Alma College Choir and its Cheer and Stunt team, which has won second or better in the last five years at the National Cheerleading Association College Nationals.
The difference between a liberal arts college and a small midwestern college is minimal to none. The school’s new ranking does not have as much of an impact as some may think it does. These campus organizations will continue to bring in new students. Alma College can and most likely will pursue the ideals of a liberal arts college no matter its title elsewhere.
To continue pursuing these ideals, the college can make an effort to update not only the Dow Science Center, but also Swanson Academic Center and specifically the roofs of the Heritage Center and Eddy Music Building. Over the four years I have been here, every year has been the same in the music and theater buildings on rainy days: ceiling tiles are set aside, and buckets are placed beneath where water otherwise drips onto the floor. Over the course of one summer though, Dow was renovated with new technology, and there are new and extravagant plans for renovation of the library.
Despite Alma College’s new ranking and title, classes will remain as they have been. There have been no public comments made from the college about the change in ranking.