Virginia Wesleyan is among the ‘Best Colleges’ in the nation

(Southside Daily/Courtesy of Virginia Wesleyan University)
(Southside Daily/Courtesy of Virginia Wesleyan University)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Virginia Wesleyan University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report in three categories of its 2020 Best Colleges rankings, released Monday.

The university is ranked 23rd in “Ethnic Diversity” among National Liberal Arts Colleges and is featured among U.S. News’ “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.”

New this year, VWU is also recognized as a “Top Performer on Social Mobility,” according to a news release from the university.

This is the third consecutive year Virginia Wesleyan has been ranked among the top 25 most ethnically diverse National Liberal Arts Colleges.

To identify colleges where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from a different ethnic group from their own, U.S. News factored in the proportion of minority students—leaving out international students—and the overall mix of groups in each institution’s 2018-2019 academic year student body, according to the news release.

The largest ethnic group at Virginia Wesleyan is African-American, representing 24 percent of the University’s student population.

“We are proud to hold this designation, as it represents the diverse, global community in which our University is located,” said university President Scott D. Miller. “We are a welcoming, inclusive campus with an outstanding, nationally prominent academic reputation—and we take pride in fostering the kinds of values and traditions that make our students proud to have chosen us for their career and life success.”

U.S. News also classifies Virginia Wesleyan University among its “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.”

Methodology for these rankings focuses on academic excellence, with schools evaluated on hundreds of data points and up to 15 measures of academic quality.

Overall, the rankings emphasize student outcomes—such as graduation and freshman retention rates—which carry the most weight at 30 percent. The top National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges have significantly higher graduation and freshman retention rates than other schools, university officials said.

New to the rankings this year, U.S. News has recognized institutions as “Top Performers on Social Mobility.”

Virginia Wesleyan is ranked among the top 25 percent of National Liberal Arts Colleges in this category, which measures how well schools graduated students who received federal Pell Grants relative to the rest of the student body, officials said.

U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges rankings help prospective students and their families research more than 1,800 U.S.-based colleges and universities.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.