So you’ve got an AA degree from Tacoma Community College. Now it’s worth a little bit more on your résumé. Just mention that its been named one of the best community colleges in the nation and the best in Washington state.
That’s according to The Washington Monthly, an independent District of Columbia social research magazine. Helping TCC achieve its impressive ranking was its comparatively high graduation rate of 63 percent (within four years).
Another South Sound community college, Green River, also ranked well nationally, coming in at 29th. The No. 1 CC was St. Paul College (Minn.). In fact, Minnesota and North Carolina each had three schools in the top 10.
For the complete (Sept. /Oct. 2010) report, go here.
Here’s the press release from Dan Small at TCC:
The Washington Monthly has ranked Tacoma Community College 17th among the community colleges in the country — and number one in Washington state. The purpose of the list, according to Washington Monthly editors, is to determine for citizens and policymakers which of the nation’s service-oriented schools are “laying the foundation for the kind of nation we want to become.”
The magazine measured and quantified how well individual colleges and universities were “meeting their public obligations in the areas of research, service, and social mobility,” ranking schools based on the results. 2010 is the first year that the Washington Monthly has ranked community colleges. According to the Association of Community and Technical Colleges (ACCT), there are 1,166 community colleges in the United States.
Many of the colleges and universities that have traditionally earned high marks from the more widely known U.S. News and World Report college lists, either do not rank at all, or ranked lower in the Washington Monthly’s lists. Calling their lists “A Different Kind of College Ranking,” the editors explained that “Instead of asking what a college could do for you, we asked, “What are colleges doing for the country?” and using criteria that indicate a college’s commitment to service and creating opportunities for upward mobility for its students.
The nation’s community colleges were rated on six measures that included: active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, support for learning, and graduation rate. TCC’s 63 percent graduation rate was in the top six of the community colleges that made the top 50.
While the 4-year colleges and universities were ranked using different criteria than the community colleges, measuring “how well individual colleges and universities were meeting their public obligations in the areas of research, service, and social mobility,” both were attempts to measure how well colleges give back to the communities that support them.
Say the editors: “…Yale might educate a disproportionate number of future hedge fund managers… but is it laying the foundation for the kind of nation we want to become? After all, colleges and universities do as much to shape the future as any institutions you can think of … While there are plenty of guides out there that help students and parents decide how to spend their tuition dollars wisely, there wasn’t one to tell citizens and policymakers which colleges were spending their tax dollars wisely.”