Lipscomb University has been ranked 65th in the nation, by Washington Monthly in its master’s universities category, the only Nashville master’s category university to make the top 100.
Washington Monthly is a magazine that established its own ranking system six years ago as an alternative to the well-known U.S. News and World Reports rankings. The Washington Monthly rankings were designed specifically to measure how a university gives back to its community through providing social mobility to low-income students, providing volunteer service and research advancements.
The 2010 rankings were reported in the September/October issue of Washington Monthly, now on newsstands, and Lipscomb’s rank can be found on the publication’s Website by clicking here.
More than 550 universities across the nation were included in the master’s-level listing. The Washington Monthly rankings consider the percentage of students receiving Pell grants; research expenditures; the number of students who go on to earn Ph.D.s, apply to the Peace Corps or participate in ROTC; and the number of community service hours carried out by students and full-time staff to develop a ranking that shows “what our colleges are doing for our country.”
Lipscomb’s high ranking was due in large part to the university’s large number of student service hours, which Washington Monthly ranked as the third highest in the nation in the master’s category. The number of hours was taken from Lipscomb’s application to the President’s Community Service Honor Roll, which reported 121,910 in student service hours in the 2008-09 school year.
“The volunteer time Lipscomb students provided that year contributed more than $2.5 million to the economy,” said Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry. “The student service-learning projects are not only character building, they also contribute in a measurable way to the economic improvement of Nashville, the surrounding communities and the nation as a whole.”
Washington Monthly’s master’s category also includes local institutions Tennessee Technological University (ranked 74), Belmont University (ranked 275) and Middle Tennessee State University (ranked 378).
Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell stories about the ideas and characters of America’s government from a political outsiders’ point of view. In 2005 the magazine established its annual college rankings to bring attention to the many American colleges spending energy and resources to encourage students to “give back to their communities and nation.”
“Instead of asking what a college could do for you, we asked, ‘What are colleges doing for the country?’” wrote the editors in the 2010 guide, which ranks master’s universities for the first time. “Is it laying the foundation for the kind of nation we want to become?”
In the Washington Monthly criteria, Lipscomb also ranked 51st in the nation in the number of bachelor’s students who go on to earn PH.D.s and 69th in the nation in a category that considered full-time staff support of community service, the number of academic courses incorporating service and whether the institution provides scholarships for community service.
“Selfless service is ingrained in Lipscomb students from the first week they are on campus. Before classes even begin, students are asked to participate in a service day during freshman orientation,” said Christin Shatzer, director of the university’s SALT (Serving and Learning Together) Program, which coordinates the university’s service-learning graduation requirement. “And before the SALT program has even been fully implemented, Lipscomb has produced 11 SALT scholars, who voluntarily work long hours to complete a service-learning capstone project before graduation.”
The SALT program is designed to integrate students’ areas of study and professional goals into community engagement, setting a direction for their future integration of life, work and community.