Siena Heights News

Siena Heights University Again Recognized as a College of Distinction

Siena Heights University has again received national recognition for the integrity of its truly individualized and engaging education. As an institution whose primary goals are based on student success and satisfaction, Siena Heights was honored as one of the renowned Colleges of Distinction. 

Colleges of Distinction’s selection process consists of detailed interviews and research for each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan, student satisfaction, and more. Schools are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. 

While higher education has changed over the last 20 years, Colleges of Distinction’s selection process has stayed consistent — conducting in-depth research and detailed interviews with the schools themselves about each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan, student satisfaction, and more — and accepting only those that adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. Overlaid in the last few years have been a look into High-Impact Practices. This model prioritizes the opportunities institutions have for students that make for a fulfilling, individualized college experience.

Creel and his colleagues said they found that the most pervasive rankings systems rely on metrics like peer reputation, size of endowment, and alumni salaries. They said they knew instead that most critical to the student experience were the kinds of engaging experiences that are found at Siena Heights University. Such experiences include student-centered programs include community-based and service-learning programs, alternative spring breaks, diversity and global learning programs, intensive writing courses, interdisciplinary programs, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, living-learning communities, common intellectual experiences, capstone projects and internships.

“Each school is different, just as every student is different,” said Colleges of Distinction founder Wes Creel. “There is no number-one college for everyone, so we never rank those in our cohort. Siena Heights University’s inclusion is informed by the unique ways it commits to achieving success. It’s inspiring to see Siena Heights University commit to the learning styles and community involvement that will best allow their students to thrive.”

In addition, Siena Heights was recognized as a Catholic College of Distinction, and also received specialized recognition in Business and Education. These additional accolades were borne out of a need for college curricula that are comprehensive not only in course material, but also in practical- and soft-skills development. Siena Heights has met these needs with a blend of liberal arts education, program-specific training and abundant opportunities for real-world application.

Globalization and the intricacies of modern business operations require effective communication and apt problem-solving strategies. SHU’s business programs keep their future leaders adaptable as they grow alongside their industry, according to the Colleges of Distinction.

SHU graduates future educators who are not only knowledgeable, but also efficient mentors who provide empathetic support and novel teaching methods, Colleges of Distinction said.

“We complete a thorough review of the programs before granting the honors,” said Colleges of Distinction CEO Tyson Schritter said. “We’re looking for qualities such as accreditation, breadth of program, advising and mentoring, integration of career services, and successful outcomes for students. It’s wonderful to see how Siena Heights really exemplifies these qualities.”

Now in its 20th year, Colleges of Distinction is committed to honoring schools throughout the U.S. for true excellence in higher education.

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