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SIUE Highlighted By U.S.News As A Leader 'In Innovative Changes'

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has been cited by its peers and reported in U.S.News & World Report as an "up and coming school firmly focused on improving the job they're doing today." The listing is in the magazine's Best Colleges of 2010 issue that hit newsstands today.

In addition, for the fifth consecutive year, SIUE was listed in the senior capstone experience category, among 17 universities-including Yale, Harvard, MIT and Princeton-for its comprehensive program measuring the competency of graduating seniors.

At SIUE, the program is called Senior Assignment and is required curriculum for all seniors to demonstrate their degree of general education knowledge, as well as knowledge within their disciplines prior to graduation.

Also, according to the U.S.News rankings released today, SIUE is among the top 15 public universities in the Midwest-Master's category for the third consecutive year and also is in the top one-third of all public and private Midwestern universities. The overall scores are based on the academic preparedness of students, graduation rates, faculty characteristics and the reputation of SIUE in higher education.

SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift said he was "extremely pleased" with the new rankings. "To have SIUE among the top three public universities in the Midwest in a category that touts innovation is a credit to this institution," Vandegrift said. "We owe this recognition to a committed faculty of teacher/scholars as well as to strong programs, excellent staff support and a shared sense of community. It all adds up to a great educational experience at SIUE," Vandegrift said.

U.S. News, which labels the category "Top Up-and-Coming Schools," includes six other schools but SIUE is among only three public institutions in the Midwest listing, with the other two Grand Valley State University in Michigan and Truman State University in Missouri. "For prospective applicants, we believe the schools on this list offer the reassurance that ... they're firmly focused on the job they're doing today," the article stated.

"These 77 colleges and universities (throughout the country) were singled out as schools that have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities," U.S. News reported.

Vandegrift said SIUE is moving forward with innovative change, pointing to improvements made in the general education curriculum to enhance the educational experience as well as the newly constructed Student Success Center-with all of its "Green" energy-saving features-that will greatly improve the way student services are delivered. He also cited the University's transition to NCAA Division I in Intercollegiate Athletics as another indicator of excellence. "The e continues its strong commitment to providing a quality and affordable education to our students."

SIUE's Senior Assignment initiative has been recognized on several occasions as a model for other institutions across the nation. The Association of American Colleges and Universities has lauded SIUE's program as an effective tool in gauging the comprehensiveness of academic offerings.

"This recognition speaks to the hard work, innovation, and commitment of the SIUE students and faculty," said Victoria Scott, director of assessment at SIUE. "The Senior Assignment optimizes the role of a capstone experience by engaging students in an open-ended, holistic and authentic assessment of discipline specific outcomes as well as general education competencies. "We are thrilled to receive this recognition for the fifth consecutive year."

In response to SIUE's U.S. News rankings, Paul Ferguson, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, commented, "this national recognition from our peers and national associations strongly supports the commitment of SIUE to continuous quality improvement and academic innovation in all of our academic programs, and is a wonderful affirmation of the excellence of our faculty, staff and students."

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