Washington Monthly ranks Transylvania among nation’s top 10 liberal arts colleges for public service

Transylvania students participate in Alternative Break, a week-long community-based program born with the intention of infusing ethical responsibility into service.

In the latest college rankings from the Washington Monthly magazine, Transylvania University is highlighted as one of the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the nation for promoting public service. 

“The Washington Monthly credits schools that are doing right by taxpayers and the country — by promoting upward mobility, producing scholars and scholarship and encouraging their students to be active citizens,” said Paul Glastris, the magazine’s editor in chief. “It’s a very different definition of what makes colleges excellent, one that is gaining traction among philanthropists, policymakers and the public at large.” 

Guest editor Kevin Carey said, “Over the last 15 years, we’ve steadily added new data to our rankings of what colleges do for their country by promoting social mobility, research and public service.”

Liberal Arts Public Service Ranking
According to the Washington Monthly 2019 College Rankings, Transylvania is 10th among liberal arts colleges in the service rank category.

Transylvania’s top 10 service rank among liberal arts schools in the Washington Monthly’s 2019 College Guide and Rankings is derived from several factors, including its Peace Corps Prep partnership, the percentage of federal work-study funds spent on service and a high level of voter engagement among students.

“Because of our university’s liberal arts mission — which encourages social responsibility — we are deeply engaged in communities not just locally, but around the world,” said interim President John N. Williams. “I am committed to fostering this spirit of service during my time as president.”

As part of the university’s dedication to engagement, Transylvania and the Peace Corps partner to offer the Transy Peace Corps Prep Program. This co-curricular program combines formal coursework, community service and professional leadership training designed to prepare talented undergraduates for postgraduate service in the Peace Corps as well as careers in international development.

“Transy students have proven to be a great fit for the Peace Corps and other international service opportunities. They are talented, passionate about service and eager to learn more about foreign languages and cultures,” said Steve Hess, assistant professor of political science and Peace Corps Prep coordinator. “In a highly competitive application process, our students have had a remarkably high success rate receiving Peace Corps invitations. This year alone, we’ve had students receive invitations to serve in Liberia, Senegal, Ghana, Madagascar, Uganda and Cambodia.” In recent years, Transylvania students also have served in China, Myanmar, Costa Rica and Morocco.

Students at Transylvania also have opportunities to serve local residents through the federal Community-Based Work-Study Program, which allows them to earn money for education-related expenses while working at one of several nonprofit organizations in Lexington.

Tevin Monroe, Transylvania’s coordinator of civic engagement, said the university’s students are committed to service, and that commitment is reflected in the latest Washington Monthly rankings.

“Our students commit to serve in a variety of ways — by joining volunteer teams, by donating blood, by aligning themselves with a local nonprofit and by voting in local and national elections,” Monroe said. “I look forward to this school year, where our Transy community can continue to serve throughout Lexington and beyond.”

Overall, the Washington Monthly rankings place Transylvania solidly within the top 100 liberal arts schools in the nation, rating the university 86th – a jump of 18 places over the 2018 rankings.

The new rankings follow recent announcements from a number of college reference organizations. The Princeton Review recently included Transylvania among the top 13% of the nation’s four-year colleges. Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019 showcased the university for giving students a quality education at a price they can afford. Transylvania is also featured as one of the nation’s best colleges in 2019 by Forbes, Money Magazine and College Consensus.