Though only 382 universities nationwide received the title of “College of Distinction” this year, such a feat is becoming less rare for Woodbury University.
The Burbank-based institution was named a College of Distinction this month for the fifth straight time in the annual guide that bears the award’s name.
“We are truly honored to be selected as a College of Distinction for the fifth consecutive year,” said Greg Lippe, chairman of the board at Woodbury University. “We are a student-focused institution known for its academic excellence and practice-based education.”
The College of Distinction guide presents itself as an alternative to other publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, which focuses heavily on rankings.
The guide’s producers met with higher-education experts throughout the country and partially based their assessments on interactions with current students, alumni and professors.
Woodbury University was one of 22 California schools and one of six in Los Angeles County recognized, joining Azusa Pacific University, Cal State Long Beach, Loyola Marymount, the University of La Verne and Whittier College.
College of Distinction schools were recognized for specializing in engaging students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
The guide highlighted Woodbury’s class-size ratio as part of the engaging-students criteria because 329 of the school’s 330 classes contain between two to 39 pupils.
About 78% of those classes, or 257 in total, have class sizes of 19 or fewer students.
“In particular, we focus on improving the student experience, both in and out of the classroom, through close faculty-student interaction and purposeful student engagement,” said David M. Steele-Figueredo, Woodbury University’s president.
Steele-Figueredo added, “For example, our Agency for Civic Engagement empowers our students, faculty and staff to work toward improving underserved communities in our region through architecture, design, business and other initiatives.”
Along with acknowledging small classes, the College of Distinction title was also approved due to Woodbury’s faculty, stating in the guide, “This mix of highly credentialed, academically trained professors and ‘real life’ professionals with advanced degrees offers students the best of both worlds.”
“Colleges of Distinction applauds Woodbury for pushing the envelope with its up-to-date curriculum, enriching the college experience with high-impact educational practices and providing every student with an education that stretches far beyond what’s typically required from an academic major,” Tyson Schritter, Colleges of Distinction’s chief content officer, said in a statement.