Service Beyond Self -- Another Look at Annual College Rankings
Beginning in 2005, the Washington Monthly began publishing an annual issue devoted to college rankings of a new type—a ranking based on public good, or more specifically what colleges and universities are “doing for the country.” This project by Washington Monthly is meant to be, I believe, a kind of antidote or argument against the ranking program promoted by U.S. News & World Report—one in which enormous weight is given endowment wealth, admission selectivity, and the research productivity of school faculty rather than their skill with and attention to teaching undergraduate students. Over the years I’ve followed it with great interest, and indeed have been pleased to see it gaining in readership and popularity.
As you can read for yourself in WM, the editors believe “public good” is defined by or demonstrated in three categories… “Social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).” Perhaps this last category means the most to me—and certainly it speaks to the mission of The Webb Schools directly—to “Serve with a generous spirit.”
Looking through this lens, though you still find Stanford, Harvard and MIT near the top, you also find such remarkable learning communities as Harvey Mudd College (ranked #2)—yet just below Berea College in Kentucky (ranked #1 with 85% of students receiving Pell Grants)—a fascinating college devoted to serving first-generation college students, as well as lower-income students. Also near the top, Pomona College, Davidson College, Knox College and more.
My hope is that everyone connected to Webb (alumni, parents and friends) will take a look at this ranking program in the Washington Monthly and consider the importance of the project—to look beyond merely what a college can do for one individual to what a college (or school for that matter) can do for a country, our country.
More than 250 alumni, faculty and friends returned to campus, flying in from Austria, Canada, China, England, Germany, Hong Kong and 29 different states. It was good to have everyone back, and we enjoyed seeing the campus alive with visitors. Here are some highlights from the weekend:
S. David Webb '53, PhD, a member of The Webb Schools' founding family, passed away on September 12, 2019. Webb was a Distinguished Research Curator Emeritus of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History and a Distinguished Research Professor of Zoology and Geology at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He was also a past President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 2010 Webb was the keynote speaker at the Alf Museum's annual Peccary Society Dinner. Please read more about Webb's long and storied life and career in the remembrance offered by the Florida Museum.
One of the best ways to fully appreciate a Webb education is to look at the lives and achievements of our alumni. Each year, we honor a group of alumni for their accomplishments since graduation and pay tribute to their continued commitment to the mission and success of Webb. These awards recognize distinguished graduates who reflect the character and leadership qualities developed at Webb.
The Los Angeles Timesput together a dreamy four hour itinerary in the "City of Trees and PhDs." A destination it brands "delightfully smart,"is highlighted in a wonderful gallery of 20 photographs. Included in the piece are links to both The Webb Schools and the Alf Museum. Again, read more in the LATimes about the place Sunset Magazine labelled in 2016 "the best suburb in the West." Claremont--Home of The Webb Schools!