For more than two decades, U.S. News & World Report has named Coker as one of America’s Best Colleges. In their 2019 rankings, Coker ranked fifth in the best regional colleges in the south category. This year, Coker received some additionally impressive placements––the college was recognized by its peers in two separate 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings as having “a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching” and for being a “most innovative school.” Coker was ranked #3 and #5, respectively, in those categories among regional colleges in the south.
U.S. News & World Report asks questions on their annual Best Colleges peer assessment survey to identify schools where the faculty has an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and which peer institutions are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. The colleges and universities that are cited most often by their fellow regional college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans are then ranked based on the number of nominations they receive. (An institution must receive at least seven nominations to be ranked/listed.)
“Being included in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for best regional colleges in the south is always an honor,” said Coker College President Robert Wyatt. “This year, I was especially pleased to see Coker recognized for our strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and spirit of innovation. We’ve made a dedicated commitment to student success with programs such as our common experience trip to Washington, D.C., for all first-year students and AccessCoker, which gives students access to a brand new iPad® and Apple Pencil® so they can easily access learning materials and prepare for 21st-century careers. Our faculty and staff are incredibly dedicated and passionate about our students as they help prepare the next generation for a unique set of challenges in a fast-paced, ever-changing world, and ensure they have the necessary tools to write the best versions of their stories.”
U.S. News & World Report defines a regional college as a school that focuses almost entirely on the undergraduate experience and offers a broad range of programs in the liberal arts (which account for fewer than one half of bachelor’s degrees granted); this category also includes schools that have small bachelor's degree programs but primarily grant two-year associate degrees. The regional college rankings are split into four geographical regions/ lists (North, South, Midwest and West) and two categories/ lists (regional universities and regional colleges). The south includes institutions from 12 states–Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. U.S. News & World Report has been providing education rankings since 1983. The 2019 edition includes data on more than 1,500 colleges and universities, gathering data from and about each school in up to 16 areas related to academic excellence. Each indicator is assigned a weight (expressed as a percentage) based on U.S. News’s judgements about which measures of quality matter most. Then the colleges are ranked based on their overall scores. The data for this most recent edition of Best Colleges were gathered in the spring and summer of 2018.