Radford University named College of Distinction in 2021-2022 cohort


Radford University has been recognized for its honorable commitment to engaged, hands-on education by Colleges of Distinction, a one-of-a-kind guide for college-bound students. In addition, Radford’s academic programs in business, education, nursing and engineering were singled out for individual recognition, along with student support services for career development and military support.

“We are so pleased to be recognized by Colleges of Distinction overall and in the specific areas of academic programs and student support,” said interim President Carolyn Ringer Lepre, Ph.D., of Radford University. “Our faculty and staff are innovative and passionate about providing a holistic experience for our students, and to have that acknowledged at a national level is rewarding. This speaks highly of their efforts and our students’ willingness to embrace this journey with us.”

Colleges of Distinction’s longstanding support for student-centered schools highlight those that traditional rankings often overlook. Founder Wes Creel created Colleges of Distinction to draw more attention to schools like Radford University, where student success and satisfaction are primary goals and student-centered education prevails while fostering a dynamic learning community.

Colleges of Distinction’s selection process comprises a sequence of in-depth research and detailed interviews with the schools about each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan, student satisfaction and more — and accepting only those that adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. These principles are all informed by High-Impact Practices to prioritize the ways that institutions enable students to have a fulfilling, individualized college experience.

“Every student has their own unique set of abilities, their own goals and their own ideal settings in which they would thrive,” Creel said. “That’s why we don’t rank our schools. It’s about finding the best opportunities for each individual’s needs and desires.” Radford University’s inclusion is informed by the unique ways it commits to achieving success.

Colleges of Distinction advocates for schools where the undergraduate experience is grounded in a philosophy of well-rounded, individualized engagement. Radford University excels at having students graduate and enter the workforce with solid, well-developed critical thinking skills and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing society.

In addition to its overall honor as a College of Distinction, Radford University received specialized recognition in business, education, nursing and engineering. These additional accolades were borne out of a need for college curricula that are comprehensive not only in course material but also in practical- and soft-skills development. Radford University meets these needs with a blend of liberal arts education, program-specific training and abundant opportunities for real-world application.

“We complete a thorough review of the programs in question before giving the awards,” said Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer for Colleges of Distinction. “We’re looking for such qualities as accreditation, breadth of programs, advising and mentoring, integration of career services and successful outcomes for students. It’s wonderful to see how Radford really exemplifies these qualities.”

Colleges of Distinction’s philosophy has evolved over the last few years to create individual recognitions that focus on institutions’ specialized services for students. To that end, Radford University received recognition in the areas of career development and military support.

Career Development: Few questions are going to be on students’ minds more often than some version of “What am I going to do after graduation?” Conveniently, schools awarded the Career Development badge have shown that they are well equipped to help their students graduate with confidence. The badge recognizes schools with comprehensive four-year plans, advising, and more.

Radford University offers such resources as career coaches, career fairs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, JumpStart Career Development Conference and the First Destination survey, providing unparalleled support throughout every stage of career exploration, development and application.

“These opportunities are critical in connecting all the dots that prepare our students to enter the workforce,” Lepre said. “The corporate environment and expectations are ever-changing, and we want our graduates to leave here able to adapt and present themselves as the trained professionals they have become.”

Military Support: As the number of veterans pursuing higher education increases, so too does the demand for their personal and academic support. Veterans can be some of the most dedicated, hard-working and capable students on a college campus, but the unique challenges they face can impede their success. That is why Radford University was selected as a standout institution dedicated to helping veterans overcome their obstacles and achieve success.

“We recognize and appreciate the high level of dedication our veterans and active-duty military have demonstrated through their service to our country,” Lepre said. “We want to make their experience as students at Radford University as seamless as possible.”

Recipients of  Colleges of Distinction’s Military Support designation care primarily about individual students rather than the size of their GI Bill packages. Schools like Radford University ensure that military students are supported through comprehensive education benefits, a committed military and veterans’ affairs team, flexible options, trained faculty, dedicated campus activities and community support.

“Institutions with the Military Support recognition are aware of the unique challenges military students face on college campuses,” said Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer at Colleges of Distinction. “Radford is proud to support and cultivate the skills that military students bring to the classroom, all while helping them achieve their personal and professional goals.”

To view Radford University’s profile or to find more information about the innovative learning experiences it offers, go to https://collegesofdistinction.com/school/radford-university/.

About Colleges of Distinction

Since 2000, Colleges of Distinction has been committed to honoring schools throughout the U.S. for true excellence in higher education. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their dedicated focus on the undergraduate experience. Its website provides dynamic college profiles, customized tools and resources for students, parents, and high school counselors. For more information and to learn how to become a College of Distinction, visit CollegesofDistinction.com.

About Radford University

 Radford University is a comprehensive public university of 10,695 students that has received national recognition for many of its undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as well as its sustainability initiatives. Radford University serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 211-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. In addition to robust academic offerings and engaging student experiences on the main campus located in Radford, Virginia, Radford University also offers a clinical-based educational experience for more than 1,000 students living and learning in Roanoke, Virginia, as part of Radford University Carilion, a public-private partnership focused on the cutting-edge delivery of health sciences programming, outreach and service. To learn more, go to http://www.radford.edu.

Sep 30, 2021
Becky Brackin