Sept. 10, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announced today  that U.S. News and World Report has named MCLA one of the “Top Public Schools” in the U.S., alongside some of the nation’s most prestigious military academies and innovative public  colleges.

MCLA President James F. Birge, Ph.D credited MCLA’s distinguished faculty, academic rigor and fiscal stewardship as major reasons for MCLA’s national recognition alongside such highly selective institutions as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

“MCLA’s greatest strength is its people, from our diverse and intellectually curious student body to our dedicated and accomplished faculty,” Birge said. “Among our award-winning faculty are those associated with the Fulbright Program. Our faculty are the recipients of grants from prestigious funders such as the Mellon Foundation, the Davis Educational Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and are sought-out as experts in their fields to speak at academic conferences around the world.”

“I’m delighted to offer my congratulations to the leadership, students, faculty and staff of MCLA on this well-earned national recognition,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education. “MCLA is one of the crown jewels in our public higher education system, a critical institution meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student body while also playing a role in its local community.”

MCLA’s recognition by U.S. News & World Report was lauded by city officials in North Adams, given the college’s vital contribution to the Berkshire Region’s cultural, economic, and educational revitalization.

North Adams Mayor Bernard said, “This recognition affirms what people in North Adams and the Berkshires have always known: that MCLA is a great public liberal arts college, and an incredible asset to the community and the Commonwealth. MCLA’s students, staff, and faculty enrich and enliven North Adams, and in turn the city itself serves as an extension of the college’s campus.”

Over the past year, MCLA added a number of new degree programs to support the needs of Berkshire County employers, including a Health Sciences major and the

Community Health Education major within the Department of Biology, as well as two new concentrations in pre-medical professions and pre-veterinary. Additionally, the Computer Science Department added a concentration in electrical engineering, and a new entrepreneurship minor was added within the Department of Business Administration. MCLA’s Performing Arts (FPA) Department also introduced new concentrations in design and studio art, as well as minors in dance, design, and music production.

These new programs not only meet student and employer demand, but also generate new revenue streams that enable the College to invest in upgrades that will continue to foster student success far into the future.  For example, additional revenues have allowed MCLA to expand its writing studio and its math drop-in center on campus.

Students in this year’s incoming Class of 2022 come from eight different states. Thirty percent of these first-year undergraduates are students of color, an increase of 5 percent from last year. As a result of multiple initiatives and MCLA’s Strengthening Institutions Program, funded by a nearly $2.2 million grant from the United States Department of Education, the College is closing the gap in graduation rates. In 2016, MCLA succeeded in closing the six-year graduation rate gap between African American and white students.

In 2016 the United States Department of Education recognized MCLA as one of “26 Four-Year Public and Private Colleges with Low Educational Costs and High Salaries” for graduates. All 26 colleges enroll more than 40 percent low-income students. These institutions feature an affordable net price, and good graduation rates for all of their students. In addition, the Department of Education last spring recognized MCLA as one of 13 institutions nationally for graduating students from low-income families at the same rate as students from high-income families.

U.S. News and World Report ranks colleges based on indicators that reflect a school’s student body, its faculty, and its financial resources, along with outcome measures that signal how well the institution achieves its mission of educating students,” according to the report.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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