Published on September 21, 2021 by Holly Gainer  
samford students

Samford University students are the nation’s most engaged according to the 2022 rankings published by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Samford is ranked first nationally for Student Engagement, climbing one spot from second last year. Samford also ranked 184th overall among the nearly 800 universities in the national ranking, and first in Alabama, a position held every year since the rankings’ inception in 2016. 

The annual Student Engagement ranking assesses the degree to which students feel prepared to use their education in the real world, how they immerse themselves in the intellectual and social life of their college and the quality of a student’s contacts with faculty. According to The Wall Street Journal, this category examines “how engaged students feel they are with their professors, their peers and their education.” Student engagement is deemed to be central to exceptional teaching quality and reflects “how well a university manages to inform, inspire and challenge students.” 

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings differ from other national rankings because they look more closely at outcomes, as opposed to the inputs such as the class ranks of the incoming class or the average SAT scores. These look at how the education will serve the student and the outputs of the education such as where the student will be after graduation.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the student engagement measure is based on a national student survey that asks questions about how connected students  feel to their school, each other and the outside world, accounting for 20% of a school’s overall score. Forty percent of the overall score comes from student outcomes, including measures of graduate salaries and debt burdens.  Thirty percent of the overall score comes from the school’s academic resources, including the breadth of courses and accredited programs available for students. Ten percent of the overall score comes from the school’s diversity.

Samford’s mission to nurture persons in their development of intellect, creativity, faith and personhood is fostered for students through an array of opportunities including more than 160 student organizations, global engagement in 18 different countries and a wide array of courses that incorporate community service.

Additionally, undergraduate students complete Samford’s core curriculum, providing a well-rounded foundation in the liberal arts. The result is a highly tailored educational experience that results in 96% of undergraduate alumni employed or in further study within six months of graduation.

“Being ranked first in the nation for student engagement by The Wall Street Journal is an honor for Samford. Our faculty and staff work tirelessly and have remained resilient, especially during these unprecedented times, to create engaging learning opportunities for students so they will be informed, inspired and challenged,” said Samford President Beck A. Taylor. “Although national rankings are just one measure of success, the recognition provides affirmation for our students, employees and alumni. Today, and every day, we celebrate our students as they advance their educational and professional goals and pursue their personal growth in service and faith.”

The latest Wall Street Journal ranking affirms Samford’s growing national reputation. Samford is regularly recognized as one of the leading Christian universities in the United States and receives high marks for both quality and value. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Samford as 37th in the country for best undergraduate teaching and 97th in the nation as the best value for a college education. It is the only university in Alabama to make the best undergraduate teaching list and is the highest ranked in the state for best value. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranks Samford 34th nationally among private universities in its Best College Values.

View the list from The Wall Street Journal. Please note a login may be required to access the complete list.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.