Elon Peer Institutions and Institutions with Exemplary Benchmark Characteristics

As Elon neared the mid-point of the Elon Commitment Strategic plan, the Long Range Planning Committee took on the charge of creating a new institutional Peer and Aspirant list. The Committee conducted research and consulted with various groups across campus, including the board of trustees, academic units, senior staff, academic council, alumni, students and parents. A campus conversation was held on September 5, 2014.

The work of the Long Range Planning Committee substantiated Elon’s distinction as a mid-sized, liberal arts university that is grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and complemented by distinctive professional and graduate programs. Analysis of the data as well as a thorough examination of Elon’s Carnegie Classification indicated that there is no other school in the country exactly like Elon. Nonetheless, the study revealed several comparable schools in terms of size, scope, and resources.

It was in this spirit that the Long Range Planning Committee developed the following list of institutions that can be used in whole or in part for the purposes of general comparisons (Peer Institutions). Other lists, however, may be more appropriate for precise comparisons, such as those involving specific units or academic departments.

Peer Institutions
Bucknell University (PA)Institutional Research Office
Butler University, (IN)Institutional Research Office
College of Charleston (SC)Institutional Research Office
College of William & Mary (VA)Institutional Research Office
Creighton University (NE)Institutional Research Office
Davidson College (NC)Institutional Research Office
Furman University (SC)Institutional Research Office
Ithaca College (NY)Institutional Research Office
James Madison University (VA)Institutional Research Office
Lehigh University (PA)Institutional Research Office
Loyola University (MD)Institutional Research Office
Rollins College (FL)Institutional Research Office
Santa Clara University (CA)Institutional Research Office
University of Richmond (VA)Institutional Research Office
Villanova University (PA)Institutional Research Office

With regard to a new list of Aspirant Institutions, the Long Range Planning Committee decided to focus on a list of institutions to be called “Programmatic Aspirants.”

Elon University aspires to become an even better Elon, committed to creating the preeminent community for engaged learning in the tradition of a liberal arts university and in the context of a residential living-learning environment.

In aspiring, the University looks to other colleges and universities that exemplify excellence, specifically excellence in practices central to high-impact teaching and learning environments and, moreover, excellence across a number of such practices. Institutions rising to this exemplar status are not limited to a category, but rather span from coast to coast, from large to small, from very high research to baccalaureate. It is not a category to which Elon aspires; it is to excellence.

The following institutions characterize such exemplar status, reflecting excellence within specific high-impact practices but also across a number of high-impact practices.

Programmatic Aspirants – Institutions with Exemplary Benchmark Characteristics

First Year Experiences

  • Bates College
  • Columbia University
  • Davidson College
  • Stanford University
  • University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of South Carolina
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Learning Communities

  • Syracuse University
  • University of South Carolina
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Yale University

Internships

  • American University
  • Cornell University
  • Drexel University
  • Holy Cross College
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Southern California

Service Learning

  • Brown University
  • Duke University
  • Georgetown University
  • Northeastern University
  • Stanford University
  • University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Senior Capstone

  • Brown University
  • Carleton College
  • College of Wooster
  • Duke University
  • Fordham University
  • Portland State University
  • Princeton University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Wagner University

Study Abroad

  • Boston College
  • Carleton College
  • Dickinson College
  • Goucher College
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Stanford University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Minnesota
  • Wake Forest University

Undergraduate Research

  • Carleton College
  • College of Wooster
  • Dartmouth College
  • Davidson College
  • Duke University
  • Northeastern University
  • Pomona College
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill
  • University of South Carolina
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Yale University

Writing in the Disciplines

  • Brown University
  • Carleton College
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • Middlebury College
  • North Carolina State University—Raleigh
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University

It is noted that in the U.S. News & World Report list of programs that are "Focused on Student Success," Elon is recognized for excellence in first-year experiences, learning communities, service learning, internships, study abroad, senior capstone experiences, and undergraduate research. Many institutions from Elon's peer list may also be recognized for excellence in some of these high-impact practices but they are not included in the aspirational list because they will already be included in our analysis as peers.

The peer and programmatic aspirant lists are for institutional comparisons and can be used in planning and benchmarking. Departments and programs are encouraged to benchmark appropriate comparison schools.