Elon faculty named best in the nation for undergraduate teaching

Elon continues to be the leader in the “Programs to Look For” feature as the only college or university in the country ranked in the top 20 in all eight categories of academic programs linked to student success and positive learning outcomes.

Elon University has been ranked #1 in the nation for excellence in undergraduate teaching for a third straight year by peer universities, according to the annual rankings released Monday by U.S. News & World Report. The ranking focuses on national universities whose faculty and staff are committed to teaching undergraduate students in a high-quality manner.

Students walking on Elon's campus in fall with U.S. News badgeSince Elon moved into the National Universities category in the 2020 U.S. News rankings, when higher education leaders are asked each year about universities that perform at the highest levels, Elon has ranked #1 or #2 among this list of universities that offer the highest quality of undergraduate instruction.

“By keeping students at the center of Elon’s mission, we are laying the groundwork for their continued success well beyond their time at our university,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “Our ranking for undergraduate teaching recognizes the meaningful relationships that are at the core of an Elon education.”

Top 10 national universities recognized for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” this year:

#1 — Elon University
#2 — Georgia State University
#3 — Brown University
#4 — Princeton University
#5 — Dartmouth College
#6 (tied) — Rice University
#6 (tied) — William & Mary
#8 — Boston College
#9 — Duke University
#10 — Howard University

In other rankings, for a ninth straight year, Elon is the national leader in the annual U.S. News “Best Colleges” guide’s “Programs to Look For” feature as the only college or university ranked among the top 20 in all eight categories of programs that are linked to student success and positive learning outcomes.

Students in caps and gowns at Elon's commencementThat recognition is across a broad range of programs including study abroad, first-year experiences, learning communities, internships and undergraduate research. Elon ranked #1 in first-year experiences and learning communities, and was among the top 12 in all eight categories this year. Other highly ranked institutions include Duke University, ranked in the top 20 in seven categories, Agnes Scott in the top 20 in six categories, and Brown University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan and Yale University each ranked in five categories.

“The programs to look for rankings are based on Elon’s strong reputation among higher education leaders, who have given high marks to our programs that promote experiential learning and student success,” said Book.

Elon has the following rankings in the eight academic and cocurricular programs linked to student success and positive learning outcomes:

#1 — Learning Communities
#1 (tied) — First-Year Experiences
#3 — Service Learning
#4 (tied) — Study Abroad
#8 — Co-ops/Internships
#9 — Senior Capstone
#11 — Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects
#12 — Writing in the Disciplines

Elon was again recognized as one of the country’s most innovative schools, earning a #13 ranking in the category. The Most Innovative national universities list includes those making innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

U.S. News significantly overhauled the metrics and types of data incorporated into the overall national rankings this year, eliminating factors such as class size, alumni giving, high school class rank of undergraduates, and the percent of faculty with terminal degrees. Within this revised criteria, which university leadership are reviewing to further understand the changes, Elon ranked #133 among national universities, which includes institutions that focus on research and offer multiple doctoral programs. Elon ranked #55 among national universities for its student graduation and retention rates.

Elon moved to the National Universities category in 2019 after being classified as a Doctoral/Professional University by the Carnegie Classification of Colleges. The top schools in the National Universities category this year are, in rank order: Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Brown University, Johns Hopkins University and Northwestern University.

U.S. News & World Report has been producing college rankings since 1983. The rankings are based on an extensive annual data survey of institutions along with opinion surveys of university faculty and administrators. Its methodology is available here.