NACOGDOCHES, Texas – For the second year in a row, Stephen F. Austin State University has been named a College of Distinction for supporting undergraduate experiences grounded in a philosophy of well-rounded, individualized engagement, with graduates entering the workforce ready to adapt in an ever-changing society.
Already honored in 2020 for its high-impact approach to education, SFA has again been recognized for business, education, nursing, engineering and career development, with new honors for military support and equity and inclusion.
SFA President Scott Gordon said he was pleased with the College of Distinction recognition, but not surprised by it.
“The faculty and staff at SFA are focused on giving students the programs and support they need to craft a college experience that prepares them for a career after they graduate,” he said. “Experiential learning is a big part of what we do at SFA, and it’s good that it’s being recognized nationally.”
The new 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, Gordon said.
“SFA has met these needs with a blend of liberal arts education, program-specific training, and abundant opportunities for hands-on, real-world application,” he said.
Elements that go into the evaluation include accelerated programs, distance learning, independent study and internships, student-designed majors and study abroad opportunities. Colleges of Distinction doesn’t rank schools, but rather the degree to which universities embrace the complexities of the student experience, giving graduates the ability to become lifelong learners, according to Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer for Colleges of Distinction
“We complete a thorough review of the programs in question before giving the awards,” Schritter said. “We’re looking for such qualities as accreditation, breadth of program, advising and mentoring, integration of career services, and successful outcomes for students. It’s wonderful to see how SFA really exemplifies these qualities.”
Since 2000, the Colleges of Distinction website and guidebook have honored schools throughout the U.S. for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education. The schools in the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through a focus on the undergraduate experience. The website and guidebooks provide dynamic college profiles, customized tools and resources for students, parents and high school counselors.