Rollins Ranked No. 1 for Undergraduate Teaching

September 14, 2020

By Audrey St. Clair ’03

Physics professor and student exploring the universal via digital projection.
Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program has funded original research partnerships for 20 years. Photo by Scott Cook.

U.S. News & World Report has recognized Rollins for its exceptional commitment to teaching undergraduate students.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Rollins No. 1 for best undergraduate teaching programs among regional universities in the South in its 2021 rankings of the nation’s best colleges.

For the second consecutive year, Rollins received the No. 1 accolade among the 142 colleges and universities in its category, which is composed of schools that provide a full range of undergraduate and master’s-level programs.

U.S. News & World Report’s best undergraduate teaching rankings focus on schools whose faculty demonstrate an unusually strong commitment to teaching undergraduate students. So it comes as no surprise that Rollins landed in the top spot given the College’s long-standing cachet as the headquarters of engaged learning.

The College’s 10:1 student-faculty ratio and average class size of just 17 mean that Rollins students receive personalized attention inside and outside the classroom from faculty who know not just their names, but their goals and dreams. Professors become mentors who help guide students on their pathway through Rollins, invested in the personal and professional development of each student as they work toward their most ambitious pursuits.

Karina Barbesino ’19 and her mentor, Chinese professor Li Wei.
Karina Barbesino ’19 and her mentor, Chinese professor Li Wei.Photo by Scott Cook.

When Karina Barbesino ’19 enrolled in Chinese professor Li Wei’s Elementary Mandarin Chinese course, she was testing the waters of what Rollins had to offer. What she found was the beginning of a lifelong relationship with both languages and Wei, who became a sounding board, ally, and advisor on every step of her Rollins journey.

“It was my relationship with Professor Wei that led me to an Asian studies major,” says Barbesino, who also majored in international relations and is now a full-time researcher at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs focused on America’s policy with China. “And it was the small dedicated group of professors in the computer science department who drove me to stick with my minor despite my initial struggles. I can’t speak highly enough about the professors and the relationships I made at Rollins. They were a driving force.”

At Rollins, students forge lifelong relationships with our expert professors through our intimate, discussion-based courses, formalized one-on-one advising, and impromptu conversations in the halls of Bush Science Center and the collaborative spaces in Kathleen W. Rollins Hall. That student-faculty bond is strengthened while working side by side on everything from original collaborative research to life-changing service projects and globetrotting field studies.

Student and professor performing laser research in Rollins’ acoustics lab.
Lauren Neldner ’20 performed original research alongside her mentor, physics professor Thom Moore, each of her eight semesters at Rollins.Photo by Scott Cook.

“From day one at Rollins, my professors cared about my interests, about me as a person,” says aspiring seismologist Lauren Neldner ’20, who conducted research alongside her mentor, physics professor Thom Moore, each semester at Rollins. “They implored me to reach out and explore, to get outside my comfort zone, where they knew I’d develop not just technical skills, but communication, problem-solving, and people skills.”

At Rollins, our expert professors are a lot of things. They’re distinguished researchers and esteemed scholars. They’re flatpicking guitarists and medieval masters. But above all else, they’re teachers. Inventive, inspiring teachers dedicated to helping every student chart their changemaking course to a meaningful life and productive career.

In addition to recognizing the College for its uncommon commitment to undergraduate teaching, U.S. News & World Report ranked Rollins the No. 1 regional university in the South. The College was also named a best value school, praised for its undergraduate business program, and recognized as one of the South’s most innovative institutions.

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