Clark highlighted in new edition of ‘Colleges That Change Lives’

Selective guide tags schools ‘that will change the way you think about colleges’

“What happens when you take the best of a liberal arts college and the best of a research university and mash them together? You get Clark. The university is in a field by itself.”

So begins the Clark University chapter of the newest edition of “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges,” released on Aug. 28.

Written by the late Loren Pope and revised by Hilary Masell Oswald, “COLLEGES THAT CHANGE LIVES” is known as a landmark college guide that introduces 40 colleges that “all share a mission to raise students’ trajectories and develop thinkers, leaders, and moral citizens. The little known truth is that these colleges have been on the cutting edge of higher education for decades.”

Clark has been highlighted in the guide since it was first published in 1996.

“For many years the book has been identified by hundreds of Clarkies as their first point of connection with the University,” said Don Honeman, Clark Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. “The most recent edition brings to life the Clark experience and emphasizes LEEP, our innovative approach to presenting a traditional liberal arts program that fosters the development of practical competencies and skills that will serve our students for a lifetime.

“Although Clark is featured as one of ‘40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges,’ even within this group, Clark stands out in some distinctive ways,” Honeman added. “We’re probably the only school in the group that combines a university identity with a personalized liberal arts experience, a research mission, and a vibrant urban setting.”

“COLLEGES THAT CHANGE LIVES” is widely acknowledged as an essential guidebook for discerning students. For the new edition, Masell Oswald made new tours of all schools, conducting in-depth interviews, and building on Pope’s original work. Organized into five geographic regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest), the profiles include vital information to make the college choice decision easier, including details about admissions standards, the curriculum, extracurricular activities, and educational philosophies.

The guide discusses Clark’s plans surrounding the LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) initiative: “In 2011, the university’s administrators and faculty were deeply engaged in a conversation about how to make sure that every Clark student had the kind of transformative experiences that lead to intellectual fulfillment and the skills they need to compete in the global marketplace. So Clark turned its research lens on itself, delving into what was happening with and to the students who seemed most transformed by their education.”

The Clark chapter touches on many aspects of the learning community – LEEP, the Difficult Dialogues program, the Accelerated B.A./Master’s Degree Program (with the fifth year tuition free), U-Reka Big Idea contest, and more. It includes several comments from administration, faculty, student and alumni sources. Some excerpts:

“We rally around issues the way some schools rally around their football teams.”

“You don’t have to worry about fitting a mold here.”

“I was seeking interdisciplinary collaboration, and I wanted students interested in making a change in the world. I got both.”

“Our top students can compete with any in the country.”

“At Clark, I met people who were actually interested in what they were studying. It was cool to be interested in ideas. I learned that what I had to say was valuable, and even if I’m wrong, I know how to learn form that.”

Pope was the education editor of The New York Times in the 1950s. He was also the founder of the College Placement Bureau, a college administrator, and the author of “Looking Beyond the Ivy League.” Pope died in 2008.

In an earlier edition of “COLLEGES THAT CHANGE LIVES,” Pope wrote, “Clark [has] something rare anywhere, but unique in New England: a four-star academic experience in a major research university.” He also included that Clark students have “the chance to do undergraduate research on big league projects.”

Masell Oswald lives in Denver, where she writes about education, architecture and design, and public policy. Her work has appeared in Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, Edutopia, and other publications and websites.

Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a small, liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark’s pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark’s faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to contemporary challenges in the areas of psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University’s motto: Challenge convention. Change our world. www.clarku.edu