November 28, 2021
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“I think Catawba has begun to market what makes us different in a lot of ways, and that may be why we are moving up in their rankings,” Dr. J. Michael Bitzer says in response to a rapid movement upwards for Catawba in a variety of college rankings.  Placed fourth best southern college in the most recent 2017 edition of “U.S. News Best Colleges Ranking,” Catawba is certainly different than many of the other schools featured with an idyllic campus and caring staff, and has jumped an incredible 11 places on the annual list.

Ahead of Catawba at one, two, and three are High Point University also in North Carolina, Flagler College of Florida, and Arkansas’s University of the Ozarks.  Catawba is the second-smallest of these four schools, only behind University of the Ozarks, and has the lowest acceptance rate for incoming students.  Catawba shares a 13:1 student-faculty ratio with High Point and Ozarks.  Only Catawba and Flagler have no classes with over 50 students, ensuring students get the attention they deserve from the dedicated faculty.

This new ranking comes after a 15th place finish in the 2016 issue just a year ago.  While this ranking is an important one, it’s not the only college ranking system that has placed Catawba as one of the best schools in not only the south but the entire country.  Catawba was listed on Forbes’ “America’s Top Colleges” for the sixth consecutive year this summer, and has received further accolades for specialized majors.

In Tune Monthly named Catawba as one of the Best Music Schools of 2017 and featured two Catawba College alumni.  In a previous interview, Catawba Music Department Chair Dr. David Lee Fish cited the school’s modest reputation as a reason for its success in his field saying, “We’re a school that doesn’t have that much of a spotlight on us, and I’m happy about that.  I think that too much attention can wind up being the proverbial tail wagging the dog – you do things as much for the media value as the education value.”

One of Catawba’s most popular majors, Drama and Theatre Arts, has earned the school the honor of being ninth in “Best College Theater” for the Princeton Review’s 2017 edition of “The Best 381 Colleges.”  The department’s 2016-2017 season recently kicked off with repertory productions How I Learned To Drive and Exit the King presented by Catawba’s theatrical club Blue Masque.  The season continues October 25-27th, 29th, and 30th with Radium Girls.

[This article is featured in the Fall 2016 Print Edition of the Catawba Pioneer.]

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