Bethel University Honored Among National Colleges of Distinction

Lissa Diaz

Bethel University is one of 10 Indiana colleges to be recognized as a 2020 College of Distinction, and one of 62 schools in the nation to be named a Christian College of Distinction. This honor is given to colleges and universities that excel in the Four Distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.

Additionally, Bethel received program-specific recognition in business, education and nursing. These additional accolades were born out of a need for college curricula that are comprehensive not only in course material, but also in practical- and soft-skills development. Bethel has met these needs with a blend of liberal arts education, program-specific training, and abundant opportunities for real-world application.

“We complete a thorough review of the programs before granting the honors,” said Tyson Schritter, Chief Operating Officer for Colleges of Distinction. “We’re looking for qualities such as accreditation, breadth of program, advising and mentoring, integration of career services, and successful outcomes for students. It’s wonderful to see how Bethel University really exemplifies these qualities.”

Colleges of Distinction’s selection process conducts in-depth research and detailed interviews with the schools themselves about each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan, student satisfaction, and more — and accepting only those that adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. This model prioritizes the opportunities institutions have for students that make for a fulfilling, individualized college experience.

Founder Wes Creel created Colleges of Distinction to draw more attention to schools like Bethel University, whose student-centered education prevails in applying theory to practice while fostering a dynamic learning community.

“Each school is different, just as every student is different,” said Creel. “There is no number-one college for everyone, so we never rank those in our cohort.” Bethel’s inclusion is informed by the unique ways it commits to achieving success.

Creel and his colleagues found that the most pervasive rankings systems rely on metrics like peer reputation, size of endowment, and alumni salaries. They knew instead that most critical to the student experience were the kinds of engaging experiences that are found at Bethel: mentoring from faculty/staff, first year experience (FYE), urban ministry experience (UME), task force trips, semester abroad opportunities (including Bethel’s Summer in Spain immersive experience), community engagement, undergraduate research opportunities, a state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab, a kindergarten lab on campus and internships/fieldwork built into academic programs, to name a few. 

To view Bethel’s profile or to find more information about the innovative learning experiences it offers, visit the Colleges of Distinction's website

About Colleges of Distinction: Now in its 20th year, Colleges of Distinction is committed to honoring schools throughout the U.S. for true excellence in higher education. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their dedicated focus on the undergraduate experience. For more information, visit

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