Williams Baptist University receives high ranking for “social mobility”

From Region 8 News at Six
Published: Oct. 30, 2023 at 5:26 PM CDT
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WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - A Northeast Arkansas college recently received a high ranking for its ability to graduate students from “economically challenging” backgrounds.

In a US News College Ranking, Williams Baptist University ranked 24 in the nation, and second in Arkansas in the social mobility category.

The high ranking is due to WBU’s graduation rates of students who come from financially challenging backgrounds.

“This school was founded with a heart for that first-generation student, or that student that comes from an economically challenged situation,” said WBU President Dr. Stan Norman.

Dr. Norman said the study doesn’t look at a certain period, but over, how many of these students are graduating.

“This ranking that we received is not about what we’ve been doing lately but is true to our legacy of this kind of education,” Dr. Norman said.

In 2019, the college’s Williams Works program began, allowing students to work to offset the cost of their education.

The program will begin to graduate students who began the program when it started very soon, and the college believes this will only improve its ranking.

“We believe our Williams Works initiative is only going to build upon and expand this ranking,” Dr. Norman explained.

Student Isaac Jones explained seeing fellow students graduate, like him, who may not have been able to attend college without a program like Williams Works, is something he’s looking forward to.

“If not for Williams Works, I would not be going to college right now,” Jones explained. “To see the ones that I’m going to graduate with and get the diploma for going through Williams Works is going to be awesome and it’s going to be very emotional.”

Dr. Norman said at the end of the day, he’s grateful for the ranking, but it’s all about continuing to do what it has done for so long.

“We don’t do this for the rankings. We can’t control those. We can control remaining faithful in our mission to continue to do this, to do it better, to do it more, and to reach as many students as we possibly can,” Dr. Norman added.