Spelman Rises Up In College Rankings, Credits New Innovation Curriculum

Spelman Rises Up In College Rankings, Credits New Innovation Curriculum

Atlanta-based Spelman College jumped 10 places to No. 51 on the U.S. News & World Report list of 2019 Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, and ranked No. 1 out of 80 schools on the list of Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Spelman tied in the liberal arts college rankings with Agnes Scott, Dickinson and Rhodes colleges, and Furman University.

The Best HBCU rankings compare academic quality at HBCUs in six categories: faculty resources, financial resources, student excellence, alumni giving, graduation rates, and assessment by administrators at peer HBCUs. This includes input from students, faculty and financial resources.

A graduate listens as first lady Michelle Obama delivers the commencement address to graduates of Spelman College on Sunday, May 15, 2011, at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, Ga. The First Lady also received an honorary degree. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser)


This is the 12th year in a row that Spelman has ranked No. 1 on the U.S. News Best HBCU list. As a college ranking list, U.S. News is considered the gold standard, according to Prep Scholar.

Spelman was founded in 1881 and it’s recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent, according to a Spelman College press release. The college is the country’s leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

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The rankings jump recognizes Spelman’s innovativeness, Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a prepared statement. The college gives students the skills and experiences they need to be successful in the 21st century:

“The recognition of our innovativeness comes at a time when we are developing an Innovation curriculum … To date, more than 200 faculty and student projects have been developed in our Innovation Lab, which will be the core of Spelman’s new academic building, the Center for Innovation and the Arts, that is currently under development.”

Spelman’s Innovation Lab in 2017 initiated a long-distance learning project with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. Innovation is part of the college’s strategic plan, Schmidt wrote in a 2017 year-end letter.

Outstanding Spelman alumnae include Rosalind Brewer, Starbucks Group President and COO; Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund Founder; Audrey Forbes Manley, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President; Janina Jeff, global bioinformatics geneticist; and author Pearl Cleage.

These are the top 10 Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities

No. 1: Spelman College
No. 2: Howard University
No. 3: Hampton University
Tied for No. 3: Morehouse College
No. 5: Xavier University of Louisiana
No. 6: Fisk University
No. 7: Claflin University
Tied for No. 7: North Carolina A&T State University
No. 9: Florida A&M University
No. 10: North Carolina Central University