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Spelman College Remains No. 1 HBCU, Ranked in Top 10 for Social Mobility and Innovation by U.S. News & World Report Share a Spelman College Press Release

For Immediate Release

Joyce Davis
Director of Marketing & Communications
Spelman College
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

Spelman US News RankingATLANTA (Sept. 9, 2019) – Spelman College earned several top spots on the 2020 U.S. News & World Report’s list of college rankings. The College is listed as No. 6 on the inaugural list of Top Performers on Social Mobility and made a significant jump to No. 6 on the list of Most Innovative Colleges, up from No. 35 in 2019.

Spelman is also listed as the No. 1 HBCU for the 13th year in a row and debuted on two lists: No. 22 on the list of Best Undergrad Teaching and No. 32 on the Study Abroad list. The College is No. 57 on the list of National Liberal Arts Colleges and No. 98 on the list of Best Value Colleges, up from No. 104 in 2019.

Social Mobility

Spelman has excelled in being a dominant factor in its graduates moving from one economic strata to another. “Social mobility is a critical measure of college outcomes. We appreciate U.S. News & World Report’s recognition of Spelman’s ability to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives our students,” said Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. “The recognition that our undergraduate teaching, academic innovation, and overall value contribute to the increased social mobility of our graduates is important as we strengthen programs and develop new initiatives and partnerships to continue providing students with the competitive advantage they need to be successful in this 21st century environment."

Spelman College Art Collective US News

Over the last year, Spelman has announced significant innovative initiatives in terms of curriculum, faculty, students and campus life, including:

Undergraduate Teaching

Spelman’s faculty are receiving significant grants, publishing valuable research and receiving recognition for innovative best practices. A selection of our faculty excellence includes:

  • Aditi Pai, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and co-director of Spelman’s Teaching Resource & Research Center, has had a significant impact on student success through her innovative genetics and genealogy pedagogical approach. "Spelman College has transformed the outcomes of an introductory biology course, brilliantly conceived and masterfully taught by Dr. Aditi Pai, through the introduction of meaningfully-interpreted personalized DNA information,” said Dr. Pai’s collaborator, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Ph.D., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, who’s PBS series “Finding Your Roots” serves as the basis of the initiative, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. “Her innovative approach realizes a stunning 90 percent pass rate for students electing to do the DNA test and a 20 percent increase in knowledge retention. It should become a model for teaching biology in the college classroom, especially to minority students.”
  • Leyte Winfield, Ph.D., an associate professor of chemistry and biology, was awarded an Academic Writing Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation.
  • “Hair Piece: a film for nappyheaded people,” directed by Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., division chair for the arts, chair of the Department of Art & Visual Culture and professor, was entered into the 2018 U.S. National Film Registry.
  • Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper, Ph.D., the Fuller E. Calloway Professor of English, was featured in a New York Times article on the political power of Black women during the 2018-midterm elections.

Best Value

To increase value, Spelman is providing students with extensive co-curricular opportunities, including those via study abroad and internships.

  • For the 2018-2019 academic year, a new record of 474 students, nearly 25 percent of Spelman’s enrolled students, had global travel experiences in 33 countries, which is a 17 percent increase in the number of students traveling and an 18 percent increase in the number of destinations traveled from the previous year.
  • Over the last five years, an average of 75 percent of the senior classes have reported having an internship during their matriculation at Spelman. For the class of 2019, 92 percent reported having an internship during their years at Spelman and 77 percent have studied abroad before graduating.

About Spelman College 
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 57 among all liberal arts colleges and No. 1 among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit


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