Topics: Administrative, Miller College of Business

August 21, 2009

U.S. News & World Report is touting Ball State University's campus wide initiative to assist first-year students in succeeding at the college level as well as a challenging program that develops highly successful entrepreneurs.

In the publication's newest edition of "America's Best Colleges," Ball State is listed as one of a few schools across the country creating "First-Year Experiences" designed to make freshmen feel connected through seminars, themed housing or bringing small groups of students together with faculty.

This marks the sixth consecutive year the news magazine has honored Ball State for such innovative and award-winning programs, including summer bridge initiatives and Freshman Connections, which quickly integrate students into the campus.

"Our retention rate for freshmen returning for their sophomore year has grown by more than 4 percentage points in the last three years and stands at more than 78 percent," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. "That is especially impressive when so many colleges and universities are seeing declining enrollment, especially in this year of high unemployment and difficult economic conditions. We continue to fine-tune our programs to make them even more effective in enabling freshmen to succeed academically and to build meaningful campus relationships."

Ball State's undergraduate program in entrepreneurship is also ranked 10th by the magazine for the second consecutive year.

The program features a final pass-or-fail class that requires seniors to put their degrees on the line when their business plans are analyzed by a group of top business leaders just days before graduation.

Since 1999, the undergraduate entrepreneurship program has been consistently ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report. In 2007, Ball State was the only Indiana college or university listed in all three prominent national rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Entrepreneur/The Princeton Review and Fortune Small Business.

Rajib Sanyal, the newly appointed dean of the Miller College of Business, pointed out that the entrepreneurship program is one of the university's top groundbreaking initiatives and has been lauded nationally as the ultimate entrepreneurial experience.

"The Miller College of Business is well-known nationally for its commitment to academic excellence and student achievement," he said. "In our effort to provide our students with opportunities to immerse themselves in fast-growing fields, the college will soon add a major in sales. As a result, Ball State joins only a handful of institutions nationally — and the only one in Indiana — to have a major in sales."

Sanyal said Ball State has developed a highly regarded national reputation for its H.H. Gregg Center for Professional Selling, which is one of 12 full-time members of the University Sales Center Alliance. 

Students enrolled in the major will participate in immersive learning experiences, interact with business professionals, learn about emerging media in sales and marketing and have the opportunity to compete in regional and national sales competitions, he said.

The latest U.S. News honors come about three weeks after The Princeton Review named Ball State one of the best universities in the Midwest, placing it among the top 25 percent in the country. It marks the fifth consecutive year Ball State has been honored by the company.