Measuring Quality at Dalton State
When we ask our students why they choose Dalton State, we hear the same three things over and over again: they choose Dalton State because they believe they can get an affordable, quality college education close to home.
Our affordability is key, especially in the current economy, and we are proud to offer one of the most affordable four-year college educations in the country. As many of our students are the first in their families to go to college (59 percent self-reported that they are first generation college students in 2010), we know that proximity to home is critical.
But how do you measure the quality of a college education? Let me offer a few suggestions.
You can start by looking at class size. Our student to teacher ratio is 20 to one. There are no 300-student classes on our campus, so students never feel lost in the crowd. Add to that the fact that all our teachers are college faculty, no graduate students or teaching assistants.
You can consider the credentials of our faculty. Our teaching staff brings a diversity of education and experience to our campus that enriches the learning experience for our students. Our faculty hold doctorates from institutions including Northwestern University, University of Oxford, Penn State, Boston College, Brandeis, Carnegie Mellon, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, University of Virginia, Rutgers, Tufts, Purdue, Marquette, University of Alberta, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, George Washington, Washington & Lee, Michigan State, Kansas, Southern Cal, Arkansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Indiana, Ohio State, Florida State, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Maryland, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and many others.
Pass rates on professional certification exams can be an important indicator of quality. Consider these:
For 2010, the most recent year for which we have figures, Dalton State graduates earned:
- 98 percent pass rate on the GACE II teacher certification exam (The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently reported that ours was one of only four teacher education programs in the state to have such a high pass rate);
- 100 percent pass rate on the Radiologic Technology national certification exam the last 12 years (national average is 88-91 percent);
- 100 percent pass rate for the last five years on the Medical Laboratory Technologist certification exam (national pass rate 69-81 percent for the same period);
- 100 percent pass rate for the first three years of our Respiratory Therapy program (national pass rate: 79-80 percent).
Is quality measured by employment placements?
Keeping in mind the tough economy of the last few years, consider these employment rates for our 2010 graduates:
- 100 percent for the School of Social Work;
- 85 percent for our School of Business, including 97 percent for Management majors and 100 percent for Operations Management graduates;
- 100 percent for our Medical Laboratory Technologist grads;
- 97 percent for Licensed Practical Nursing graduates;
- 90 percent for Respiratory Therapist graduates;
- Our School of Education placed 60 percent of its graduates last year at a time when few teachers are being added anywhere.
Is program accreditation a fair measure of quality?
Our School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International and our Schools of Education and Social Work and all of our health profession programs are likewise accredited.
By any of these measures, I hope you would conclude that Dalton State offers a quality, affordable college education close to home for residents of Northwest Georgia.