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We're No. 4!

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College was on cloud nine in 2010 when the institution of higher learning was ranked No. 6 in the nation for two-year colleges.

No word on what cloud they're on following the announcement that Washington Monthly magazine had recently moved the school higher in the rankings, to No. 4.

As the only Wisconsin school ranked in the Top 10, WITC has bragging rights galore. WITC touts four campuses in northwest Wisconsin -- New Richmond, Rice Lake, Superior and Ashland.

Joe Huftel, campus administrator at WITC's New Richmond campus, said news of the improved standing was a great way to start the new school year.

"We've improved our standing each of the three times this list has been published," he said. "It is a testament to the quality of our faculty and staff. The most important thing we do as a college is hire good people."

Approximately 700 two-year colleges across the nation were evaluated for the ranking study. Schools that do well in terms of student satisfaction and graduation rates gain the highest scores.

"I know for certain that the student experience -- from when they first enter the building ... right through their course of study to graduation, is one where they are treated with courtesy -- respect and professionalism," Huftel said.

In 2007, Washington Monthly created the first-ever list of America's best community/technical colleges and ranked WITC seventh. In 2010, WITC moved up to sixth.

WITC President Bob Meyer said the board, administration and staff are extremely proud of and pleased with the ranking.

"The movement up in the rankings is confirmation that the college's strategic plan and continuous improvement activities are making a difference for our students," Meyer said. "These results show how incredibly committed WITC's entire staff is to making the students' experience at WITC outstanding and rewarding."

The survey used in the ranking system is comprised of more than 100 questions on a range of topics, including teaching practices, student workload, interaction with faculty and student support.

WITC's highest scores were reflected in the "active and collaborative learning" category. The WITC benchmark for "student-faculty interaction" was also high.

The Washington Monthly ranking supports WITC's recent graduate follow-up survey, according to Meyer. Ninety-seven percent of the graduates were satisfied with the training they received at WITC and indicated that they would recommend WITC to a friend or family member.

WITC serves the educational and career needs of more than 25,000 residents of northwestern Wisconsin each year. With multiple campuses, WITC offers career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized business training, and a wide array of courses for personal or career enrichment.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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