Since its earliest days, Clark University has been known as an institution that is intellectually nimble, socially engaged, and perpetually restless with the status quo — and in recent years, its momentum has grown and its pace has quickened. Investments to enhance the campus landscape, the introduction of path-breaking programs and sophisticated technologies to prime our students for success beyond college, research that is addressing some of the most fundamental challenges to global survival, and long-standing community partnerships that continue to elevate our neighborhood and city all are indications that Clark is on the move.
And it is being noticed.
In its just-released 2022-2023 Best Colleges list, U.S. News & World Report recognizes Clark as one of the top 10 National Universities with enrollments of 5,000 and under. Clark also is among the top 100 National Universities overall and is ranked #38 in Best Value Schools, #41 for Best Undergraduate Teaching, and #53 in Top Programs to Look For: Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects.
There are many factors contributing to Clark’s momentum forward. Here are just a few examples:
Clark this year welcomed its largest-ever first-year class — 705 students from 34 states and 27 countries — which is both substantial in size and rich in diversity. Of the new class, 29 percent are BIPOC, 19 percent are the first in their family to attend a four-year college, and 6 percent are international students. With the addition of these incoming students, total undergraduate enrollment is around 2,350, compared with 2,270 in the pre-pandemic fall of 2019. Clark’s graduate admissions have also shown a substantial increase. Master’s-level programs enrolled about 580 new students this fall, the largest-ever class. But the numbers tell only part of the story, as Clark continues to attract students who express unique talents and pursue solutions to pressing problems with compassion and creativity.
To ensure that every student is supported and able to succeed, Clark is transitioning to a new Division of Student Success, bringing together all of the support services we provide to students — drawing from programs that currently are organized under the Dean of the College, the Dean of Students, and University Advancement. This restructuring is expected to improve student outcomes, including student retention and persistence, educational attainment, academic achievement, student advancement, and holistic personal development.
The Center for Media Arts, Computing, and Design, which is slated for completion in fall 2023, will dramatically advance Clark’s efforts to develop and refine knowledge and study in original and interconnected ways, and provide state-of-the-art technologies and spaces to fire students’ imaginations in areas like interactive media, film production, and robotics. The building will be home to the Becker School of Design & Technology (including BSDT’s internationally ranked game-design program), the Department of Computer Science, and some programs from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.
The purchase of 7.3 acres of land at the corner of Park Avenue and Maywood Street opens up the exciting prospect of establishing a “west campus,” which will be anchored by a new athletics/wellness center. This long-dormant parcel will be reenergized in a way that amplifies Clark’s institutional presence within Worcester, creates opportunities to work with community and city leaders, and affords the potential for more green space on campus.
Clark researchers are at the forefront of confronting global climate change; their investigations provide critical context to the impact of our behaviors and actions on an increasingly vulnerable planet. Our faculty in geography, International Development, Community, and Environment, and the George Perkins Marsh Institute earn significant grants to conduct essential climate and environmental studies, take leadership roles on international reports, serve on prestigious panels, and are sought-after sources for local, regional, and national media outlets to help frame humanity’s greatest challenge.
Clark’s enduring partnerships with Worcester and the surrounding communities remain vital through active engagement and critical action. University Park Campus School, which represents a nationally recognized partnership between the Worcester Public Schools and Clark, this year is celebrating 25 years of providing high-quality education to children in the Main South neighborhood. Clark faculty have aligned themselves with other essential needs and practices to benefit Worcester and its environs, from youth work to imaginative learning to the preservation of the Blackstone River.