University Communications


2021-2022 College of Distinction

St. Cloud State named a College of Distinction in 2021-22 cohort

St. Cloud State University has been recognized for its honorable commitment to engaged, experiential education by Colleges of Distinction,

a one-of-a-kind guide for college-bound students. As an institution whose primary goals are based on student success and satisfaction, St. Cloud State is now designated as one of the renowned Colleges of Distinction.

Colleges of Distinction boasts its longstanding support for student-centered schools that traditional rankings often overlook. Founder Wes Creel created Colleges of Distinction to draw more attention to schools like St. Cloud State whose student-centered education prevails in applying theory to practice while fostering a dynamic learning community.

“We are delighted to be identified as a College of Distinction,” said St. Cloud State University President Robbyn Wacker. “Several key features of the Colleges of Distinction guide are the very focus of It’s Time, SCSU’s guiding framework for creating a new university.  A designation like this demonstrates our commitment as a university to provide a premier education for our students as they choose from nationally ranked programs, connect with inspiring faculty, gain valuable hands-on experiences, and receive individualized attention for their success.”

Colleges of Distinction’s selection process includes conducting in-depth research and detailed interviews with the schools themselves about each institution’s first year experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan, student satisfaction, and more — and accepting only those that adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. Overlaid in the last few years have been a look into High-Impact Practices. This model prioritizes the opportunities institutions have for students that make for a fulfilling, individualized college experience. Creel and his colleagues have consistently found that the most pervasive rankings systems rely on metrics like peer reputation, size of endowment, and alumni salaries.

“Each school is different, just as every student is different,” Creel said. “There is no number-one college for everyone, so we never rank those in our cohort.”

St. Cloud State’s inclusion in the Colleges of Distinction, however, is informed by the unique ways the institution commits to achieving success. Most notably, is the university’s It’s Time framework for the future, with its emphasis on innovation, bold thinking, and focus as SCSU builds on its strengths with distinct and relevant programs in fields of holistic health and wellness, leadership, education, and  engineering and applied sciences. Further yet, they demonstrate that most critical to the student experience are the kinds of engaging experiences that are found at St. Cloud State University. Some such as student success coaches, the Huskies Advance program, and the creation of learning environments to support learning between faculty, students, and industry partners stem directly from the institution’s It’s Time framework. Other efforts include: a community living requirement, the Huskies First Four (new student orientation), Our Husky Compact, service learning, intensive writing courses, interdisciplinary programs, experiential learning, undergraduate research, classwork with faculty that is directly linked to industry partnerships and projects, capstone projects, study abroad programs, internships, and extensive engagement with Career Services.

“Showcasing St. Cloud State University through Colleges of Distinction is a wonderful way to share our story,” said Dr. Jason Woods, St. Cloud State University vice president for strategic enrollment management. “We offer so many opportunities for all of our students as they begin their academic studies as an undergraduate, transfer from another institution, or join us as a graduate student. We encourage future Huskies and their families to begin what will be a life-changing experience with St. Cloud State University!”

 “It’s inspiring to see St. Cloud State University commit to the learning styles and community involvement that will best allow their students to thrive,” Creel said.  

About St. Cloud State University

Founded in 1869, St. Cloud State University prepares students for life, work and citizenship in the 21st century on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, Minnesota. In its rigorous and market-relevant academic programs, students apply their knowledge in real-world settings. With a significant emphasis on individualized student support, the institution’s 200 undergraduate academic programs, 62 masters and doctoral degrees serve more than 12,000 students. St. Cloud State is leading into the future by boldly altering the way serves a new generation of students with a focus on research and innovation. Learn more about St. Cloud State University at

About Colleges of Distinction

Since 2000, Colleges of Distinction has been committed to honoring schools throughout the U.S. for true excellence in higher education. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their dedicated focus on the undergraduate experience. Its website provides dynamic college profiles, customized tools, and resources for students, parents, and high school counselors. For more information, and to learn how to become a College of Distinction, visit