In 2010, Hendrix College was voted the #1 up and coming liberal arts school in the nation by US News and World Report, though the school has been around since 1876 in one form or another. First a primary school called Central Institute in Altus, Arkansas it grew to include secondary and collegiate classes before being purchase and moved to its present location in Conway, Arkansas in the last decade of the 19th century. An all-male school then, it has since merged and demerged with Henderson University, then merged with the Galloway Women’s College in 1933 to become the “small, coeducational, undergraduate, residential, liberal arts, church-related institution” it is today (though much more secular, regardless of its surviving church relations).
With a student body of around 1450 undergrad students, the now 36 building and growing campus spans 180 acres in Conway (about 30 minutes from Little Rock). They offer majors in 30+ degreeable fields (plus another 30 or so complimentary minors) and offer a strong liberal arts backed education, with general education requirements based on three parts: The Collegiate Center, which focuses on cultural/contemporary education, Learning Domains, encompassing the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, and Capacities, which covers the “fundamental skills” of a multitude of basic disciplines.
Hendrix has always valued experiential education (learning through doing) and their programs are designed around this concept of hands on learning. They maintain a strong student teacher ratio of 12:1, utilizing an average class size of 18-20 to maintain the close relationships needed for personalized education. Though some online classes are offered at the school, the value on working with faculty and other students has led to programs that go beyond what the computer screen offers, taking students into real areas of work and study in their majors.
The Hendrix Odyssey program is a fine example of their commitment to experiential learning. Demanding that students pick three programs of study to accentuate their academic experience, the Odyssey program provides a flexible addition to your education. Choosing from subject like Artistic Creativity, Global Awareness, Undergraduate Research, and Service to the World, it offers not only and experiential transcript that is attached to your academic one (which is similar to the work experience part of resumes), students can “take specialized courses, [participate] in pre-approved activities, or [propose] their own projects”. This is a customizable aspect of the college is a requirement meant to add more structure to the abstract idea of experiential learning, allowing you and future employers to have a real idea of what your skills are and how they apply in the real world.
They also offer an Honors programs to challenge the best and brightest, as well as a condensed Maymester, allowing for one course to be condensed and taken over a three week span, meeting for five 2 ½ hour classes over a three week span in late May (though not offered to freshman).
Popular majors include English Lit, Psychology, and History, but their approach to teaching is what really has put Hendrix on the recognition map recently (garnering awards from Forbes to the Princeton review in the last decade). For an old girl, the college keeps learning new tricks, looking to constantly adapt and evolve in offering academic programs to keep with their motto of “unto the whole person”.