Five Colleges of Ohio
|The Ohio Five|
|Other names||The Little Five|
The Five Colleges of Ohio is an academic consortium of five selective private liberal arts colleges in the US state of Ohio. It is a nonprofit educational consortium established in 1995 to promote the broad educational and cultural objectives of its member institutions. The consortium is an outgrowth of a highly successful collaboration and friendly academic and athletic rivalries among the five institutions.
The members are:
The designation Ohio Five or Ohio Six (including Antioch College) first appeared at the typewriters of journalists in Ohio in the beginning of the twentieth century. The grouping, predating of any formal agreement, was immediately adopted by the press as a foreshadowing of an Ohio league of schools with similar academic and athletic reputations, which, at the time was a common perception. During the 1800s, in their evangelistic campaign to build a Christian community across the U.S. from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Protestant churches of the 19th century used the denominational college as an intellectual stronghold. By the Civil War era, the churches had founded some 40 colleges in Ohio alone, to ensure for the state a Christian core and to train the ministers who plodded after the frontiersmen across the plains. Empty treasuries and denominational rivalry had killed off all but 20 of these Ohio colleges by the 1950s. Of the survivors, educators often grouped six colleges together in the early 1900s because of their high academic standing — Oberlin College, Denison University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Kenyon College, College of Wooster and Antioch College.
Though that perception has since shrunk to include five schools, for years, the Five Colleges members had already been allied in sports leagues in basketball, soccer, running, baseball, swimming and lacrosse. Through these other scheduling arrangements, the college athletic directors were used to dealing with each other in matters of administration or the exchange of calculated confidences.
The consortium among the five schools was founded in the early 1990s after informal discussions have been formalized by the incorporation of the organization on June 30, 1995. The five colleges had been affiliated as members of state and national educational and athletic organizations and had enjoyed friendly rivalry in various academic and athletic competitions, similar to Little Three in New England.
A grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, awarded in June 1995, provided for the development of a joint library system, establishment of an administrative structure, and investigation of the benefits and methods for sharing digital images and multimedia resources, establishing The Five Colleges of Ohio, Inc. as a legal entity.
Collaboration among the five schools occurs in several general areas:
The five colleges collaborate on various academic projects. During 2004 and 2005 collaboration has been active in language videoconferencing in languages that are less commonly taught. The five colleges collaborate in the instruction of Arabic language courses and significant applications of teaching technology in joint teaching enterprises.
A recent project, began in May 2006, focused on how creativity and critical reasoning develop and are embedded in the liberal arts curriculum of each member college. The project will provide a quantitative understanding of how student at each college define "creativity" and "critical reasoning" and how these two attributes change as a result of their academic experiences in a liberal arts college.
The colleges currently maintain a central clearing house for employment opportunities at the five schools.
The libraries of Denison University, Kenyon College, Ohio Wesleyan University, and the College of Wooster share an integrated library system called CONSORT. The primary objective of this endeavor by the schools is to maximize the ability to share a diverse book collection and other electronic resources. Oberlin College maintains its own integrated library system called OBIS.
The members also collaborate on various technology-related projects. For example, in order to be able to handle environmental impact cost efficiently, environmental health and safety (EHS) managers of the five schools meet into one central resource team, called the EHS Roundtable.
The five schools have been athletic rivals for almost a century now. The informal athletic rivalry was formalized in 1984 when the five colleges left the Ohio Athletic Conference to form a new league, beginning with the 1984–85 academic year. A desire for greater uniformity in academic and athletic standards was cited as the major motive for the withdrawal of these schools from the OAC. .
It was in February, 1983 that the North Coast Athletic Conference was created to "foster a complementary relationship between intercollegiate athletics and the pursuit of academic excellence". . Each league member was to have seven sports for both men and women and each school would go off campus for recruiting. It was decided that there would be no athletic scholarships.
Wooster sponsors 22 varsity sports – 11 for men and 11 for women. Both the men's and women's teams are now known as the Fighting Scots. Kenyon's nickname is Lords and Ladies, and Denison's teams are known as Big Red. Oberlin's teams are known as the Yeomen and the Ohio Wesleyan's nickname is the Battling Bishops.
Denison and Wooster share an historic rivalry in American football, which has been very closely contested. The series dates back to the Scots' first intercollegiate football game in 1889, which Wooster won 48–0. Ohio Wesleyan and Denison share the same rivalry in lacrosse.
A majority of students at all five schools self-identify themselves as liberal. Students at Oberlin, Kenyon and Wesleyan have the highest percentage of liberal students while Denison attracts the highest percentage of students who identify as conservative and very conservative.
The curriculum at all of the five schools is highly structured and academically rigorous. Generally, the four basic elements—the required humanities sequence, the breadth of study requirement, and a senior thesis (Independent Study at Wooster, Senior Exercise at Kenyon) — creates a mix for strong component of interdisciplinary work with study of traditional majors.
First- and second-year students at each one of the colleges develop a strong a background in a broad context of liberal arts classes. Classes like Love and Sex at Ohio Wesleyan University, Philosophy of Art at Kenyon College or the Oberlin Film Series at Oberlin College provide opportunities for humanistic and scientific study. The junior and senior years at each college provide opportunities for intensive examination of the subject matter and techniques of a more narrowly defined academic discipline.
Other features of the student bodies at the five schools exist. Oberlin attracts the highest percent of out-of-state students, followed by Kenyon and Ohio Wesleyan. Ohio Wesleyan has the highest percent of international students among the five schools and currently has the fifth highest percentage of international students among all liberal arts colleges. Oberlin and Wooster typically have the highest percentage of students continuing for PhD degrees immediately following graduation.
- "THE OHIO SIX". Time Magazine. September 30, 1957 Vol. LXX No. 14.
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