The spirit, vision and leadership of Horace Mann, America’s first and strongest advocate of public education, lives on more than 175 years after Bridgewater State University first opened its doors for the purpose of training teachers. His belief, not only in the importance of public education, but also in standardizing - or normalizing - the training of teachers, led to the establishment of normal schools. In 1840, Bridgewater became the third such school in the commonwealth and along with its sister institutions, developed a comprehensive approach to teacher training that became a model emulated throughout the country and in many parts of the world.
Bridgewater grew as the educational needs of society evolved. Not only were more and better-qualified teachers essential to a healthy and prosperous citizenry, but also the demand for a college-level liberal arts curriculum required that the Massachusetts General Court expand course offerings at the normal schools and establish public institutions of higher education.
Today, Bridgewater State University stands as the comprehensive liberal arts university of Southeastern Massachusetts and the third largest public university - 10th largest overall of the 114 public or private in the commonwealth - with an enrollment exceeding 11,000 students. Bridgewater is designated as a Master’s/Large institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, participates in NCAA Division III athletics, and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), with its most recent decennial accreditation awarded in 2012.
Emphases on high-quality teaching, small classes, mentoring, civic responsibility, global citizenship and social justice are incorporated into the university’s growing number of innovative academic programs ensures that Bridgewater State University students are prepared to think critically, communicate effectively and act responsibly within a context of personal and professional ethics. Bridgewater serves a student population of which 95 percent hail from Massachusetts and more than 50 percent represent the first members of their families to attend college.
Students (Fall 2015)
Headcount - 11,089
Undergraduate - 9,608
Graduate - 1,481
Full time - 76 percent
Part time - 24 percent
New transfers - 1,041
First-time freshmen - 1,531
Students of color - 21 percent
Students living on campus - 41 percent
Full time - 28 percent
Part time - 72 percent
Students of color - 10 percent
Committed, full-time faculty are at the heart of any great institution of higher learning and Bridgewater has added 90 new faculty over the past dozen years - the fastest rate of growth among all of the larger colleges and universities in the commonwealth.
Bridgewater faculty are nationally recognized for their expertise in their fields of study. Many serve as consultants and advisors to corporations, nonprofit organizations, school systems and governmental agencies. They provide leadership to professional societies and conduct pioneering research in their respective fields.
Students work closely with faculty through a variety of innovative programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Enhanced opportunities for mentoring while keeping classes small improves the likelihood of student success. The average class size across the university as a whole is 22 students.
For a complete listing of all full-time faculty, see the Faculty and Librarians section of this catalog.
Total - 335
With terminal degree - 94 percent
Tenured (or tenure track) - 65 percent
Faculty of color - 17 percent
Student-faculty ratio: 19:1
The university’s academic programs (36 undergraduate majors and 80 graduate degree and certificate programs) are housed and administered through its six colleges: the College of Education and Allied Studies; the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Louis M. Ricciardi College of Business; the Bartlett College of Science and Mathematics; the College of Graduate Studies and the College of Continuing Studies.
Bridgewater affords students of all ages and backgrounds access to a variety of opportunities for learning and personal growth such as undergraduate research (which is ranked in the top 57 nationally by the Council on Undergraduate Research), international study, service learning, and participation in an array of social justice initiatives through the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice.
The university’s commitment to student success has earned national attention - the number nine ranking on The Education Trust Top-Gaining Four-Year Public Institutions list - as the university enjoys a six-year graduation rate closing in on 60 percent, well above the national average for its mission class, and the freshman-sophomore retention rate has risen to 79 percent.
These impressive numbers don’t end there as Bridgewater graduate students have the highest first-time CPA exam pass rate of any university in Massachusetts. The university has been named one of six Apple College of Distinction award winners across the U.S. for its iPad initiative in the College of Education and Allied Studies. All the while, Bridgewater continues as one of the most prolific educators of new preK-12 teachers in the commonwealth and readies more science and mathematics teachers annually than any institution in Massachusetts.
Each year, more than 400 students participate in paid internships offered by the university in collaboration with the Bridgewater State University Foundation; the campus community provides nearly $1 million in volunteer service to the region; and more than 750 students participate in the university’s research symposium as well as many national and regional research conferences. And the university continues to gain national attention in areas such as career services (17th best in the U.S.), commitment to fair trade (9th) and as one of the most attractive yet affordable campuses across the country (21st).
Bridgewater State University’s tradition of excellence has strengthened with each succeeding generation. The thriving, dynamic institution we see today.
For a complete listing of all programs currently offered at the university, see the Academic Programs section of this catalog.
Degrees & Certificates Awarded - Academic Year 2015-2016
Total - 2,551
Bachelor’s degrees - 1,939
Graduate degrees - 510
Certificates - 102