Mills College Is a Powerful Force for Social Change Says Fiske Guide to Colleges

Oakland, CA—July 26, 2021

Two students discuss a text with Mills College Professor of Ethnic Studies Natalee Kehaulani-BauerThe Fiske Guide to Colleges 2022 features Mills College among its selection of 320+ of the “best and most interesting” four-year undergraduate institutions in the nation. Drawing on student insights and administrative data, this annual bestselling index provides guidance to prospective college students about the signature programs, campus community, and student culture of hundreds of colleges.

Of Mills, Fiske reports on the College’s long-time commitment to promoting equality over the course of its 170 years, noting the school’s “fascinating history” as a leader in women’s education, named for feminist-minded missionaries. It also underscores the College’s example-setting role as the first single-sex college in the United States to implement an inclusive admissions policy for transgender applicants. 

“Dedicated to a combination of student diversity and educational opportunity,” Mills enrolls and serves learners traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Fiske notes the unique make-up of the student body—including a high percentage of LGBTQ+ students and a majority BIPOC students. The guide also notes the College's distinctive role in enrolling resuming adult learners as well as first-generation college students. The mission to foster an inclusive student community is made possible in part by a series of initiatives Fiske outlines in its profile of Mills, including a 2018 tuition reduction, merit scholarships to qualified low-income applicants, and a supportive academic environment that includes the first-year MPOWER program, which provides hands-on academic guidance and faculty mentorship. 

Close collaboration between students and professors is another hallmark of the Mills experience, made possible by small class sizes and the “excellent teaching” of dedicated professors, whom one student describes as “incredibly knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and kind." Seventy-seven percent of Mills faculty are women, providing students with “strong female role models,” notes Fiske.

Curriculum stewarded by the faculty include robust programs across the humanities and arts, STEM, and social sciences. Fiske notes in particular the College’s renowned stronghold in the fine arts, from electronic music to studio art and dance. Degree tracks in queer studies; women, leadership, and social change; and politics, economics, policy, and law are among the College’s “novel interdisciplinary programs.” Majors in English, psychology, sociology, biology, public health and health equity, and a prenursing certificate program rank among the most popular studies at Mills. The College also offers a “solid” track in computer science, and—as Fiske points out—was the first women’s college to offer such a degree program.

The 135-acre Oakland campus serves as the site for study, relaxation, and student events, and also provides access to applied learning opportunities in the multicultural local community and internships throughout the Bay Area. As Fiske notes, Mills students receive more than just a liberal arts education: “They are expected to dive into hands-on academic experiences, serve their community, and graduate with a deeper understanding of diversity and social issues.”

About Mills College

Located in Oakland, California, Mills is a nationally renowned independent liberal arts college for women and gender nonbinary students, with graduate programs for all genders. Ranked one of the top-tier regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the Best 386 Colleges in the nation. As one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country, Mills has a strong record of academic success with first-generation students, students of color, Latinx students, LGBTQ+ students, and other underrepresented students. The Mills experience is distinguished by small, interactive classes, one-on-one attention from exceptional faculty, a culture of creative experimentation, and cutting-edge interdisciplinary learning opportunities which empower students to make a statement in their careers and communities.