True, many of our most important experiences can never be quantified. No data point can capture the swell of excitement a student feels when a complex concept suddenly becomes clear. Or the energy unleashed when a faculty member makes a groundbreaking discovery. Or even the pure joy people feel when watching graduates march across the commencement stage.
And yet, sometimes numbers can be the best way to convey impact. It’s one thing to say this campus is trendy, as The Huffington Post observed in 2011. But when you hear that our undergraduate applications have more than doubled in the past five years, the scale of our appeal becomes far more apparent. Similarly, we long have touted the strength of our teaching, but now we can note we have the nation's No. 1 educator for first-year seminars.
Sometimes you really can think by numbers. And for Case Western Reserve in 2012-2013, they add up to a very big year.
Barbara R. Snyder