Five Colleges of Ohio

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The Five Colleges of Ohio
Established 1995
Members Denison, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Wooster
Continent North America
Country United States
University Type Private, 4-year, residential, undergraduate
Other Names The Ohio Five, formerly The Ohio Six, The Little Six

The Five Colleges of Ohio is an academic and administrative 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 developed from a range of highly successful collaborations including friendly academic and athletic rivalries among the five institutions.


The members of The Five Colleges of Ohio consortium are:


The designation Ohio Five first appeared in Ohio newspapers in the early twentieth century. The grouping, predating 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.

Following informal discussions among the five colleges in the early 1990s, the consortium was 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 colleges occurs in several areas:

Academic programs[edit]

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.

Administrative programs[edit]

The colleges currently maintain a central clearing house for employment opportunities at all 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 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.

Athletic rivalry[edit]

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. [1].

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". [2]. 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 teams are now known as the Fighting Scots, Kenyon's nickname is Lords and Ladies, Denison's teams are known as Big Red, Oberlin's teams are known as the Yeomen, and Ohio Wesleyan's nickname is the Battling Bishops.

Ohio Wesleyan and Denison share a historic rivalry in lacrosse, which has been very closely contested.


A majority of students at all the schools self-identify as liberal. Students at Oberlin 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, varying specifics based on major at the other schools) — 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.


External links[edit]