U.S. News 2007 Edition of Best Colleges Ranks CU in Top Tier in the “Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor’s (South)
Athens, W.Va. - Concord University was the only public institution in West Virginia that ranked in the “top tier” category in the 2007 edition of U.S. News & World Reports America’s Best Colleges, in the “comprehensive colleges-bachelor’s (south)” category.
The listing ranks institutions by type and region, and then groups the top 50 as a separate list. Institutions ranked 50 through 100 are listed in the “tier 3” and “tier 4” categories.
Concord’s rank improved from “tier three” to “tier two” in 2002. And this year, for the third year in a row, Concord was ranked in the “top” category.
According to the editorial staff of the weekly, “The U.S. News rankings system rests on two pillars. It relies on quantitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality, and it’s based on our nonpartisan view of what matters in education.
“First, schools are categorized by mission and, in some cases, by region. The national universities offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. programs, and emphasize faculty research. The liberal arts colleges focus almost exclusively on undergraduate education. They award at least 50 percent of their degrees in the liberal arts. The universities–master’s offer a broad scope of undergraduate degrees and some master’s degree programs but few, if any, doctoral programs. The comprehensive colleges–bachelor’s (Concord University is listed in this category) focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than 50 percent of their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. The comprehensive colleges–bachelor’s include institutions where a minimum of 10 percent of the undergraduate degrees awarded are bachelor’s. The universities–master’s and comprehensive colleges–bachelor’s categories are further subdivided by geographic area—North, South, Midwest, and West.”
Concord University is ranked in the “comprehensive colleges-bachelor’s (south).
Concord University was number one in the peer assessment score (tying with U. of South Carolina-Upstate), when compared to other public institutions.
According to U.S. News, “The peer assessment score is weighted: 25 percent in the overall scoring process. The U.S. News ranking formula gives greatest weight to the opinions of those in a position to judge a school’s undergraduate academic excellence. The peer assessment survey allows the top academics we consult—presidents, provosts, and deans of admissions—to account for intangibles such as faculty dedication to teaching. Each individual is asked to rate peer schools’ academic programs on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). Those who don’t know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly are asked to mark “don’t know.” Synovate, an opinion-research firm based near Chicago, collected the data; of the 4,089 people who were sent questionnaires, 58 percent responded.”
Berea College, a private college in Kentucky, achieved the number one ranking in this category for the second year in a row.
Concord University President Jerry Beasley said, “The U.S. News rankings do not measure the one thing that is most significant for an institution of higher education and that is what students know and can do upon graduation. Fortunately, accrediting organizations now are beginning to focus on indicators of student learning.
“Most of the indicators are measures of spending, and, unfortunately, institutions are penalized for efficiency. We are nonetheless pleased to be among the top in public institutions. What this shows is that small, public institutions are significantly more efficient than their counterparts in the private sector, which flies in the face of conventional wisdom concerning government sponsored organizations.”
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