UB makes top 50 in latest U.S. News & World Report college rankings

Climbing the ranks

top50

A staple of any college selection process is finding out where a potential university sits in the ranks.

U.S. News & World Report’s annual National Universities and Public Universities rankings were released earlier this month with UB reaching No. 99 for schools nation-wide and No. 45 for public schools.The ranking system is based on a formula that uses quantitative measures experts think are reliable indicators of academic quality. Essentially, it’s based on their researched view of what matters in education.

Universities are categorized into four groups: National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities and Regional Colleges. UB is a national university because it offers a full range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs that put emphasis on faculty research, according to U.S. News.

Princeton University, Harvard University and Yale University were ranked first, second and third respectively.

Charles Zukoski, UB provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, said UB prides itself on attracting the best and brightest students from around the world.

“We have very strong students and very strong academic programs,” Zukoski said. “Our students graduate and are successful. We’re an exceptional institution and we need to be proud of it.”

UB is in the process of revamping a number of programs and initiatives across campus with its UB 2020 plan. It also has a brand new general education program in the works.

UB 2020’s focus areas involve investing in stronger faculty from across the globe and a brand new downtown campus, which includes the newly named Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Projects are ongoing, including the highly anticipated reopening of the Oscar A. Silverman Library in Capen Hall.

U.S. News notes there are plenty of intangible things that can make a university great but prides itself on providing measurable information for families concerned with finding the best academic value for their money, according to its website.

Indicators include the freshman retention rate, student-faculty ratio, acceptance rates, SAT/ACT scores, financial resources and a rating out of five by high school guidance counselors across the country. Each factor is assigned a weight that reflects U.S. News’ judgment about how much important that measure is. The colleges and universities in each category are then ranked against their peers, based on their composite weighted score.

The methodology of different indicators changes every year, according to Zukoski. Most schools have identical statistics every year so U.S. News has to improvise to see a shift in the rankings, he said. If there is no shift in the ranking, nobody will buy its magazines and online resources.

Still, some students across campus have pride in and welcome this new high ranking.

“Being ranked in the top 50 by the U.S. News is great for our school [because] it helps the school become more recognized for its academic excellence,” said Harris Marshall, a sophomore accounting major.

Some students believe there is still work to be done.

Olivia Demian, a senior communication major, said she thinks the ranking system is “progressive,” but that UB still needs work.

Evan Schneider is a staff writer and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com.