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College of Education Lands at No. 29 on U.S. News and World Report's List

Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011

USU College of Education Building in spring

U.S. News and World Report magazine has once again named the graduate programs in Utah State University's Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services among the top tier of colleges of education in the nation.

U.S. News and World Report logo

U.S. News and World Report magazine has once again named the graduate programs in Utah State University’s Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services among the top tier of colleges of education in the nation.

In the 2012 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” the magazine ranked the college 29th in the nation overall against all graduate colleges of education. Of significant note, the college was ranked fifth in the nation in total research dollars received by a college, with faculty and staff securing $33.1 million in funded research dollars.

Two programs in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation were ranked in the top 20 programs nationally. The department’s Rehabilitation Counseling Program ranked ninth in the nation, and the Special Education graduate program was ranked at No. 17 among all special education programs.

“We are thrilled to once again be recognized for the amazing program we have here at Utah State University and to have maintained this standard of excellence for more than a decade,” said Beth Foley, dean of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. “This type of national recognition not only validates the remarkable work of our faculty, staff and students, but it also establishes our program as a serious player in the world of education instruction.”

The ranking means the college is in the top 2 percent of all graduate colleges of education in the nation. This marks the 12th consecutive year the college has made it on the list, and it is the only education program in Utah this year to secure a place in the top 50.

Faculty in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation are nationally known in their specialty areas, and master’s and doctoral students in the programs are heavily recruited across the nation, said department head Ben Lignugaris-Kraft.

“This faculty expertise and the exceptional quality of our graduates enhance our reputation nationally, and the rankings reflect the high regard our programs have among peers and professionals in the field,” he said.

Lignugaris-Kraft said the department has invested significant resources recently into the master’s program in special education, adding concentrations in administration, a board certified behavior analyst focus area, and new program that will concentrates specifically on preparing master’s level teachers to work with individuals with disabilities who are transitioning from school to work.

“Our master’s program in rehabilitation counseling is larger than it has ever been, and we will be adding a certificate of proficiency in rehabilitation counseling in the fall to provide training to individuals from related fields,” he said.

The department also houses the National Clearinghouse on Rehabilitation Training Materials, under the direction of professors Jared Schultz and Michael Millington, which provide webinars and training opportunities nationally.

“Thus, we are well known to most rehabilitation counselor preparation programs and have a strong connection to people at the Rehabilitation Services Administration,” Lignugaris-Kraft said.  

The Rehabilitation Services Administration, a federal program in the U.S. Department of Education, oversees grant programs that help individuals with physical or mental disabilities to obtain employment and live more independently

The college’s fifth-place ranking in external funding in the 2012 rankings puts it just behind prestigious education programs at Teachers College at Columbia, UCLA, Vanderbilt and University of Texas-Austin. The college’s faculty and staff secured more external funding, however, than top-ranked education programs at Harvard, Stanford and Northwestern, among many others.

“The amount and scope of the research we do only aides in our ongoing commitment to be pioneers in education,” added Foley. “Potential educators and students looking to learn from and work with some of the nation’s best now know the Emma Eccles Jones College is a leader when it comes to producing quality teachers and offering innovative research opportunities.”

Foley said a number of programs and projects have enhanced the college’s growing national prominence. Highlights this past year include the opening of the new Emma Eccles Jones Early Childhood Education and Research Center and the Dolores Doré Eccles Center for Early Care and Education.

The college currently has more than 200 research projects under way, including a $20 million i3 grant examining the impact of an extended school year program on the academic and social development of children living in poverty, and research examining the development of listening and spoken language skills in children with cochlear implants. Also, two faculty in the college this year were awarded prestigious National Science Foundation Career awards.

The U.S. News & World Report bases its rankings on a weighted average of 11 quality measures, including peer assessments, faculty resources, faculty awards and GRE scores for doctoral students. Graduate programs at 279 schools granting doctoral degrees in education were surveyed in the fall of 2010.

Related link:

USU’s Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services

Writer: Tim Vitale, 435-797-1356,

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