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The September issue of Washington Monthly ranks Utah State University in the top 25 public colleges in the nation and among the top 50 public or private universities in America.
According to the editors of Washington Monthly, unlike other rankings, “this guide asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country.” Their rankings focus on determining which U.S. colleges make the best use of tax dollars and produce graduates that help the country maintain a competitive edge in a global economy.
“Looking at universities from this unique perspective provides new insights into those American colleges — like Utah State University — that are quietly amassing remarkable achievements,” said Raymond Coward, USU executive vice president and provost.
“Since coming to USU, I have been impressed with the notable achievements of our faculty, staff and students,” Coward said. “This national ranking provides still further affirmation of the extraordinary achievements that happen each day on our campus.”
The ranking system, according to Washington Monthly editors, starts with a different assumption about what constitutes the “best” schools. “We asked ourselves: what are reasonable indicators of how much a school is benefiting the country?”
The publication said it came up with three main indicators: how well a college performs as an engine of social mobility, how well it fosters scientific and humanistic research, and how well it promotes an ethic of service to the country.
There is a good reason for the “American fixation” with rankings, according to Washington Monthly editors. “If done correctly, they can help tell us what’s working and what’s not,” they wrote. “Of course universities ought to be judged. The key is judging the right things.”
“Based on these criteria, USU outperforms some of its more prominent and notable public university rivals,” Coward said.
USU also has achieved high marks in other rankings. For example, when comparing the receipt of federal support for research, Utah State is ranked in the top 20 among land grant universities in the nation and in the top 100 public or private universities in America.
Similarly, USU’s College of Education and Human Services is among the top-ranked graduate programs in the nation in the latest U.S. News and World Report ratings — finishing third in the nation in terms of funded research dollars generated. Finally, in 2004, Consumer Digest ranked USU No. 6 in the nation for “Best Value.”
“Utahns have much to be proud of at Utah State,” Coward said. “This most recent national recognition is especially appreciated because it is based on several ideals at the core of our vision as a university — that is, service to the nation, opportunity through education, and fostering scientific and humanistic research. We are proud of those characteristics, and we are pleased that others have recognized us for our excellence in these areas.”
In its ranking methodology, Washington Monthly established two primary goals. First, no single category was deemed more important than another. Second, the final rankings reflected excellence across the full breadth of the measures.
The Washington Monthly rankings are posted at its Web site.
Contact: Raymond Coward, 435-797-1167
Writer: John DeVilbiss, 435-797-1358
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