The University Record, March 11, 1997

U-M grad programs fare well in U.S. News rankings

By Jane R. Elgass

photo, Placing high in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate programs across the nation indicates the outstanding quality of a broad range of U-M graduate schools and programs. The School of Social Work once again is rated first in the country in the graduate rankings issue of U.S. News & World Report, out on newsstands March 3. The issue ranks 28 other U-M graduate programs within the top 10 in their respective areas, including the School of Education, which has advanced dramatically over the past three years.

"We don't place too much weight on any individual rankings because they have a number of methodological flaws," says Lisa Baker, associate vice president for university relations. "However, all the rankings, when taken together over time, reveal the outstanding quality represented by a broad range of our graduate schools and programs."

School of Social Work Dean Paula Allen-Meares says the School, which tied for first with Washington University in St. Louis, "has always been proud of consistently high ratings from a variety of organizations. We are in good company with the schools we consider our peers. We have an outstanding faculty that contributes handsomely to the scholarly work of both the University and the profession," she notes, adding that the School's graduates "move into key leadership positions in academe and the profession."

The U-M School was cited extensively in an accompanying U.S. News article, which noted that federal reforms in welfare "forced America's graduate schools of social work to rethink the way they train their graduates."

"In the academy," the article noted, "perhaps the most significant strides toward change are occurring at the University of Michigan. Taking its cue from the many welfare experiments initiated by the state government in Lansing, the School launched a major curriculum overhaul in 1995."

The overhaul has involved deans, department chairs, a number of graduate students and local welfare agency managers who went through course syllabi "line-by-line with an eye toward preparing prospective social workers for the changing world of welfare."

As part of the overhaul, the School is expanding "the breadth of internships available, particularly in public-welfare offices." U.S. News also cited the School's move to step up student placements "in community organizations, women's shelters and churches, which are likely to play a greater role in providing aid to the growing numbers expected to lose welfare benefits," as well as encouraging students to combine public agency work with community experiences.

The School of Education ranked eighth. Among its specialties, educational policy ranked fifth and educational psychology tied for fourth with Michigan State University.

School of Education Dean Cecil Miskel notes that "in the past three years we've gone from 22nd to ninth to eighth. I like the trend. It's very positive, particularly over the past two years with stable criteria.

"We're particularly pleased with some of the sub-rankings, such as reputation as judged by our peers and by school superintendents, ranking fifth in each case. We also are fifth among all public university education programs, which number some 1,200 to 1,300 nationally. "

Other U-M programs in the top tier, all ranked among peers in their particular disciplines, are:

Medical School, ninth (unchanged) among research-oriented programs.

College of Pharmacy, tied for third with the University of Kentucky.

School of Music, fourth (unchanged). Ranked specialty programs included composition (second), conducting (tied for first with the University of Rochester-Eastman), opera/voice (fifth), orchestra/symphony (fourth) and piano/organ/keyboard (fourth).

School of Public Health, fifth. Its Department of Health Management and Policy ranked first.

Creative Writing Program, sixth in the first-time rating of these programs.

Law School, seventh (unchanged). Its clinical training ranked ninth and international law specialty sixth.

College of Engineering, seventh (down from fifth in 1996 but up from eighth in 1995). Its aerospace program ranked fourth, electrical/electronic fifth, environmental second, industrial/manufacturing third, mechanical fourth and nuclear third.

Business School, 12th (unchanged). Its part-time M.B.A. program was ranked fourth and its Executive Education Program, fifth. The School was ranked third for general management and fourth in marketing.

U.S.News last Wednesday announced that it discovered a miscalculation in the law school rankings and has since recalled all of the graduate school guidebooks and printed corrected ones. The miscalculation did not affect our Law School, and the information in this article is correct.

For more detailed information on the rankings, visit the U.S. News Web site at