The University Record, September 9, 1998

U places 25th in U.S. News's 'Best Colleges 1999'

From News and Information Services

The University was ranked 25th among 228 national universities by U.S. News & World Report in its "Best Colleges 1999" rankings released Aug. 21. It shares that position with Carnegie Mellon and Tufts universities and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). U-M ranked 23rd last year.

Among public universities, the U-M tied for fourth with UCLA, down from second in 1997.

"We are delighted to be on a list of the nation's finest universities, but we don't believe that this type of strict ranking provides information about the relative quality of education at these fine institutions," said Provost Nancy Cantor.

"The U.S. News rankings take a number of measures and assign weightings in order to determine the quality of universities. Only if you agree that those particular measures capture the quality of an institution should you accept the rankings without question.

"We've hovered about the same rank (somewhere between 21 and 25) for the past several years," Cantor noted. "We believe there is no difference between those ranks. In other words, our 'fall' this year from 23 to 25 is meaningless. In fact, there probably isn't very much difference between being ranked 10th or 25th or, for that matter, 30th.

"From our perspective," Cantor continued, "perhaps the most important element of a Michigan undergraduate education derives from the fact that we have a great research faculty in undergraduate classrooms, laboratories and other educational settings. In the past few years we have implemented a number of programs that make cutting-edge research part of the undergraduate curriculum. U.S. News's method does not incorporate such programs, and hence cannot capture the value of a Michigan education."


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