The University Record, September 7 , 1999

U ranks 25th nationally; Business School ties for first

By Jane R. Elgass

The University again placed 25th overall in rankings of national universities by ‘U.S. News and World Report.’ File photo, Photo Services
The University is ranked 25th among 228 national universities, tied with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in U.S. News and World Report ’s “America’s Best Colleges” rankings released Aug. 20. The U-M is tied for third, with UCLA, among top national public universities. This is a step up from its fourth-place ranking (tied with UCLA) in 1998.

According to U.S. News criteria, national schools offer a full range of undergraduate majors, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees, and many “strongly emphasize research.

The rankings are based on a number of factors, including academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rate performance, which is the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates.

New statistical procedures this year gave greater weight to a school’s high SAT scores, low faculty-to-student ratio and high per-pupil educational spending.

Two individual undergraduate programs also received high marks:

  • The School of Business Administration’s program tied for first with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania.

  • The College of Engineering ranks sixth for undergraduate engineering among schools whose highest degree is a Ph.D.

    Several individual undergraduate programs in the Business School also were ranked: accounting (4), finance (tied at 3 with Berkeley), international business (4), general management (2), marketing (2), production/operations management (4).

    The magazine last ranked undergraduate engineering and business programs in 1996.

    Provost Nancy Cantor is gratified by the U-M’s rankings, but offered a note of caution.

    “I believe that students and alumni, faculty and staff, and the citizens of Michigan rightfully expect the University of Michigan to be on a list of the nation’s finest universities, and we are delighted to be recognized. However, I also caution against according more validity to magazine ranking systems than is warranted.

    “While the desire to quantify the college educational experience is understandable, we don’t believe it is possible for the U.S. News measures to capture all the factors that contribute to a world-class education. Rankings methodologies do not take into account the broad array of offerings or variety of interconnections available at research universities,” Cantor explained. “For U-M students, those offerings include a vibrant and diverse student body; one of the largest number of fields of specialization and interdisciplinary offerings; and the opportunity to work in classes, laboratories, museums and studios with faculty who are leaders in cutting-edge research and creative production.

    “I urge prospective students not to rely solely on rankings, but to consider what they want in a university and to look for schools that match those expectations,” the provost added.

    The Dearborn and Flint campuses also were recognized in the magazine’s rankings of regional schools in the Midwest.

    U-M-Dearborn, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has a top-tier ranking of 30 overall and eighth among public institutions. Its undergraduate engineering program is ranked 16th (tied with Baylor University and Kettering University) among schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s.

    U-M-Flint ranks in the third tier (between 63 and 86) of Best Regional Schools in the Midwest.

    The Aug. 23 issue of U.S. News and World Report carried the rankings. The guidebook from which they were excerpted went on sale Aug. 24.


    Top 10 national universities

    There are no public institutions in the top-10 overall list:

    1. California Institute of Technology

    2. Harvard University

    3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    4. Princeton University

    4. Yale University

    6. Stanford University

    7. Duke University

    7. Johns Hopkins University

    7. University of Pennsylvania

    10. Columbia University

    Top 10 public national universities

    1. University of California, Berkeley

    2. University of Virginia

    3. University of Michigan

    3. University of California, Los Angeles

    5. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

    6. College of William and Mary

    7. University of California, San Diego

    8. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

    9. University of Wisconsin-Madison

    10. Georgia Institute of Technology

    10. Pennsylvania State University