Rice places near top in national university rankings
Rice placed 17th in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report "National University" rankings, announced Sept. 11, for the ninth year in a row.
Seventy-five percent of each school's rank is derived from a formula measuring objective academic quality, the website states. The remaining 25 percent is subjective and is derived from either a peer assessment survey given to each school's President, Dean of Admissions and Provost, or an academic reputation survey given to high school counselors, according to the website.
The U.S. News website reports that it de- rives most of its ranking data from the schools themselves. Every year, all accredited four-year colleges and universities need to fill out a questionnaire sent by U.S. News, states the website. This questionnaire covers things such as faculty salaries and SAT scores. The survey data is then recorded and checked as needed for accuracy. If a school does not return or completely fill out the questionnaire, U.S. News turns to other appropriate sources, such as the Council for Aid to Education and the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.
In order to be ranked by U.S News, a college must have regional accreditation and at least 200 students enrolled, states the website.
Rice is grouped under the category "National Universities," defined on the website as universities that offer a full range of undergraduate majors, masters and Ph.D. programs and produce groundbreaking research. Data pertaining to 16 areas of academic excellence is collected. Each area is given a percentage value based on which aspects of quality are deemed the most important, and from there, the total weighted scores are used to rank to colleges.
President David Leebron said he believes that Rice continues to rank among the top 20 universities in the United States, which shows its dedication to an effective undergraduate educational experience and to impactful research.
"We do what we do not for the rankings, but for the value we add to our community and world," he said.
Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson said he believes that these rankings are important to our students and alumni because when Rice's reputation is enhanced, the value of a Rice education is enhanced.
"Overall, our consistently high ranking reflects the quality of the undergraduate educational experience and the quality of the faculty, the extensive student-faculty interactions and the high academic success rates of our students," he said.
Vice President of Enrollment Chris MuÃ±oz said that visibility of the U.S. News and World Report makes the ranking even more satisfying.
"We are always gratified when we are recognized among the best universities in the nation," MuÃ±oz said. "This is especially so when it is from a prominent source like U.S. News and World Report."
Professor of English Wesley Morris said he was delighted that Rice received such a high rating, but believes that such ratings do not measure the true value of what makes Rice both unique and an exceptional place to learn among its peer institutions.
"It's not just the small size and high SAT averages that define Rice; but also the remarkable and broad based dedication to teaching, learn- ing, and creating, to open and frequent exchange between faculty and students and no less important; the support and guidance that so many students give to one another, that makes Rice truly different," Morris said.
Brown College junior Kylie Cullinan was happy about Rice being recognized as a top 20 university again.
"You hear about people outside of Texas not knowing about Rice, and I think these kinds of rankings are great for increasing national recognition and encouraging more students to apply here."
Will Rice College senior Sonny Nguyen said the ranking does not take into account the special things about Rice.
"What this ranking fails to capture is student happiness and Rice's quirky culture with events that other schools don't have such as Beer Bike," he said.
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