SUU Ranked Among America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News and World Report

Published: October 02, 2006 | Read Time: 2 minutes

(written by Isaac Holyoak, junior Communication major from Murray, Utah)

Southern Utah University has been ranked among America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News and World Report for 2007.

The ranking is a first for SUU and follows a string of other distinguishing recognitions such as Consumers Digest Top 10 in the Nation for Quality and Value, Princeton Review’s Best in the West, and Princeton Review’s Best Value Colleges.

U.S. News and World Report “is the top publication for ranking higher education in the nation,” Dean O’Driscoll, SUU’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations, says. “It gives us more credibility and legitimacy, not only in Utah, but throughout the country.”

The U.S. News and World Report rankings are organized according to a school’s mission and region in the country. SUU was ranked among the Best Universities-Masters in the West. SUU’s broad range of undergraduate and master’s programs qualified it for this category.

According to the report, schools in this category are ranked in relation to six indicators: peer assessment, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving rate. Peer assessment, retention, and faculty resources account for 65 percent of the ranking.

Peer assessment is based on the opinions of leading academic authorities--like presidents, provosts, and deans of admissions--surveyed to measure what U.S. News and World Report calls intangible factors, “such as faculty dedication to teaching.”

Next, schools are ranked according to retention. Retention is an important tool because it measures student approval and satisfaction with the university. Two factors are weighed in determining this ranking: first, the six-year graduation rate, and secondly, the freshman retention rate.

“The higher the proportion of freshmen who return to campus the following year and eventually graduate, the better the school is apt to be at offering the classes and services students need to succeed,” said the Report.

Faculty resources also account for a large portion of a school’s rankings. This ranking is derived from five criteria: class size, faculty salary, faculty degrees, student-faculty ratio, and proportion of full-time faculty members. SUU’s small student body and exceptional faculty contributed to high marks in this category.

SUU boasts a full-time faculty of 91 percent. That means SUU faculty are dedicated to teaching and mentoring students. Also, 46 percent of classes at SUU are smaller than 20 students and only 6 percent of classes have greater than 50 students. This ensures the kind of professor-student relationship that guarantees a successful college career.
Being ranked by U.S. News and World Report is a big step forward and allows SUU to compare well to other schools in the country, O’Driscoll comments.

He concludes, “We have arrived.”

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