Experiencing More: Student Opinion Places SUU among Nation’s BestSeptember 28, 2012
Author: Jen Burt
In its just released collegiate survey, “2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” The Princeton Review identifies the top tier of colleges and universities across the nation that “stand out as academically excellent institutions of higher learning.” And in what is beginning to feel like an annual tradition at Southern Utah University, SUU has again been recognized as one of the West’s best schools on the “Best in the West” listing. This is the University’s ninth consecutive appearance on this top national listing.
Above all, according to The Princeton Review, colleges and universities are selected for this prestigious recognition primarily for excellence in academic programming.
Says Robert Franek, Princeton Review's Senior VP / Publisher, "We're pleased to recommend Southern Utah University as one of the best schools to earn their undergrad degree. From several hundred schools in each region, we winnowed our list based on institutional data we collected directly from the schools, our visits to schools over the years, and the opinions of our staff, plus college counselors and advisors whose recommendations we invite."
SUU Provost Brad Cook, head of academics, said, “These rankings are additional validation that SUU is on a solid academic trajectory. The fact that this year's incoming student profile is the largest and most academically prepared in the University's history, indicates that students are voting with their feet. Better and better students are coming to SUU because they see the incredible value that is offered on this campus.”
In addition to academics, the annual review board factors in the student experience, surveying current students from each of the nation’s colleges and universities to identify those schools who provide the very best in student support and campus life.
To accurately measure student opinion in its evaluation, The Princeton Review conducts an 80-question survey, asking students to rate their personal experiences and quality of life while earning their degree. Time and time again, SUU received high marks from within its Thunderbird ranks.
On a scale of 0 to 100, students rated their quality of life at SUU as a 94, generated from questions that covered several issues—from the accessibility of their professors to quality of the campus food—as well as provided information about individual student experiences, perceptions of fellow students and general campus life.
Vice President for University Relations Dean O’Driscoll is encouraged by the students’ positive feedback. “We are thrilled at our students’ response. It really is a great sign that we are doing a good job for the most important people on our campus: our students.”
That attitude of support and appreciation for students across campus is one of the many factors that set SUU apart from the competition, according to student surveys, which most commonly cited “supportive and passionate professors” as credit for the school’s academic success.
In turn, it comes as no surprise to the University’s administrators, who daily marvel at the positive impact of students across campus, that the Review’s summation of a typical T-Bird includes, “an eagerness for learning, a passion for involvement and a contagious friendliness.”
Of the University’s pride in its students, SUU President Michael Benson said, “Our thanks to our graduates, who continue to help tell the story that SUU is a superb value and, that if students start here, they really can go anywhere they want with an SUU education.”
The 122 colleges The Princeton Review chose for its "Best in the West" list are located in fifteen states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The Princeton Review also designated 222 colleges in the Northeast, 153 in the Midwest, and 136 in the Southeast as best in their locales on the company’s "2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region" lists. Collectively, the 633 colleges named "regional best(s)" constitute about 25% of the nation's 2,500 four-year colleges.