The annual U.S. News & World Report college rankings have been released and once again Southern Utah University has graced its listing as one of the top universities in the West in its 2014 Best Colleges guidebook. This places SUU in the first tier of all universities in the West, which provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.
Moving up yet again in the rankings from last year, this is the University’s tenth appointment to the regional list. The “West,” as defined by U.S. News, includes a peer group that spans 15 states.
The “Best Colleges 2014: Western Division” is an honor that SUU has received time and time again and increasingly goes up in rank, and SUU Interim President Rich Kendell says this is proof for all SUU students, faculty, staff and community that the University gives excellence.
“This ranking is a yet another confirmation that we are doing so many things right. The University’s mission is to give a quality education to students in a highly personalized manner, and receiving this ranking is added fodder to our knowledge that we are on the right track,” said Kendell.
According to U.S. News, this year it has made significant changes to the methodology to “reduce the weight of input factors that reflect a school’s student body and increased the weight of output measures that signal how well a school educates its students.”
Some of these increased weighted areas are high school class standing amongst freshmen, graduation rate performances and retention rates, all of which are on the rise at SUU. The University has seen a 5 percent increase in fall-to-fall retention rates and a 9 percent six-year graduation rates, all within the last five years.
Kendell added that these increased rates are what is most important and the U.S. News ranking “supports the fact the University is on an upward trajectory and this regional and national attention lets us shine our light even brighter.”
He also acknowledges the faculty, staff, students and community all “need to be recognized and thanked for their collective efforts in securing this important ranking,” as the personalized attention students receive is what sets SUU apart and what has Thunderbirds migrating to Cedar City each school year.