U moves up 10 spots in U.S. News rankings

The University moved up 10 places to 61st on this yearâÄôs U.S. News & World Report rankings of the countryâÄôs top schools. The University was ranked out of more than 130 top schools . It also placed 22nd on the public schools list . The list, which hit newsstands Aug. 26, compared academic standards such as peer assessment, retention and student selectivity. The standards were then weighted according to the judgment of the U.S. News editorial board to create the rankings. Despite the increase, many University faculty and students still arenâÄôt impressed with the rankings. âÄúYouâÄôd be hard pressed to find any college who took these rankings very seriously,âÄù said Sharon Reich Paulsen , associate vice president of academic affairs and provost . âÄúItâÄôs really a commercial endeavor designed to sell magazines.âÄù In addition to ranking public universities and liberal arts colleges, U.S. News also ranked business and engineering programs. Carlson School of Management Dean Alison Davis-Blake criticized the methods used to obtain rankings for business schools. The business school rankings are created by peer surveys, but they only ask about a schoolâÄôs perceived reputation on a scale of one to five, Davis-Blake said. âÄúTheyâÄôre not going in and measuring what theyâÄôre actually doing,âÄù she said. Still, the rankings can play a role in whether students pick one school over another. Seena Patel , an international business and entrepreneurial management senior, said the University was her first choice, and that business school rankings were a large factor in her decision to come to the Carlson School. Some students, however, weighed other factors more heavily than rankings. Dan Richter , a global studies junior, and K.C. Huchendorf , an operations management and marketing junior, said they decided to attend the University because of recommendations from friends, the UniversityâÄôs policy on Advanced Placement classes and tuition costs âÄî not how it was ranked. âÄúMost universities are about the same,âÄù Richter said. Robert Morse, director of data research at U.S. News and developer of the ranking system, said that although people criticize the rankings, schools do take them seriously and use them for advertisements and fundraising. The University has posted a goal of becoming a top-three research institution in the next 10 years, manifested in the Driven to Discover campaign . âÄúOur main goal is to provide prospective students, their parents and the general public about the relative information of public universities,âÄù Morse said. âÄúInstitutions are using them as goals. TheyâÄôre using it as a yardstick to validate or show their policies and how theyâÄôre running their institution and whether theyâÄôre succeeding.âÄù The only other Minnesota university on the list was the University of St. Thomas , which placed as a third-tier school. Six Minnesota colleges were ranked in the top-100 liberal arts colleges âÄî Carleton , Macalester and St. Olaf colleges placed 8th, 25th and 47th, respectively. For its Best Colleges 2009 guide, U.S. News & World Report gathered information from 1,400 colleges. The University was also ranked 524th out of 569 schools in a recent survey of top colleges by Forbes, which used some different criteria, including noteworthiness of professors, student evaluations, graduation rates and student debt.