Wednesday, January 28, 2009


College rankings are extremely popular these days. In a society fascinated with top-10 lists, it makes perfect sense people would want to know which educational institutions are the “best.” Thus, there are now an abundance of college ranking lists available for potential college students, and their parents, to review to help determine where they should apply to go to college. Unfortunately, there are no completely objective college ranking systems, and though they might be inherently appealing, they can also be confusing because publishers use vastly different criteria, calculations, and weights when determining academic status.

Like most other academic institutions, UMKC’s administrators have been examining where the University resides in several national rankings. More specifically, three ranking systems have been reviewed in detail: the U.S. News and World Report rankings, the rankings, and the Center for Measuring University Performance rankings. These ranking systems cover a wide range of data metrics from entering student characteristics to graduation rates to the quality of faculty measured by research productivity and awards.

In recent weeks, the Provost has been sharing detailed information about these rankings with various groups across the University, including the Strategic Planning Committee, the UMKC Trustees, and the Deans’ Council. The main focus of these presentations has not been on the rankings themselves, but rather on the metrics being utilized and, where appropriate, on the areas UMKC needs to focus on to improve the quality of the education and experiences provided at the university. This information was intended to serve as a starting point for moving forward strategically to provide the best possible education to UMKC’s students.

Individuals interested in reviewing the Provost’s presentation are encouraged to go to the strategic planning website and click on College Ranking Metrics – Where Does UMKC Fit in the Rankings.

-Written by Larry Bunce, Ph.D., Director of Institutional Research

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