Baylor Programs Highly Rated in U.S. News College Survey

Aug. 18, 2006
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by Alan Hunt, associate director of media relations, (254) 710-6271

The 2007 edition of America's Best Colleges survey released today by U.S.News & World Report ranks Baylor University in 81st place out of 248 top national doctoral-granting universities. The prestigious survey also gives high marks to Baylor's undergraduate engineering and business programs.

Baylor's engineering program moved up one spot in the rankings from 21st last year to 20th place in the "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs" category, which is confined to undergraduate engineering courses without doctoral programs. Baylor is tied at 20th place with eight other schools.

The Hankamer School of Business at Baylor climbed impressively by six places to rank 60th in the publication's undergraduate business rankings. Last year, the school was ranked 66th, and 77th the previous year. Hankamer's entrepreneurship program is ranked 14th in the nation in the undergraduate entrepreneurship category.

Baylor's 81st overall place has the university tied with four other institutions in the publication's "Best National Universities" survey. The ranking also puts Baylor tied for fourth position among Big 12 schools included in the survey and in fifth place among the 16 Texas universities listed. Baylor is tied for the 81st spot with Clark University, Mass.; Iowa State University, another Big 12 school; Marquette University, Wis.; and North Carolina State University-Raleigh. Last year, Baylor was ranked 78th overall in the survey.

The first 126 universities in the U.S. News rankings are listed numerically. Baylor is included in this category with five other Texas schools - Rice University (17th place), the University of Texas-Austin (tied for 47th place), Texas A&M University (tied for 60th place), Southern Methodist University (tied for 70th place), and Texas Christian University (tied for 105th place).

The other schools in the "Best National Universities" survey are listed alphabetically in third and fourth tier categories. Two Texas universities are in the third tier, and eight in the fourth tier. Of the 248 schools surveyed, 86 are private and 162 public.

U.S. News relies on several factors for its university survey, including "indicators of academic quality" gathered from each school; assessment by administrators at peer institutions; student retention; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; alumni giving; class size; student/faculty ratio; and graduation rate performance.

In the category "average alumni giving rate," Baylor is ranked highest (at 29 percent) among the Big 12 schools, and second highest among the 16 Texas schools listed. Only Rice University has a higher alumni giving rate (at 37 percent) among the Texas schools. Baylor's alumni giving rate is up five percentage points over last year. U.S. News defines this category as "the average percentage of alumni who gave to their school during 2003-04 and 2004-05 as an indirect measure of student satisfaction."

Baylor also showed an increase in the "classes under 20" category - from 35 percent last year to 36 percent. The "classes of 50 or more" category remains the same at 10 percent. The number of full time faculty at Baylor dropped one percentage point, from 95 percent last year to 94 percent, according to the survey.

Baylor engineering program's 20th place ranking represents a jump of six places from 2001 when the program was ranked 26th, a fact that pleased Dr. Benjamin S. Kelley, dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science and professor of engineering.

"It's quite gratifying for Baylor Engineering and Computer Science faculty and students to be recognized by their peers as a national top 20 program," Kelley said. "This ranking is quite an achievement. Our aspirations are to move well into the top 10, and we are anxious to continue taking the steps to get there."

Baylor is one of only two Texas schools listed among the first 46 universities in the "Best Programs" category for undergraduate engineering courses without doctoral programs. The other Texas school listed is Trinity University, tied with six other schools in 29th place. The publication's expanded "Premium Online Edition" lists a total of 98 schools in this category. U.S. News says the rankings are based solely on a peer survey of deans and senior faculty that asked them to rate each program they are familiar with on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). A total of 167 schools were surveyed in this category.

A similar peer assessment data was used to rank the 413 undergraduate business programs nationwide, according to U.S. News. The Hankamer School of Business is tied with 12 other schools for the 60th position overall.

"Rising six spots in this ranking provides confirmation that our effort to get the word out about our program is making an impact," said Dr. Terry S. Maness, dean of the Hankamer School of Business. "This reflects the increased national and international recognition the school has received for the quality of our programs like accounting and entrepreneurship, high-caliber faculty research and student competitions, as well as our heavy involvement with peer institutions in the AACSB International."

The entrepreneurship program at the Hankamer School of Business - tied with Syracuse University, New York, for 14th place in the rankings - was launched in 1977 and is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the nation. Only two Texas schools - Baylor and the University of Texas-Austin - are among the top 21 universities listed in the publication's online "Undergraduate business specialities: Entrepreneurship" category. Last year, Hankamer's entrepreneurship program was ranked 10th in the list.

Baylor's graduate programs also received high marks in the 2007 Best Graduate Schools rankings released March 31 this year by U.S.News & World Report. Included in the magazine's survey were Baylor's law, business, nursing, education, speech-language pathology, clinical psychology, social work, biological sciences, and the two Baylor-U.S. Army programs operated at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

The U.S. News rankings can be found at Highlights of the "America's Best Colleges" rankings are scheduled for publication in the Aug. 28 edition of U.S.News & World Report, which goes on sale Aug. 21. The "America's Best Colleges" guidebook also will be available on Aug. 21.

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