Highest-Achieving Freshman Class Arrives As Baylor Attains Its Highest-Ever Ranking In U.S. News

Aug. 17, 2007
News Photo 4208

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

As Baylor University begins a new academic year, thousands of Baylor University students - including the highest-quality freshman class ever - are back on campus amid a lot of excitement - from the opening of beautiful, world-class residential village and more facilities on the horizon to more national recognition for the substantial progress the university has made over the past five years.

Baylor's freshman class of more than 2,700 first-year students continues Baylor's upward trend for academic quality. The Class of 2011 brings another recording-breaking SAT average of 1218, an increase of nearly 40 points over the past five years. Forty percent of freshmen in this year's class also graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

In addition, Baylor's freshman class also has increased its diversity, with minority enrollment among its freshman improving from 24.1 to 29 percent for fall 2007.

Also with the opening of the $42.8 million Brooks Village residential community, the university continues to make major strides towards its goal of creating a truly residential campus, with at least 50 percent of Baylor undergraduates living on campus by 2012. This fall - right at the halfway point of Baylor 2012 - 4,657 or 39.3 percent of Baylor students will live on campus in fall 2007, compared to 3,600 or 29 percent in 2001.

Some of these positive strides have been reflected in this year's U.S.News & World Report rankings, with Baylor jumping six places to 75th, its highest overall ranking ever among national doctoral-granting universities. The magazine evaluated more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools.

Universities in the state of Texas also lead the Big 12 Conference among the U.S. News' "Best National Universities," with the University of Texas at Austin ranked at No. 44, Texas A&M University at No. 62 and Baylor at No. 75. Seven other Big 12 schools from Colorado to Kansas State are ranked from 79th to 124th. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are ranked in the third tier by U.S. News.

Baylor is the fifth highest-ranked Texas university among the top 124 universities, with Rice University at No. 17, UT-Austin at No. 44, Texas A&M at No. 62, and Southern Methodist University at No. 67. Texas Christian University at 108th is the only other Texas school in the top 124.

"We know that parents and prospective students pay attention to these rankings, and we are pleased that the numbers do reflect all the positive progress that is happening here at Baylor at the halfway point of 2012," said Baylor President John M. Lilley. "But our success is truly measured by our ability to recruit great students, retain them and provide them with an outstanding Christian education and excellent facilities, so that when they graduate from Baylor, they are ethical and capable scholars and practitioners who contribute to their academic disciplines and professional fields and serve society."

U.S. News also gave high marks to Baylor's business and engineering undergraduate programs.

Baylor's Hankamer School of Business climbed two spots in this year's undergraduate business program rankings to 58th place, while Baylor entrepreneurship maintained its prestigious 14th place among the nation's best entrepreneurship programs.

"Although the rankings are just one tool prospective students should use in evaluating their educational options, the Hankamer School of Business's continued ascension in these and other rankings over the last few years is an indicator of our continued commitment to produce business leaders with recognized integrity, superior theoretical knowledge and practical skills of modern global business developed through an experiential learning environment," said Dr. Terry Maness, dean of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.

Baylor's engineering program maintained its position at 20th place in the "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs" category, which is confined to undergraduate engineering courses without doctoral programs.

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.

Baylor improved in several areas, including acceptance rate (43 percent), top 10 percent (40 percent), SAT/ACT scores, percentage of faculty with terminal degree (80 percent), percentage of classes less than 20 (39 percent), actual six-year graduate rate (73 percent) and average alumni giving rate (34 percent), which is second among Texas universities behind only Rice at 36 percent and tops in the Big 12.

"All of these improvement help Baylor further its mission and enhance the quality of the education our students receive at Baylor," Lilley said.

The rankings will be published in the magazine's Aug. 27 issue, on newsstands Monday, Aug. 20, and available online at www.usnews.com/colleges beginning today.

As freshmen and returning students moved into Baylor's residential facilities on Aug. 15-16, the first time the university has held move-in over two days, they returned to a campus that could offer more on-campus residential living than ever before with the opening of the new Brooks Village.

Located on the former site of historic Brooks Hall, the 252,000-square-foot Brooks Village will accommodate 682 students in two residential quadrangles:

    • Brooks College, inspired by the residential college design at such universities as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, will offer 370 students across all majors and all classifications the opportunity to live and learn in a faculty-led community.

    • Brooks Flats will accommodate 312 sophomores, juniors and seniors in apartment-style living similar to that in the North Village, which opened in fall 2004.

In addition, an 800-car parking garage has been constructed to accommodate the needs of residents living on the south side of the Baylor campus.

Furthering another priority of creating learning communities within the residence halls has been the establishment of four living-learning centers, including the Engineering and Computer Science LLC and Outdoor Adventure LLC in the North Village, the Honors College LLC in Memorial and Alexander halls, and the Leadership LLC in Allen and Dawson halls.

Baylor also has completed work on the Paul L. Foster Success Center, as part of a $6 million renovation of the Sid Richardson Science Building. The department of mathematics also is in the renovated Sid Rich building (half of the second floor and all of the third floor) and CASA (College of Arts and Sciences Advising), which is located in the basement. The building will be open on Monday, Aug. 20, the first day of classes.

The Foster Success Center consists of five administrative departments, with services available for all students under one roof:

    • Academic Advisement - first-year students with selected majors
    • Academic Support Programs - provisionally admitted students, students on probation, and students enrolled in historically difficult courses
    • Access and Learning Accommodation - students with disabilities
    • Career Counseling - students seeking career counseling
    • Career Services - students seeking employment and internships

The Foster Success Center provides the resources and environment that support engagement in the academic community as well as fulfillment of personal goals and aspirations.

Currently under construction are the Highers Athletics Complex, which includes an on-campus football practice facility, and the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center on University Parks Drive.

The new facility is a major part of the Victory with Integrity Campaign, an athletic development program initiated in February 2005, and promotes the seventh and 10th imperatives of Baylor 2012: providing outstanding academic facilities and building a winning tradition in Baylor athletics.

Another facility under construction is the McMullen-Connally Faculty Center on South Fifth Street between Speight and Bagby avenues, which will provide faculty with a much-needed place to dine, host prospective faculty candidates and visiting speakers and accommodate faculty events.

The faculty center advances Baylor 2012 imperatives such as attracting a world-class faculty and constructing aesthetically pleasing physical spaces on campus and will promote a stronger Baylor community among faculty members.

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