Baylor Programs Excel In U.S. News Survey

Aug. 23, 2003
News Photo 1484

by Alan Hunt

Baylor University and its business, entrepreneurship and engineering programs received high marks in the 2004 edition of America's Best Colleges, compiled by U.S.News & World Report. The survey, announced Friday, Aug. 22, showed Baylor placing 78th out of 248 top national doctoral-granting universities included in the rankings.

The rating puts Baylor tied for fourth position among Big 12 schools included in the rankings and in fifth place among the 16 Texas universities listed. Baylor is tied for the 78th spot with Clemson University, St. Louis University, State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, and the University of Colorado-Boulder, another Big 12 school.

"U.S. News and World Report's America's Best Colleges issue is the most followed college guide in the country," said Baylor President Dr. Robert B. Sloan Jr. "Like them or not, the rankings influence parents and prospective students. I am pleased that Baylor ranks so favorably with its peer institutions, particularly in light of the fact the magazine's criteria are student-friendly and reflect many of Baylor's educational values."

The undergraduate business program at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business jumped to 53rd place in the rankings from 62nd last year, and the school's entrepreneurship program is again ranked in the U.S. News top 10, as the ninth best entrepreneurship program in the nation. U.S. News ranked a total of 375 undergraduate business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The ranking places Baylor Business in the top 14 percent of all accredited undergraduate business programs in the United States. "Baylor Business is a model of management education that is unlocking the 'value of values' in business organizations," said Dr. Terry S. Maness, dean of the Hankamer School of Business. "These rankings confirm that we are moving toward our aspirations to better prepare students with a complete education, including theoretical, experiential and value-based learning."

Also climbing in the rankings is Baylor's engineering program, which is rated 19th in the nation in the survey of 145 best undergraduate engineering programs without doctoral programs. This is one spot up over last year when Baylor's program was ranked 20th, and a jump of seven places over 2001, when Baylor ranked 26th in the listing. Baylor is ranked highest of the four Texas schools included in the survey, which is confined to programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

"I am gratified that Baylor is ranked as the highest-standing engineering program in the state of Texas," said Dr. Benjamin S. Kelley, dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science and professor of engineering. "The engineering and computer science programs at Baylor continue to pursue creative endeavors, and I look forward to continued national recognition of our faculty and students."

The magazine said its rankings of undergraduate business and engineering programs are based on the judgments of deans and senior faculty who rated each program they're familiar with on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). Baylor's undergraduate business program received an academic reputation score of 3.1 - up from 3.0 last year, and the engineering program also received a score of 3.1.

The first 126 universities are ranked numerically in the survey of doctoral-granting universities. The others are listed alphabetically in third and fourth tier categories. Two Texas universities are included in the third tier, and eight in the fourth tier. In previous years, U.S. News numerically ranked only the first 50 universities and listed the others in alphabetically based tiers. Of the 248 schools in this year's survey, 86 are private and 162 public.

Other Texas schools highly placed in the rankings include Rice University (16th place), University of Texas-Austin (tied for 53rd), Texas A&M University (tied for 67th) and Southern Methodist University (tied for 73rd). Texas Christian University is tied for 99th place.

U.S. News said the ranking formula for its "Best National Universities-Doctoral" survey relies on several factors, including up to 15 "indicators of academic excellence" it gathers from each school; assessment by administrators at peer institutions; retention of students; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; alumni giving; class size; student/faculty ratio, and graduation rate performance.

In the survey, Baylor's academic reputation (peer assessment) score is listed as 3.3 out of a possible 5.0, and the average freshman retention rate is 84 percent. The number of faculty who are full time is listed at 95 percent, and Baylor's average alumni giving rate is 25 percent. In the "classes under 20" category, Baylor is credited with 36 percent, and "classes of 50 or more" is listed at 12 percent. Forty percent of Baylor freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their high school class, according to the survey.

"While ranking institutions is a difficult task due in part to their quite dissimilar characteristics (and our uniqueness and future competitiveness lies in our distinctive Christian mission), we are all competing for the best students, the best faculty and other resources," said Dr. Van D. Gray, associate vice president for strategic planning and improvement. "The rankings help us gauge our progress and improvement within a reasonable competitive context, as we pursue academic and community excellence."

Several of Baylor's graduate programs also were highly ranked in the 2004 Best Graduate Schools rankings released earlier this year by U.S.News & World Report. Included in the magazine's "top" categories were Baylor's law, business, nursing, education, clinical psychology, speech-language pathology and other health-related programs, including two Baylor-U.S. Army programs operated at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

The U.S. News rankings can be found at U.S.News & World Report.

"The Best 351 Colleges" - The Princeton Review "

In late August, the Princeton Review featured Baylor University as one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education in its just-published 2004 edition of The Princeton Review annual college guide, "The Best 351 Colleges." Read the full story here.

Baylor also is featured in The Princeton Review's newest guidebook, The Best Western Colleges, which Franek says profiles the top 121 schools from 15 states with both statistical and student opinion-based information.

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