S.O.E., Law Earn High National Rankings

By Sandra Howe
Staff Writer

Boston College's graduate program in education is counted among the nation's top 15 in a new ranking by US News & World Report , and the Law School is rated among the nation's top 30.

The current issue of the magazine includes rankings of graduate programs in education, law, business, medicine and health (not including nursing), communications, engineering and various doctoral programs in liberal arts.

SOE advanced from 16th in last year's US News rankings to number 14 this year, making it the top-rated graduate education program among the nation's Catholic universities. In the law school category, Boston College is ranked at number 26, the same position it held last year.

" Once again, the national prominence of our School of Education and Law School have received considerable attention," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ. "Although this honor is not surprising, it is quite pleasing to know that others share our evaluation of these fine programs."

SOE passed Indiana University at Bloomington and the University of Virginia in the rankings and is now tied with Northwestern University. Other than Harvard University, which was ranked in first place, SOE is the only institution in the top 25 from New England.

"With this national ranking, we are better positioned to recruit senior-level faculty and secure external funds," said SOE Dean Gerald Pine. "Clearly, people will see this national reputation and identify Boston College with quality."

The US News issue, which was released on Monday, ranked graduate education programs according to student selectivity, faculty resources, research activity and reputation, all of which have seen major improvement at Boston College, according to Pine. He pointed to SOE's faculty resources, external funding and faculty recruitment as major factors in the high ranking.

"Our faculty has an exceptional record of publication, scholarship and research, and as a result of their work, the reputation of the school has grown over the years," he said. "A school's reputation builds slowly and at Boston College, it is evident that this is the case."

The recruitment of well-known scholars like Prof. Philip Altbach (SOE) and Prof. Marilyn Cochran-Smith (SOE) has also helped the school's reputation, Pine said. He added that the high number of faculty grant applications which were accepted and funded - especially those supporting the Third International Mathematics and Science Study undertaken by the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy - also contributed to the strong showing.

The Law School was ranked on student selectivity, placement success, faculty resources and reputation among law deans and faculty. Lawyers, hiring partners and judges also were asked to rate schools' reputations based on the performance of recent law graduates.

"We are pleased to be holding our own," said Law Dean Aviam Soifer. "But we recognize that these types of studies do not always necessarily measure the things that set us apart from other law schools."

Such attributes include attention to the individual, the importance of both theory and practice stressed in the curriculum, and the commitment to the search for social justice, according to Soifer. It is Boston College's emphasis on these characteristics that explains "why our students are so positive about their legal education," he said.

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