B.C. among best teaching universities

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

In what has been hailed as a recognition of the University's long-standing commitments, the annual US News & World Report higher education survey has ranked Boston College among the nation's top 20 undergraduate teaching universities and among the top 40 national universities overall.

Boston College ranked 16th in the teaching universities category and 37th in the national universities category, according to the rankings published in the Sept. 18 issue of US News. In addition, the Carroll School of Management was ranked as the 37th best undergraduate business program. The magazine will publish a guidebook version titled America's Best Colleges, which is scheduled for release on Sept. 25.

Boston College administrators said the US News surveys would help broaden the University's reputation for excellence, noting the magazine's earlier inclusion of the School of Education, Graduate School of Social Work, Law School and School of Nursing in its rankings of top graduate school programs.

"It is gratifying that Boston College's long-standing, basic commitment to teaching will now be known nationally," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ. "We are no longer that 'well-kept secret' among the great universities of this country."

"This is a breakthrough for Boston College," said Dean of Enrollment Management Robert Lay. "As a long-time teaching university taking its place among major research institutions, we have sought a good representation of what we try to accomplish. Now, we have been rewarded for our past commitments and encouraged for the future."

To determine the rankings, US News surveyed 2,700 college presidents, provosts and deans of admissions and asked them to rank schools in their respective categories. These responses were combined with educational data provided by the institutions, dealing with student selectivity, faculty resources, financial resources, retention rates and alumni satisfaction.

This year, in response to public concerns over the quality of teaching in higher education, US News editors asked university administrators to select 10 institutions that have exhibited "an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching." Boston College was among six New England institutions chosen: Dartmouth College and Brown University ranked first and second, respectively; Yale (10th), Harvard (17th) and Tufts (24th) universities also were ranked.

US News' compilation of the top 50 "national universities" focused on institutions with "more selective admissions and greater resources" that offer "a wide range of baccalaureate programs, place a high priority on research and award large numbers of Ph.Ds."

"We have been regularly ranked in the past for many of our graduate programs," Lay said. "These current surveys show that there is indeed a balance in our teaching, that even as we nurture faculty research we continue to place a high value on our undergraduate programs."

The University also ranked 37th in the US News list of top undergraduate business and management programs, tied with Babson College, the College of William and Mary, Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology and Syracuse.

"This will certainly help our visibility," Carroll School of Management Dean John J. Neuhauser said. "It also solidifies our place in the top 40 undergraduate business programs, and according to their data, we are not far from the 30th position. So we will look to build upon this and do even better next time."

Fr. Neenan and Lay said the release of the US News surveys come at a fortuitous time, as the University Academic Planning Council - on which Fr. Neenan and Neuhauser serve as members, and Lay as a resource person - continues its work on drafting the University's long-term academic goals.

"This represents a challenge to the UAPC, to solidify our niche among the small group of nationally renowned universities," Fr. Neenan said.

"It helps us psychologically, as an institution, to reposition ourselves in moving toward that desirable mix of high-level teaching and high-level research," Lay said.

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