Four B.C. Grad Schools Rank In Top 30

Annual US News & World Report Survey

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

In its new rankings, US News & World Report rates the Graduate School of Social Work and the Law School among the nation's top 25 graduate schools in their respective fields.

BC's graduate programs in nursing and education are rated among the top 30 in their fields by the magazine in its March 10 issue, which includes rankings of graduate programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine and allied health professions, fine arts, and 12 doctoral degree categories in the liberal arts.

US "I believe the US News rankings of graduate schools confirms the judgment that Boston College is newly arrived among the elite universities of the country," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ. "One may quibble with the particular methodology employed in determining these rankings, but the fact that our schools consistently rank among the best in the country is reassuring."

GSSW ranked 14th, tied with Boston University, Smith College and the University of California at Los Angeles, in US News ' rankings of master's degree programs in social work, with a rating of 3.5 on a five-point scale. GSSW ranked 20th when the only previous US News survey of graduate social work programs was conducted three years ago. The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor placed first with a score of 4.4.

"It's wonderful news. This is an outstanding achievement for the Graduate School of Social Work," said GSSW Dean June Gary Hopps, who credited the school's rise in reputation to its selectivity, the strength of its faculty research and the support of the University.

BC Law placed 22nd among the nation's law schools. In cracking the top 25, the Law School advanced four notches from 26th place, the position it had held the previous two years in the magazine's rankings.

Yale University was rated at the top of the law school rankings, which were based on surveys of academicians and lawyers, and measured selectivity, placement success, faculty resources and reputation.

The Law School's rating was unaffected by a revision of the magazine's law school rankings last week, prompted by the discovery of a US News statistical error after the March 10 issue had been published.

Law School Dean Aviam Soifer noted the school finished higher still - 20th in the nation - in US News ' assessment of law school reputations among judges and lawyers.

"What is particularly striking about this survey is that BC Law School excelled under conventional criteria, even though the things that are most important about our school, and which set us apart, cannot be measured in any traditional way," Soifer said.

He stressed the school's "commitment to treating individuals as individuals, its non-competitive student atmosphere, its balanced emphasis on legal theory and practice, and its Jesuit-inspired commitment to social justice."

In the rankings of graduate nursing programs, Boston College finished in a tie for 27th place with Georgetown, New York, Catholic and Vanderbilt universities and the universities of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and Nebraska Medical Center, scoring 2.9 on a four-point scale. The University of California at San Francisco topped the nursing field with a score of 3.8.

Rankings in the health professions - which include SON and GSSW - were based on surveys of faculty and administrators, who were asked to rate schools in their disciplines.

"There are about 600 baccalaureate and higher-degree nursing programs in the country," SON Dean Barbara Hazard Munro said, "and we are very pleased to be ranked among the top 30, which puts us among the top 5 percent of nursing schools in the country."

Among graduate programs in education, the School of Education was rated 28th. Last year, SOE was 14th in the news magazine's rankings of graduate education programs, after placing 16th in 1995.

The rankings of education schools were based on selectivity, faculty resources, research activity and institutional reputation - the last determined by polls of academic deans and faculty, and public school superintendents. SOE Dean Mary Brabeck noted that Boston College's was the only education school at a Catholic university to rank in US News ' top 50 list.

Teachers College of Columbia University topped the field in the education school survey with an overall score of 100 percent. SOE received a score of 77.6 percent.

Cover: illustration by Joyce Hesselberth for US News and World Report

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