US News & World Report Surveys Graduate Programs

Law, S.O.E., S.O.N., Cited Among Top 25

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

The Law School, School of Education and School of Nursing are among the nation's top 25 graduate schools in their respective fields, according to a new US News & World Report survey.

Compared with last year's US News survey, the Law School maintained its rank of 22nd, while SON's graduate program moved from 27th to 24th place, and SOE's graduate division advanced from 28th to 25th.

The newest rankings, published in the US News ' March 2 issue, bring to four the number of Boston College graduate and professional schools listed by the magazine among the nation's top 25 in their fields. The Graduate School of Social Work was ranked 14th in the 1997 survey; the magazine did not rate social work programs this year.

"I am gratified by the breadth of recognition provided to Boston College by these US News surveys," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ. "That four of our graduate and professional programs rank among the top 25 in their respective disciplines indicates BC is assuming a position among the elite institutions of the nation."

The Law School scored 84 on a scale of 100 in the 1998 rankings, which were based on surveys of academicians and law professionals and measured reputation, selectivity, placement and faculty resources. Yale University retained its first-place ranking, followed by Harvard and Stanford universities, which tied for second. Other law schools in the top 25 included Georgetown University (tied for 11th), University of California-Los Angeles (tied for 17th), and Fordham University and University of Notre Dame, which were among five schools tied for 25th place.

"We are delighted with these results," said Law School Dean Aviam Soifer. "The survey not only indicates that we are continuing to perform very well overall, but that we have improved in some vital aspects."

Noting that the school's ranking in faculty resources had risen from 48th to 38th, Soifer said, "This reflects the University's commitment to the Law School in areas such as technology and library resources, which are major elements in our plans to build upon our success."

In the survey on graduate nursing programs, deans, administrators and faculty were asked to use a five-point scale to rate schools based on scholarship, curriculum and quality of faculty and graduate students. SON compiled an average reputation score of 3.6, tying it with Catholic University of America, Georgetown, New York, Wayne State and Vanderbilt universities, and the universities of Virginia and Alabama-Birmingham. The University of Washington ranked first in the survey with a score of 4.7.

SON Dean Barbara Munro credited the school's performance this year to the "hard work and growing visibility of our faculty." She noted that seven SON faculty have joined the prestigious American Academy of Nursing in recent years and cited the scholarship of Luce Professor of Nursing Ethics Sara Fry.

"We've always had hard-working faculty," Munro said, "but I think in the past few years the intensity has grown, and this has helped elevate our prestige nationally. We also enjoy a special niche as part of a Jesuit institution, with an emphasis on such areas as ethics. We're quite pleased to be recognized in this way."

SOE was one of 191 graduate education programs evaluated by education school deans and school superintendents in districts of more than 5,000 students. In addition to overall rankings based on total score, programs were ranked separately for reputation, student selectivity, faculty resources and research activity. SOE scored 82 on a scale of 100, tying it with Pennsylvania State University. Columbia University Teachers College and University of California-Berkeley tied for first with scores of 100. Others in the top 25 included UCLA (fifth), University of Pennsylvania (10th) and Michigan State University (18th).

SOE Dean Mary Brabeck said she was gratified by the results, singling out the 19th-place ranking school superintendents gave the program based on reputation.

"This is a fine endorsement for the program, and what we are trying to achieve for our students," Brabeck said.

More details on the rankings are available on the US News World Wide Web site.

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