KU News Release
September 12, 2012
Contact: Tim Caboni, Office of Public Affairs, 785-864-7100
KU remains focused on student success as ranking drops slightly
LAWRENCE – Leaders at the University of Kansas remain focused on making changes that will enable more students to be successful, even as the university saw a slight drop in its U.S. News & World Report ranking released today.
In the “Best Colleges 2013” rankings, KU’s score changed by one point from last year, causing its ranking to go from tied for 46th among public universities to tied for 51st. It remains the top-ranked university in Kansas and features more ranked graduate programs than all other public universities in the state combined.
KU is almost one year into the implementation of Bold Aspirations, the strategic plan designed to secure its recognition as a top-tier public international research university. That plan includes changes geared toward increasing the number of students who graduate from KU ready to succeed in their careers and lives.
One of the central elements related to improving undergraduate education is the KU Core curriculum. The KU Core is an outcomes-based curriculum that will provide students with the practical skills to thrive in today’s technological society, as well as the foundational abilities to adapt to and guide tomorrow’s world.
“The priorities of Bold Aspirations — such as helping students be successful in their first year so they stay on track to graduate — are important factors in U.S. News’ rankings. So as we make changes in those areas, not only will we be improving the success of our students today, we’ll be setting KU up for higher rankings down the road,” said Jeffrey Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor.
Priorities for Bold Aspirations include raising first-year retention to 90 percent, the six-year graduation rate to 70 percent and federal research expenditures to $175 million. Full metrics are available online.
“Rankings are always going to be trailing indicators, in many cases by several years. For example, the graduation rate in this year’s rankings is for students who came to KU between 2002 and 2005 — that’s a big lag. It takes some time for changes we’re making now to be reflected in the rankings,” Vitter said.
In the same U.S. News rankings, the KU School of Engineering is tied for 36th among public university engineering programs, up eight places and earning it the top spot among Kansas’ three engineering schools. The school is in the midst of an expansion to meet a critical shortage of engineers in the state and next month will dedicate a new facility devoted to interdisciplinary research on environmental sustainability.
The School of Business tied for 45th among public universities, having been tied for 33rd last year. The school is undertaking a significant effort to revise its curricula, introduce new programs, recruit additional faculty and market itself to students under the leadership of Dean Neeli Bendapudi, who began her tenure in August 2011.
Graduate program rankings are released each spring. In the most recent rankings, issued in March, KU’s programs in special education and city management and urban planning received top rankings among public universities. Overall, 35 graduate programs are ranked in the top 40 among public institutions.
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