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Improve Our Ranking In U.S. News and World Report

U.S. News and World Report provides an independent measure of quality for colleges and universities in the United States.U.S. News classifies Millsaps College as a National Liberal Arts College. A liberal arts college is broadly defined by U.S. News as one that focuses almost exclusively on undergraduate education and awards at least 50% of its degrees in the arts and sciences.

U.S. News gathers information on 250 national liberal arts colleges and then classifies the top 75% of them as Tier 1. The bottom 25% are classified as Tier 2. U.S. News then ranks the 187 Tier 1 colleges based on a variety of quality measures. In the most recent ranking, Millsaps is ranked #93 out of the 187 Tier 1 national liberal arts colleges. The top five are Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury, and Wellesley.  Sewanee is ranked #32, Rhodes #47, Hendrix #81, Birmingham Southern and Millsaps are tied at #93.

I propose that Millsaps set as a goal to improve in these rankings. Let's say we set as a goal to be at least as good as Hendrix (#81) by 2012, and as good as Rhodes (#47) by 2015.

The formula that U.S. News uses to rank the colleges is weighted as follows:

  • Graduation and Freshman Retention: 20%
  • Undergraduate Academic Reputation among other college presidents, provosts, academic deans, and high school counselors: 22.5%
  • Faculty Resources (class size, faculty salary, proportion of faculty with terminal degrees and are full-time, and student-faculty ratio): 20%
  • Student Selectivity (SAT/ACT scores, proportion in top 10% of H.S. class, and acceptance rate): 15%
  • Financial Resources (average spending per student on instruction and other educational activities): 10%
  • Graduation Rate (after controlling for spending, test scores, and proportion receiving Pell grants): 7.5%

By setting a goal to improve our ranking, the U.S. News formula will provide a blueprint of areas that need to be addressed in order to improve the quality of Millsaps College.

Contact person:  Bill Brister

For a PDF of the proposal, click here.


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