CSU ranks among top schools

Aug 272007
Authors: James Holt

A recent study places CSU among the best schools in the nation, but a look at other peer universities and Colorado schools suggests the university is still playing catch-up.

At 124th, the ranking puts CSU only seven spots above dead center, a position that didn’t make print in the U.S. News and World Report’s latest “America’s Best Colleges” edition. CSU shares that ranking in a seven-way tie.

But a more optimistic ranking, which the university has published on its Web site, places CSU in 62nd place when compared only with other public universities.

That number, said university spokesman Brad Bohlander, was provided to CSU by the magazine.

In the state, CSU was beat by the Colorado School of Mines (75th place), CU-Boulder (79th place), and the University of Denver (85th place).

According to the report, CSU ranks 9th among what are considered its 12 “peer institutions,” which includes CU-Boulder.

CSU is still in the top tier, the top 50 percent, of national universities listed in the most recent rankings and its engineering program is ranked 57th in the nation, according to the study. The next 25 percent down are the third tier and the bottom 25 percent are the fourth tier.

For the study, schools were assigned to peer groups to be graded on 15 indicators of academic quality. These indicators were based on categories developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006.

“We’re certainly in the top tier . of hundreds and hundreds of other universities,” Bohlander said.

The reason CSU does not rank higher on the list is because it chooses to serve its students rather than getting caught up in competitive games, Bohlander said.

“Many universities market to ranking,” he said. “We’re not going to do that.”

Bohlander said such rankings have been surrounded by controversy in the past couple years, citing Arizona State University offering bonuses for raising the school’s ranking as an example.

Instead of focusing on ranking, he added, CSU focuses on its students and the impact its research will have worldwide.

“The fact that CSU maintains a student focus, but remains in the top tier says a lot about our school,” Bohlander said. “We think the rankings will reflect that.”

Some CSU students say numbers aren’t everything.

“[The ranking] doesn’t surprise me too much,” said Sarah Scott, a senior applied human sciences major. “It’s a little bit of a party school, so to speak, rather than an intellectual training ground. Although we do have a lot of really good professors – really good people.”

Raja Al-Shammari, a sophomore electrical engineering major agrees.

“It’s good,” he said. “It’s easier than other schools . I would stay here.”

Senior reporter James Holt can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Graphic Idea: (source: colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com)

Schools tied with CSU for 124th place:

– New Jersey Institute of Technology

– Clarkson University (NY)

– University of Arkansas

– Michigan Technological University

– Kansas State University

– Arizona State University

CSU vs. Peer Institutions breakout:

85. Iowa State University

71. Michigan State University

Third tier North Carolina State University

57. Ohio State University

Third tier Oklahoma State University

Third tier Oregon State University

Fourth tier Purdue University

62. Texas A & M University

42. University of California, Davis

79. University of Colorado, Boulder

38. University of Illinois, Urbana

118. Washington State University

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