Aug 282008
Authors: Rachel Survil

CSU ranks in the top tier of national public universities, according to the U.S. News and World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges” edition, released Friday.

The university placed 63rd among public universities and 125th overall out of 130.

CSU placed 124th out of 124, last place, in the top tier in the 2008 report.

The report was based on data collected from more than 1,400 colleges and universities.

The schools were organized by mission, which degrees they offer and what their focus is. For example, national universities like CSU provide both undergraduate and master’s degrees and focus on research.

They were then ranked according to 15 indicators of academic excellence, including assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students and alumni gifts. The university received a score of 34.

CU-Boulder received a score of 44, placing it at number 77, and the University of Denver scored a 41, with a rank of 89. Both were in the top tier.

The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley didn’t rank, but managed to make the fourth tier.

“We’re pleased with the ranking among America’s top universities, but, of course, we’re not satisfied with this ranking and we hope to continue to improve in future years,” Tony Frank, CSU provost and senior vice president, said in an e-mail.

“It’s also useful to note that we’re not alone in our investments toward quality: our peers are taking similar approaches and so we’re pleased with our position despite much greater state support and tuition increases by our peers,” he added.

The College of Engineering received a noteworthy 35th place among public universities.

“We’re very pleased, but more important than ranking is to improve each year,” said Sandra Woods, dean of the College of Engineering. “We’re less concerned with rankings than excellence; we’re concerned more with great educational programs and research, and the rankings reflect that.”

CSU was also listed under the Programs to Look For: “Writing in the Disciplines” category. Along with only nine other public universities, (and 23 private ones including Yale and Princeton), CSU strives to make writing a priority at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum, according to the report.

The university’s Strategic Plan and the Board’s Stretch Goals aim to expand CSU’s growth, and thus raise the ranking, in future years.

“We anticipate increasing faculty size, increasing employee salaries and benefits, increasing need and merit based financial aid, increasing student success rates in retention and graduation, increasing research and enrollment-based funding, and a general recognition that Colorado State University is a university making serious positive progress,” Frank said.

Staff writer Rachel Survil can be reached at

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