The annual U.S. News Best Colleges edition for 2014 lists 29 public universities among the top 50 nationally in undergraduate engineering, and Rutgers, Iowa State, Ohio State, and UC Santa Barbara all gained at least four places in the rankings compared to 2013. Rutgers led the way with an increase of seven places.
Below are the leading public programs in engineering, with the 2014 listed first, followed by the 2013 ranking. The symbols +, =, and – precede the name of the university to indicate whether the 2014 ranking is higher, the same, or lower than the 2013 ranking. Please note that a change as small as .1 on the 5.0 scale can lead to a change of two or more places.
=UC Berkeley–2014 (3); 2013 (3)
=Georgia Tech–2014 (5); 2013 (5)
=Illinois–2014 (5); 2013 (5)
=Michigan–2014 (7); 2013 (7)
=Purdue–2014 (10); 2013 (10)
=UT Austin–2014 (10); 2013 (10)
=Wisconsin–2014 (13); 2013 (13)
+Texas A&M–2014 (15); 2013 (16)
+Virginia Tech–2014 (15); 2013 (16)
-Penn State–2014 (19); 2013 (16)
+UCLA–2014 (19); 2013 (20)
=Maryland–2014 (23); 2013 (23)
=Minnesota–2014 (23); 2013 (23)
+Ohio State–2014 (26); 2013 (30)
-UC San Diego–2014 (26); 2013 (23)
-Washington–2014 (26); 2013 (23)
-NC State–2014 (32); 2013 (30)
-UC Davis–2014 (32); 2013 (30)
+Colorado–2014 (32); 2013 (34)
+Iowa State–2014 (35); 2013 (39)
+UC Santa Barbara–2014 (35); 2013 (39)
-Florida–2014 (35); 2013 (34)
-Virginia–2014 (35); 2013 (34)
+Arizona State–2014 (43); 2013 (44)
+Michigan State–2014 (43); 2013 (44)
+Rutgers–2014 (43); 2013 (50)
+Colo School of Mines-2014 (49); 2013 (53)
-UC Irvine–2014 (49); 2013 (44)
+Pitt–2014 (49); 2013 (50)
Arizona, Auburn, and Delaware were all ranked at number 53 in the 2014 report.
The 2014 U.S. News Best Colleges report lists the top schools for undergraduate business majors, and this year Florida made the biggest advance in the rankings –up 9 places– followed by Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Maryland, each of which gained 4 spots.
Other notable changes involving public universities were the additions of Georgia State University, Miami of Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah to the top 50. (The state of Georgia now has three public undergrad business programs in the top 50.)
Public universities with number one business specialty programs in the nation are as follows: UT Austin (accounting); Georgia (insurance); Michigan State (supply chain management/logistics); South Carolina (international business); Michigan (management); and Wisconsin (real estate).
As we have noted elsewhere, changes of four to six places can occur with only minor statistical changes.
Below are the public universities that made the top 50 list in 2014. We will use the symbols (+, =, -) to indicate whether a school rose, remained the same, or dropped in the rankings compared to 2013. Schools that gained four or more places will be in all caps.
The U.S. News Best Colleges edition for 2014 is out, and the somewhat obscure changes in the magazine’s methodology this year have wrought many changes in the rankings of major public universities.
The 2013 rankings were especially unkind to public universities; the new rankings show gains by 23 of the 50 schools we follow most closely, while 19 declined and 8 remained the same.
Colorado, Penn State, Stony Brook, Vermont, and Indiana made the most dramatic gains. The new rankings mark the second year in a row that Stony Brook has made a big leap, now ranking 82, versus 111 only two years ago.
What we do know about the changes in methodology probably explain the perhaps surprising fall of two public elites, UT Austin and Washington. The new methodology places more emphasis on grad and retention rates, and these two schools likely did not better the expectations set by the magazine in these categories or actually fell below projected levels. It is also possible, though less likely, that other schools performed much better in these categories than they did in 2013.
The magazine has not been forthcoming about possible changes in the weight given to academic reputation. Both these schools have scored extremely well in that category in recent years, so a reduction in the weight of that category would hurt their rankings.
Alabama, Binghamton, Arizona State, and UC Irvine also fell by at least five places in the 2014 rankings. It is important to keep in mind that very small statistical changes can result in a ranking difference of 4-6 places.
Below are the 50 universities we follow, showing by the symbols (-, +, or +) whether they fell, stayed the same, or gained in the rankings. We also list each school’s rankings for a three-year span: 2012, 2013, and 2014. Schools with gains of five or more places are listed in caps.
The class of 2017 at the University of Arkansas Honors College now has a fully renovated honors residence hall that houses 400 underclassmen in close proximity to two adjacent halls for honors upperclassmen, giving the college an even stronger sense of community that can be of special value to entering freshmen.
Now those freshmen will have frequent contact with older students in the college, gaining knowledge about classes, professors, student activities, foreign study, and opportunities for prestigious scholarships. And that contact will occur not only in the cluster of honors residence halls but in another completely renovated building, Ozark Hall, which houses the honors college administration and staff, common rooms, classrooms, a music room, a kitchen, and a fireplace lounge area.
Students outside Ozark Hall, home of the honors college. (Photo by Shelby Gill.)
The old honors residence at Pomfret Hall did not receive a strong rating in our Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs, published in 2012, although the honors college itself did do well in the review. The remodeled honors residence, Hotz Hall, is much more centrally located and has a what are essentially brand-new double rooms throughout. The baths are described as “spa” type baths, and what this means is that each floor has, at either end, a large complex of private baths that also share 4 or 5 sinks.
The arrangement retains the community advantages of traditional corridor baths but at the same time provides a greater degree of privacy in the bath areas.
In our posts, we have stressed that the strength of an honors college or program depends on the frequency, duration, and quality of honors “contacts”–extensive curriculum across four years; living, dining, and mentoring involving faculty and upperclassmen; and a full range of honors activities. The new developments at Arkansas reflect the college’s commitment to make the honors experience as deep and comprehensive as it can be.
Editor’s Note: The following post is by Temple University communications writer Hillel Hoffman:
An estimated all-time-high 525 freshmen have enrolled in the Honors Program, 183 more than last year. The projected average SAT score of Honors freshmen — 1371, another record — is up 37 points compared to 2012. The projected high school GPA of Honors freshmen, 3.85, has never been higher.
Temple Honors — a program that offers small classes, unique courses and one-on-one advising to a tightly knit community of academically talented students — is on a roll. Honors students are attending the nation’s top graduate schools and are being recognized with prestigious national scholarships, including well over a dozen awards such as Fulbrights, Marshalls, Trumans and Udalls in the last decade. In recent years, Honors has expanded its course offerings, established a peer mentoring program for recruits, added small-group research opportunities, launched a new cultural and service immersion program that has sent students to Appalachia, New Orleans and more.
For many freshmen, the allure of Honors is its scale; it offers an intimate community within a large research university. “I liked the smaller classes, living in the Honors Living Learning Community in 1300 and the individual attention,” said Samantha Rogers, a freshman in the College of Liberal Arts from Tulsa, Okla.
While proud of the high numbers of incoming freshmen and their glittering transcripts, Honors Director Ruth Ost is more interested in the Class of 2017’s character. “There’s an exuberance about this class,” Ost said. “This group is excited about thinking and ideas. We’ve had students who come up to us and say ‘I want to take all the hardest classes I can.’ That’s what we like to see.”