The 2008 edition of America’s Best Colleges, published by U.S. News and World Report magazine, includes Georgia Southern University in the best national university category for the first time.
Previously ranked as a master’s university, Georgia Southern University was classified as a doctoral/research institution in April 2006, and joins a new academic peer group of 262 American universities, both public and private, in the national category.
“The constant pursuit of academic distinction provides the central theme of Georgia Southern’s strategic plan, and national recognition of the university for our achievements in teaching, research and student engagement affirms our efforts,” said GSU President Bruce Grube. “As Georgia Southern continues to deliver high quality academic programs and initiates more research activity, our position in the national rankings will certainly rise.”
The rankings will appear in the Aug. 27 edition of U.S. News & World Report and will be available on newsstands this coming Monday.
Princeton University earned the top spot among all universities for the eighth straight year and University of California-Berkeley retained its position as the top public institution. Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia were the four University System of Georgia schools listed among national universities.
National universities offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. programs and emphasize faculty research. Data indicating academic excellence in 15 categories is gathered from each college and is weighted by the magazine's staff and the colleges are ranked against their peers based on their composite weighted score. The top school in each category is given a rating of 100, then all other institutions in that category are calculated proportionally against that score.
The magazine annually surveys colleges and universities by initially categorizing them by mission and for the baccalaureate category, by region. The 2008 edition of America’s Best Colleges uses the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s 2006 Basic version of its Carnegie Classification. The Carnegie Classifications have been the basis of the Best Colleges ranking categories since the first rankings were published in 1983.
Seven categories are used by U.S. News to capture academic quality: assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and for national universities and liberal arts colleges, graduation rate performance.
Assessment by peers is given the greatest weight, 25 percent, in determining rankings. Presidents, provosts and deans of admissions are surveyed to account for intangibles such as faculty dedication to teaching and each individual is asked to rate peer schools' academic programs. Graduation and retention rates (20 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (15 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (5 percent) and alumni giving rate (5 percent) are considered in the final ranking according to the percentages above. Detailed methodology can be found on www.usnews.com..