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7:52 AM, August 17, 2007

AUBURN - Auburn University is ranked 45th among public universities nationwide, according to an annual survey released by U.S. News & World Report today. The ranking marks the 15th consecutive year the magazine has ranked AU among the nation’s top 50 public universities.

“The people of Alabama can be proud that three of the state’s institutions rank in the top-tier of national universities, and the Auburn family can be proud that AU has enjoyed this distinction for 15 continuous years,” said AU President Jay Gogue. “The U.S. News and World Report assessment is another helpful tool that Auburn will use as we prepare a new strategic plan and continue to strengthen our instruction, research and extension programs.”

The AU College of Business improved in this year’s rankings. The college was ranked 29th among public business schools and 48th among all business schools.

The undergraduate program of Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering is ranked 57th nationally overall and 34th among public universities that offer doctoral programs in engineering, moving up from 60th and 35th, respectively, from the previous year. Larry Benefield, dean of the college, commented that “this is the second consecutive year the college has moved up in the rankings, a trend reflected in graduate rankings as well,” and expressed gratitude to the engineering faculty for the accomplishment.

“The U.S. News ratings are based on indicators that some prospective college students may value, such as general reputation or selectivity,” said Drew Clark, director of AU’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. “But AU also uses assessments that provide direct information on equally important indicators of quality, such as how much students are actually learning and what kind of college experience they have.”

Clark said AU was among the first universities nationally to use the Collegiate Learning Assessment, which measures how much students are gaining in key areas such as critical thinking and written communication. Another assessment, the National Survey of Student Engagement, measures how much interaction students have with faculty, how actively they learn skills of inquiry and teamwork, and how challenging and supportive the campus environment is.

“Auburn students consistently achieve high marks for active learning, and Auburn ranks among the top research universities in the nation on the supportive campus environment measure of the NSSE,” he said.

To establish its rankings U.S. News categorizes colleges and universities primarily by mission and, in some cases, region. The magazine then gathers data from each on up to 15 indicators of academic excellence, assigning each factor a weight that reflects the magazine’s judgment about how much each measure matters.

The indicators the magazine staff uses to capture academic quality fall into seven categories: academic reputation among its peers, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and (for national universities and liberal arts colleges) the graduation rate performance, or the difference between the proportion of students expected to graduate and the proportion who actually do.

The newsstand book, America’s Best Colleges, which contains the U.S. News college rankings, may be ordered from www.usnews.com and will be shipped to bookstores today.

Contact: Deedie Dowdle, (334) 844-9999 (ddowdle@auburn.edu), or
Katie Wilder, (334) 844-9999 (wildeka@auburn.edu)

Posted by Wire Eagle | in Staff, Faculty, Alumni, Academic achievements |