By: Stephanie Reitz
The University of Connecticut has secured its highest position to date in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking, receiving the No. 19 spot on this year’s list of the nation’s best public universities.
By securing the spot alone this year, not tied with any other institution, UConn has achieved its highest ranking so far.
“The rankings are not a perfect measure of university excellence. That said, this is without question the most impressive position on theU.S. News ranking that UConn has ever reached,” UConn President Susan Herbst says. “It confirms what many already know: that UConn is among the best universities in the nation, with a superb and growing academic reputation.
“Our success is owed to the visionary support UConn receives from the state and its leaders, so every citizen in Connecticut can be very proud of their flagship public university,” Herbst says. “It is vital that we all work hard to maintain and build on this success in the years to come.”
UConn was one of 173 national public institutions reviewed as part of this year’s U.S. News & World Report survey, for which the results were released today.
UConn has achieved a strongly positive trajectory over the past decade in the annual poll, driven in large part by the academic strength of its incoming freshmen and their retention and graduation rates. UConn also scored well for its reductions in class sizes, and growing reputation among peer institutions.
Several major initiatives under way also are expected to help UConn continue to cement its place among the nation’s elite public research universities. They include Bioscience Connecticut, Next Generation Connecticut, a major hiring initiative recruiting faculty from some of the nation’s top universities, and the development of the UConn Tech Park at the Storrs campus.
“Over the past two and a half years, we have made unprecedented investments in UConn to bolster its reputation for academic excellence and cement its status as a leader in higher education, not just in the Northeast but across the country,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says.
“Specifically, through efforts like Next Generation Connecticut, we are making sure that students leave the University with the skills they need to compete in the 21st-century economy,” he says. “UConn’s ranking is evidence that these investments are paying off, and will continue to do so for years to come.”
While UConn officials say they are very happy with the U.S. News ranking, they emphasize the importance of other factors that help define a high-quality institution.
They include ensuring affordability and career-relevant educational offerings for students; prioritizing research and innovation; fostering statewide economic development; promoting environmentally conscious academics and practices; and many other factors.
UConn’s efforts in many of those areas are reflected in other national polls: It is this year’s No. 1 “Cool School” in the annual Sierra Club ranking of “green” colleges and universities, and was cited in the top quarter of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of 100 best values in public colleges for 2012-13.
UConn’s momentum in the U.S. News ranking is evident when comparing its showing over time since 2000, when it was No. 38 on the list of top public universities. It moved into the mid-20s over the following years, and eventually matched and outpaced some of the nation’s most noted public universities.
This year’s ranking returns the University from last year’s spot at No. 21, for which it had tied with the University of Georgia. UConn entered the Top 20 in 2011, when it tied for No. 19 with Texas A&M, University of Florida, and University of Pittsburgh.
A full list of this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings, along with specifics about UConn’s ranking, can be found at: www.usnews.com/colleges.