University programs hold steady in rankings
Darden moves to No. 12, Curry moves to No. 13
When U.S. News & World Report released its 2014 rankings of graduate programs last week, many of the University’s graduate programs retained their status or moved up on the lists.
The Law School maintained its No. 7 ranking, the only graduate program at the University ranked in the top 10 schools in their category.
The Darden School moved up from No. 13 to No.12 in this year’s rankings of business programs. Darden Dean Robert Bruner said the improvement was reflective of the contributions from many faculty members in the school.
“We are not surprised to find ourselves jockeying for a position among elite and highly competitive schools,” he said.
Bruner said the main reason he pays attention to the rankings is because students, alumni and corporate partners do.
“For applicants, the rankings are a natural place to start one’s search for schools, and for corporate recruiters it is an important place to start looking for schools at which to recruit,” he said.
But rankings are not the most important aspect of the program to focus on, Bruner said. “The rankings contribute to the story, but the ability of our students to get better jobs is founded on our ability to recruit and admit terrific students,” he said.
The Education School also moved up one spot, from No. 23 to No. 22. Although rankings are important, the Education School focuses on other markers of success, said Mark Hampton, the school’s senior associate dean.
“Being well-known and having a higher reputation definitely helps our program,” he said. “[But] It is not about numbers but about making an impact in the areas of research, policy, health and well-being. If we do what we are doing well, the rankings will reflect that.”
The US News & World Report list for Public Affairs programs ranked the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at No. 46, tied with many other schools. Senior Assistant Batten Dean Jill Rockwell said that this ranking is based on data collected in 2011 and was a reprint of the rankings from 2012.
Many things have changed, however, since those previous rankings were compiled, she said. The Batten School had only graduated three classes of students in 2011. The school has also expanded from then offering just an accelerated master’s degree program to students already completing their undergraduate degree at the University to now offering an independent master’s program.
“It is fair to say that for public policy schools, I am proud we are among many good schools on the list,” Rockwell said. “For people who put a lot of stock in the rankings, we hope they understand they are only done every few years and not based on objective criteria.”