​Curry School, Nursing School climb U.S. News and World Report rankings

Four U.Va. graduate schools in top 20 rankings for respective categories


The Curry School of Education jumped three spots since last year, up from number 21 to number 18, marking its first time placing in the top 20 schools.

Marshall Bronfin | Cavalier Daily

U.S. News and World Report released their 2018 Best Graduate School rankings Tuesday, which listed four University graduate schools — Law, Nursing, Business and Education — as part of the top 20 of each respective category of schools.

The Darden School of Business clocked in at no. 14, and the School of Law was ranked eighth place for the second year in a row.

“We do not focus on year-to-year fluctuations in rankings, but instead on constantly improving the quality of teaching, research and service in the Law School,” Risa Goluboff, dean of the Law School, said in an email to The Cavalier Daily.

The Curry School of Education jumped three spots since last year, up from no. 21 to no. 18. This is the Curry School’s first time placing in the top 20 schools.

“The rankings are important because for us they indicate a direction,” said Bob Pianta, dean of the Curry School. “We have steadily improved in rankings over the course of 10 years. Any one year does not matter that much, but we have steadily moved up in the rankings and that’s the most important part.”

Audrey Breen, communications officer for the Curry School, said she believes the rankings reflect the efforts of students and faculty.

“The fabric of the Curry School is one where students from undergraduate through Ph.D. [programs] come here, collaborate, engage and are aiming to tackle real world challenges,” Breen said. “I think that because together they are creating a culture that is one of excellence and problem solving and really making an impact, we are able to draw really stellar doctoral students and faculty who want to be here.”

Pianta said the faculty has been identifying issues they want to focus on moving forward, from effective teaching to “positive youth development.”

“We are well known for faculty that are working in this area called ‘positive youth development,’” Pianta said. “It’s really focused on youth as assets. A group that operates under the Youth-Nex [Center to Promote Effective Youth Development] has been very successful in getting grants.”

For the first time, all of the School of Nursing’s programs placed in the top 20, ranked at no. 19 for master’s programs and no. 15 for the doctor of nursing practice program.

“I think the fact that our no. 2 program in the country is backed by a $10 million gift from a generous donor and foundation suggests that when you’re at the top, people want to give to the best,” Dorrie Fontaine, dean of the Nursing School said. “One of the way we can help students with financial aid and scholarships is by attracting donors, so we want to keep that up.”

Fontaine said the achievement has received attention on social media as well.

“We put it on our Facebook page, and within 24 hours we had 8,000 people like and share,” Fontaine said. “That’s pretty good, 8,000.”

Fontaine said the next step is to continue bolstering the program, saying the school is currently hiring faculty to work on research.

“We certainly have excellent students,” Fontaine said. “We’ve managed to hire some really brilliant faculty that create an environment where everyone can flourish here and do really well.”

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