Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's not bragging if you can do it...

Dartmouth ranked #1 in new US News ranking for 'Best Undergraduate Teaching' among national universities.

Like many of my colleagues at Dartmouth and at other institutions, I often worry about the amount of weight prospective students put on the college and university rankings in publications like the US News & World Report. On the one hand, I see the value in these websites and publications. Most of the high school students that I encounter are considering a list of colleges and universities that reflect pretty strong family, school, and/or regional biases regarding different institutions. Websites and publications that consider and compare a wide variety of schools really help students consider a broader range of college options.

On the other hand, there is a lot that these ranking systems don't capture. Am I thrilled that we were ranked first in this category among national universities? You bet. Do I think the educational experience we are offering to our students lives up to this claim? Absolutely. But we would be the same college, with the same commitments and quality of teaching, if we were ranked #2, or #11. Just something to keep in mind :)

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