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United Methodist schools score high in rankings

 


United Methodist schools score high in rankings

Aug. 31, 2004

By United Methodist News Service

Nearly 30 United Methodist-related schools are listed among America’s top institutions in the 2005 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s "America’s Best Colleges."

Duke University in Durham, N.C., tied for fifth place (with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University), behind Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. The report compared 248 national universities.

"We’re pleased to see Duke ranked once again in the top tier of national universities and cited for so many of its programs," said Duke Provost Peter Lange. "This is wonderful recognition for our faculty, programs and students, who are arriving back on campus to begin a new semester."

Emory University in Atlanta is ranked 20th. Other United Methodist schools on the top national list are Syracuse (N.Y.) University (tied for 52nd); Boston University (tied for 56th); Southern Methodist University, Dallas (tied for 71st); and American University, Washington (tied for 86th).

"Each time the U.S. News and World Report is published, I look eagerly to see where the United Methodist-related colleges and universities are listed, and I am proud when I see rankings that indicate the quality of our educational institutions has improved or been maintained," said Wanda Bigham, staff executive with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

"At the same time, I realize that academic institutions are diverse, as are students, and that it is important for prospective students and their families to sift through the data to determine what’s important to them - small classes, graduation rates, full-time faculty, and costs, for example."

The establishment of schools has been part of the Methodist tradition since the earliest days of the movement. Today, there are 123 United Methodist-related schools.

Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., is the highest-ranked United Methodist-related school among the 217 U.S. liberal arts institutions. It is tied at 40th. United Methodist-related DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind., is 43rd. Other denomination-related institutions among the top liberal arts schools are Drew University, Madison, N.J.; Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Ala.; Hendrix College, Conway, Ark.; Albion (Mich.) College; Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, Va.; Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss.; Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio; and Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Va.

Among universities providing doctoral degrees, three United Methodist-related schools rank in the top 10 of the Midwest: Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minn. (8th); Baldwin-Wallace University, Berea, Ohio (10th, tie); and University of Evansville, Ind. (10th, tie). Centenary College, Shreveport, La., ranks 11th in the South.

In other primarily undergraduate institutions, three United Methodist-related schools were in the top 10 in the South: LaGrange (Ga.) College (7th); Claflin University, Orangeburg, S.C. (9th, three-way tie); and Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Fla. (9th, three-way tie). Three United Methodist-related schools were in the Midwest top 10: Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio (5th, tie); Otterbein College, Westerville, Ohio (5th, tie); and Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa (8th, tie). In the West, United Methodist-related Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Mont., was ranked 9th. McMurry University, Abilene, Texas, was 11th. There were 324 schools ranked within four regions.

Duke University (8th) and Emory (27th) were also listed as best values among national universities.

"We’re also pleased that Duke is ranked highly in the ‘great schools, great prices’ category, which reflects our commitment to providing financial aid at a level fully to meet the student’s need and thereby making Duke affordable to students of all backgrounds," Lange added.

Bigham said students can attend a United Methodist-related college at no greater cost than state-supported institutions.

"This is true because of the fact that many, in fact most, institutions not only have endowments as well as state/federal grants and scholarships; they also provide other institutional aid for students who have need or great merit," she said.

"I guess the point I want to make is that the United Methodist-related colleges are a ‘good deal.’ The tuition figure is a sticker price and not a true reflection of the cost."

Both Bigham and Lange stress that surveys and rankings don’t tell the whole picture when it comes to choosing the right school.

"As much as we welcome such news, we recognize the limitations of these kinds of surveys and urge high school students and their families to use them as only one factor in deciding where to apply to college," Lange said. "So much about a university experience is difficult to quantify, and every student needs to decide which university is right for him or her."

For more information on United Methodist-related schools, contact the Board of Higher Education and Ministry, at (615) 340-7406 or P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203, or go to www.gbhem.org online.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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