Memo to Don Soltman, President, Idaho Board of Education:
With all due respect allow me to bring to your attention the most recent ranking of universities and colleges in the United States put out annually by U.S. News and World Report. Please note that Idaho’s land grant university, the University of Idaho, despite the reduced rations the board and legislature have had it on, still is ranked 161list of national universities.
The faculty, the administration, boosters, alumni and students are all to be congratulated on this accomplishment for it comes despite your and Governor Otter’s systematic starving of its budget and your increasingly burdening students with more fees and charges. This ranking puts it in a tie with defending national basketball champion the University of Louisville and fellow western universities like the University of Wyoming.
Boise State is listed as #65 on the list of best REGIONAL universities in the west. Idaho State made the list of “also rans” (somewhere between 200 and 300) among NATIONAL universities. Spokane’s Gonzaga University is listed as #4 on that list of best western regional universities.
U.S. News has a very defensible list of criteria for its rankings, with key criteria being factors such as funding levels and endowments, percentage of those admitted in relation to the number of applications, research grants, grade point average of those admitted and attending, scores of students on national entrance tests such as the SAT and the ACT, and strength of faculty as well as classroom size.
Of course there are many critics of the news magazine’s criteria and this month’s latest Atlantic Monthly carries a good article on why one should ignore this annual exercise in bloviating by colleges claiming superiority especially in view of no serious effort being made to measure “outcomes” from the various schools. Nonetheless. . . .
Surely it is time for the Board to acknowledge its error in forbidding the only University referenced in the Idaho Constitution to call itself the state’s “flagship” university for in point of fact and by all measurements it is indeed the state’s flagship institution of higher learning.
These latest rankings ought to give the board cause for pause and for righting the wrong they have perpetrated.
Other rankings for public NATIONAL universities in the west were: (more…)