NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Forty-two member institutions of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU) have been listed in the 2008 rankings of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News and World Report and Forbes.com.
U.S. News and World Report, which began ranking America’s best colleges in 1983, bases its college ratings on data provided by the institutions and by a survey of administrators at peer colleges and universities. Institutions are grouped into four categories according to a system developed by the Carnegie Fund for the Advancement of Teaching. The two larger categories, Universities-Master’s and Baccalaureate Colleges, are each divided into four divisions, North, South, Midwest and West.
Twenty-six of the 42 IABCU institutions ranked by U.S. News were listed in the top tier of their respective categories.
Baylor and Samford, the only IABCU institutions classified as “National Universities,” were listed in the Top Tier of this category. The 262 schools in the National Universities group focus heavily on research and award a broad range of programs through the doctoral level.
Four IABCU schools were listed in the Liberal Arts Colleges category: Carson-Newman College, Georgetown College, Judson College and North Greenville University. The schools in this group emphasize undergraduate education and grant at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences.
Nineteen IABCU schools were ranked in the Baccalaureate Colleges category. Colleges in this category focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than half of their degrees in the liberal arts disciplines. Thirteen IABCU schools were listed in the Baccalaureate–South division, with Ouachita Baptist University ranked number one for the second consecutive year. Others listed in the Baccalaureate-South division were Anderson University (SC); Blue Mountain College; Bluefield College; Campbellsville University; Chowan University; Louisiana College; Mars Hill College; University of the Cumberlands; Virginia Intermont College; and Williams Baptist College. Oklahoma Baptist University ranked number two in the Baccalaureate-West division, with East Texas Baptist University and Howard Payne also listed in the top tier of colleges in the West. Judson University (IL) and Hannibal-LaGrange College were listed in the Baccalaureate-Midwest division.
The 574 institutions listed in the “Universities-Master’s” category primarily award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Listed in the Universities-Master’s-South rankings were Mercer University, Belmont University, Union University, Mississippi College; Campbell University; Gardner-Webb University; Palm Beach Atlantic University; and the University of Mobile. Listed in the Universities-Master’s-Midwest category were Missouri Baptist University and Southwest Baptist University. The Master’s-West group includes Hardin-Simmons University; California Baptist University; University of Mary-Hardin Baylor; Dallas Baptist University; Houston Baptist University; and Wayland Baptist University.
Forbes.com recently introduced its first ranking of America’s best colleges. In conjunction with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity at Ohio University, Forbes ranked 569 undergraduate colleges and universities, primarily institutions from the top tiers of the U.S. News list of best colleges.
Forbes based its rankings on the quality of the education provided by the institutions and how much their students have achieved. Forbes describes its college rating system as an alternative to the popular U.S. News & World Report report on America’s best colleges. The Forbes.com rankings, which have generated a lively discussion in higher education circles, gathered data from student evaluations of courses and instructors on the website RateMyProfessors.com. These results account for one-quarter of the Forbes assessment. Another 25 percent of its evaluation depends on how many of a school’s alumni, adjusted for enrollment, are listed among the notable people in Who’s Who in America. The other half of the ranking is based equally on three factors: the average amount of student debt at graduation; the percentage of students graduating in four years; and the number of students or faculty, also adjusted for enrollment, who have won nationally competitive award such as Rhodes Scholarships or Nobel Prizes.
Nine IABCU institutions were ranked in the Forbes.com list. Carson-Newman College was the highest-ranked IABCU school at 116th on the Forbes list, followed by Samford University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Georgetown College, Union University, Ouachita Baptist University, Baylor University, Belmont University and Mercer University.
Mike Arrington is executive director of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities.