Saturday, May 5, 2007

Oh Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble,
When You Have Ambitious Aspirations

By executive fiat Mr. Bonzo, as everyone at BigU, is driven to discover. His most recent discovery is the US News & World Report Rankings of America’s Best Colleges
, version 2007. Alas, the rankings for public national universities are disturbing news for a BigU in the third year of our ten year march to greatness.

America’s Best Colleges 2007

1 Harvard University (MA)

1 Princeton University (NJ)

3 Yale University (CT).

4 University of Pennsylvania

5 Duke University (NC)

5 Stanford University (CA)

7 California Institute of Technology

7 Massachusetts Inst. of Technology

9 Columbia University (NY)

9 Dartmouth College (NH)

11 Washington University in St. Louis

12 Northwestern University (IL)

13 Cornell University (NY)

13 Johns Hopkins University (MD)

15 Brown University (RI)

15 University of Chicago

17 Rice University (TX)

18 University of Notre Dame (IN)

18 Vanderbilt University (TN)

20 Emory University (GA)

20 University of California – Berkeley *

22 Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

23 Georgetown University (DC)

23 University of Virginia *

25 Univ. of California – Los Angeles *

25 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor *

27 Tufts University (MA)

27 U. of North Carolina – Chapel Hill *

27 Wake Forest University (NC)

30 Univ. of Southern California

31 College of William and Mary (VA)*

32 Lehigh University (PA)

32 Univ. of California – San Diego *

34 Brandeis University (MA)

34 University of Rochester (NY)

34 Univ. of Wisconsin – Madison *

37 Case Western Reserve Univ. (OH)

37 Georgia Institute of Technology *

37 New York University

40 Boston College

40 University of California – Irvine *

42 U. of Illinois – Urbana - Champaign *

43 Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. (NY)

43 Tulane University (LA)

45 Univ. of California – Santa Barbara *

45 University of Washington *

45 Yeshiva University (NY)

48 Pennsylvania State U. – University Park *

48 University of California – Davis *

50 Syracuse University (NY)

50 University of Florida *

52 University of Texas – Austin *

53 George Washington University (DC)

53 Worcester Polytechnic Inst. (MA)

55 Pepperdine University (CA)

55 Univ. of Maryland – College Park *

55 University of Miami (FL)

58 University of Georgia *

58 University of Pittsburgh *

60 Boston University

60 Ohio State University – Columbus *

60 Purdue Univ. – West Lafayette (IN)*

60 Rutgers – New Brunswick (NJ)*

60 Texas A&M Univ. – College Station *

60 University of Iowa *
66 Miami University – Oxford (OH)*

66 University of Delaware *

68 Fordham University (NY)

68 Univ. of California – Santa Cruz *

68 University of Connecticut *

71 Brigham Young Univ. – Provo (UT)

71 Southern Methodist University (TX)

71 Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ)

74 Indiana University – Bloomington *

74 Michigan State University *

74 SUNYBinghamton *

74 Univ. of Minnesota – Twin Cities *

78 Baylor University (TX)

78 Clemson University (SC)*

78 North Carolina State U. – Raleigh *

78 St. Louis University

78 University of Colorado – Boulder *

78 Virginia Tech *

84 Clark University (MA)

85 American University (DC)

85 Auburn University (AL)*

85 Iowa State University *

85 Marquette University (WI)

Public Universities that are ahead of BigU are bolded*. Wisconsin has dropped one spot from last year and Minnesota has dropped several spots to be tied for 33rd in the public university category. The eleven BigTen schools, including Penn State and Northwestern, are in green. BigU is tied for last place in the BigTen with
Indiana and Michigan State.

Now OurLeader and other BigU administrators can cry that the criteria used for these rankings is suspect and that their own numbers are a better method of ranking. But looking at the criteria used in the US News rankings, they don't seem particularly unusual or unfair to Mr. B. Somehow, using them, Wisconsin is 40 [sic] positions above us. And the majority of our competition in the BigTen beat us. With the exception of Northwestern, they all bear the same burden of being a state supported institution. How can this be? And let's face it - if a prospective student is going to be looking for ways to evaluate potential places to attend college, he or she would be foolish not to consider these rankings. They are readily available to prospective students - just google college rankings and see what pops up.

So Mr. B. concludes with his usual request to OurLeader and his functionaries. Please drop this "one of the top three public research universities in the world" stuff. You destroy all credibility when you speak this way. "In the world" reeks of hubris. We have a lot of important work at BigU that should have priority. You would be surprised at what will happen if you can come up with a scheme that the faculty can buy. Let's fix things that are obviously broken. Going on a Children's Crusade at this point is foolish.

"We're number 74!" Now that is a rallying cry. Or, perhaps "Tied for last in the Big Ten - Nowhere to go but up!"

There is obviously plenty we have to do before we worry about becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world. This ambitious aspirations business is a smokescreen. To even mention it, given the sad current state of affairs, is disgraceful.

Mr. Bonzo


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't Michigan also be in green (since it is also a Big Ten University)?

As a grad student at BigU, I answered a survey for the admin about what was needed to raise the academic standing of the U. My one-word answer? Money.

Mr. B. said...

Thanks very much for your comment.
I have fixed the problem and
Michigan is now in green.

I think your answer is correct. The question is how to make the case for more money so that the citizens (and the state legislature) understand why it is necessary. I am afraid that the argument that we are going to be in the top three research universities in the world isn't going to cut it.