Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Bonzo Summary - BS09

Where Do We Stand At Big U?

The US News 2009 Edition of America's Best Graduate Schools has appeared. [The numbering scheme is a little odd, because the report issues in 2008 for data that was presumably collected in 2007. But we will stick with the US News numbering scheme.]

These are the rankings that university administrators love to dismiss as meaningless - except of course, if their school does well, then the rankings are very informative or even valuable research.

Annual BonzoSummary (BS) will keeps track of how BigU progresses along the road to greatness as we are transformed into GreatBigU. This will serve to monitor our progress toward becoming one of the three top public research universities in the world.

The BonzoSummary will track medical schools, law schools, business schools, and engineering schools. There is (quite) a bit more to a university than these parts, but it is unlikely that one will be in the “top three” without strong performance in these areas. Having said this, some of the best universities in the world do not have medical schools, e.g., Caltech and MIT - despite what the Arizona/Florida rankings claim.


University of Minnesota – tied for 24th overall (23rd last year)

Public Universities are in bold face.

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2 Stanford University

3 University of California--Berkeley

4 Georgia Institute of Technology

5 University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign

6 California Institute of Technology

7 Carnegie Mellon University

8 University of Southern California (Viterbi)

9 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor

11 University of California--San Diego (Jacobs)

11 University of Texas--Austin (Cockrell)

13 University of California--Los Angeles (Samueli)

14 Texas A&M University--College Station (Look)

15 Purdue University--West Lafayette

15 University of Wisconsin--Madison

17 University of Maryland--College Park (Clark)

18 Princeton University

19 Northwestern University (McCormick)

19 University of California--Santa Barbara

21 Columbia University (Fu Foundation)

22 Harvard University

23 Pennsylvania State University--University Park

24 Johns Hopkins University (Whiting)

24 University of Florida

24 University of Minnesota--Twin Cities

24 University of Washington

Thirteen public research universities ahead of us in Engineering.

Business Schools

Tied for 27th, 25th last year

1 Harvard University

1 Stanford University

3 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

4 Northwestern University (Kellogg)

4 University of Chicago

7 Dartmouth College (Tuck)

7 University of California--Berkeley (Haas)

9 Columbia University

10 New York University (Stern)

11 University of California--Los Angeles (Anderson)

12 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor (Ross)

13 Yale University

14 Cornell University (Johnson)

14 Duke University (Fuqua)

14 University of Virginia (Darden)

17 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

18 University of Texas--Austin (McCombs)

19 University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)

20 Indiana University--Bloomington (Kelley)

21 University of Southern California (Marshall)

22 Arizona State University (Carey)

22 Georgetown University (McDonough)

24 Emory University (Goizueta)

25 University of Rochester (Simon)

25 Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)

27 Ohio State University (Fisher)

27 University of Minnesota--Twin Cities (Carlson)

There are 8 public universities above us.

Research Medical Schools

Tied for 36th overall (last year tied for 39th)

1 Harvard University

2 Johns Hopkins University

3 Washington University in St. Louis

4 University of Pennsylvania

5 University of California--San Francisco

6 Duke University

6 University of Washington

8 Stanford University

9 University of California--Los Angeles (Geffen)

9 Yale University

11 Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

11 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor

13 Baylor College of Medicine

14 University of California--San Diego

14 University of Pittsburgh

16 University of Chicago (Pritzker)

16 Vanderbilt University

18 Cornell University (Weill)

19 University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill

20 Emory University

20 Northwestern University (Feinberg)

22 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center--Dallas

23 Case Western Reserve University

23 Mayo Medical School

23 Mount Sinai School of Medicine

23 University of Virginia

27 University of Alabama--Birmingham

27 University of Colorado--Denver

27 University of Wisconsin--Madison

30 Ohio State University

31 Brown University (Alpert)

31 Dartmouth Medical School

31 University of Iowa (Carver)

34 New York University

35 Oregon Health and Science University

36 University of Rochester

36 University of Southern California (Keck)

36 Yeshiva University (Einstein)

36 University of Minnesota Medical School

Fifteen public universities above us in research

Primary Care - (Tied for seventh, last year 13th)

1. University of Washington

2. Oregon Health Sciences

2. North Carolina

4. Colorado

5. Vermont


7. Baylor

7. Iowa

7. Michigan State

7. Harvard

7. Minnesota

There are six public institutions above us.

Law Schools

University of Minnesota – tied for 22nd overall

(20th last year)

1 Yale University

2 Harvard University

2 Stanford University

4 Columbia University

5 New York University

6 University of California--Berkeley

7 University of Chicago

7 University of Pennsylvania

9 Northwestern University

9 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor

9 University of Virginia

12 Cornell University

12 Duke University

14 Georgetown University

15 Vanderbilt University

16 University of California--Los Angeles

16 University of Texas--Austin

18 University of Southern California (Gould)

19 Washington University in St. Louis

20 George Washington University

21 Boston University

22 Emory University

22 University of Minnesota--Twin Cities

Five public Universities Ranked above us.

It remains painfully obvious that the administration's declared goal of being one of the top three public research universities in the world is inappropriate, given any reasonable estimate of our current ranking against US institutions. The "whole world" part smacks of hubris and just makes things worse.

Sure one can argue that these rankings don't mean anything or that there are better rankings (Arizona/Florida, anyone?). However, the US News ranking is very important and is consulted by students and faculty for unbiased information about relative strengths of graduate programs. Google "university rankings" and see what pops up. Mr. B. is not particularly upset about these rankings and in some cases they are quite impressive.

There are some hints here as to how we can improve. Perhaps we should consider them rather than going off on a vainglorious crusade to becoming one of the "top three research universities in the world?" It will be interesting to see how things progress at BigU in the coming decade, the time frame OurLeader has given for BigU's achieving Greatness. The Bonzo Summary (10) will appear next Spring in the fourth year of the Great March. Based on a two-point extrapolation, however, things do not look good.

A bright spot is the primary care area of the medical school. In keeping with our land-grant mission, this aspect of the med school is very important and it is great to see that we are increasingly competitive in this area.

Summary (overall/public)

-------------------------------->2008-- 2009

Engineering --------> 22/14-- 24/14

Business----------------> 25/10-- 27/8


Research--------------> 39/16-- 37/16

Primary Care------->13/11-- 7/7

Law--------------------> 20/6-- 22/6

Red means things got worse compared to last year, yellow - the same, green - better

Although I don't intend to track the following areas in great detail they are relevant to claims of being one of the top three public universities in the world:


Biological Sciences -------> 34/15
Chemistry-------------------> 22/10
Physics ----------------------> 23/12
Mathematics----------------> 17/6
Earth Sciences-------------> 21/11

As I write the proverbial storm clouds are on the horizon for funding at BigU by the State of Minnesota. Is it time to change course and decide how best to spend resources we have available? Or should we continue to prioritize our spending as if we had a chance of becoming "one of the top three public research universities in the world [sic]"?

People are paying attention to what is going on at the University. There will be another Bonzo Summary next year. Smoke and mirrors will not work indefinitely. The clock is ticking.

Bob, Tom?


Anonymous said...

Another superb post, Mr. Bonzo. I hasten to point out that you neglected to highlight two public schools in your list of engineering programs: the Universities of Florida and Washington.

Best wishes,

Mr. B. said...


This has been fixed. Thanks.

(In order to be called Slugger, one must have a keen eye..)