St. Thomas moved up one spot to No. 112 on the U.S. News and World Report’s best national college rankings released this week.
Susan Huber, executive vice president and provost,said the university has made significant strides in rankings, and the numbers serve as a “snapshot” to administration. St. Thomas was ranked No. 137 in 2009.
“I think St. Thomas can expect to move forward,” Huber said. “We certainly want to position ourselves in the top 100, and certainly move forward.”
The University of Minnesota ranks No. 69 on the national university list. Carleton sits at No. 7 and Macalaster at No. 24 in the liberal arts category.
Other schools in the MIAC cannot be compared directly to St. Thomas’ ranking because they qualify as liberal arts or regional schools instead of falling under the national label. Still, Huber said the information is useful for national comparisons.
“I think it’s important to look at the listing and see who is ranked above us and who is ranked below us,” Huber said. “When you look at schools like Catholic University of America, DePaul, or Duquesne (University), or St. Paul, (they) are all ranked below us. That shows a picture of how we’ve progressed. These used to be our peer schools.”
Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Kris Roach said her department does not give as much credence to rankings.
“I think the world is increasingly in tune to the magic behind rankings and the consequences behind rankings,” Roach said. “I know parents might look at it, but I don’t think it makes a big impact. People are more savvy about how they search for colleges.”
Senior Bronwyn Crandall was surprised by the national ranking, but she said she doesn’t believe rankings make a difference in undergraduate education.
“It’s exciting, and it’s a way for our school to be promoted in other places,” Crandall said. “It shows that we’ve improved, and I think that helps us move above our competition. If in the past three years we’ve improved that much, I think we could definitely break (the top 100).”
Freshman Rooscol Rozambert said he based his decision on St. Thomas’ reputation, but he had classmates in high school who were more attentive to rankings.
“Everybody just liked St. Thomas where I came from,” Rozambert said. “I’m not sure about national rankings; I never looked at them, although other people did.”
Rozambert also said he sees plenty of initiatives the university has taken on that might further increase its ranking.
“They’ve increased facilities around here and the teachers are really helpful. Location is prime,” Rozambert said. “There’s a lot of businesses in Minnesota that we have connections to, and there’s an overall good feel.”
While Huber admits that moving further up in rankings would be fortunate, she maintained it is not a top priority for the university’s administration.
“We don’t want to be those schools, but we do want to be the best that we can be,” Huber said.
Anastasia Straley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.