North Texas Daily

UNT ranks high on ‘up-and-coming’ list

UNT ranks high on ‘up-and-coming’ list

August 27
23:00 2009

By Chris Speight / Senior Staff Writer –

The 2010 U.S. News and World Report rankings of colleges and universities have designated UNT as one of the top national universities in America.

UNT tied for ninth place with four other universities on the report’s “Top Up-and-Coming” public national universities. There are 77 total colleges on the list.

The universities that tied with UNT are N.C. State University in Raleigh, Ohio State University in Columbus, University of California in San Diego and University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

According to the report, “These 77 colleges and universities were singled out as schools that have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus, or facilities.”

President Gretchen Bataille said the “innovative changes” came from a myriad of recent changes at UNT.

Some of the changes include hiring faculty in research clusters, increased student aid and the creation of the Emerald Eagle’s Scholar program, she said.

UNT’s “green” efforts also aided its high placement on the list, Bataille said. Those efforts include hiring a sustainability director, constructing new environmentally friendly buildings and enhancing international programs in Mexico, India and Thailand.

“In all of those areas, I think we are making changes and we are now being noticed for making those changes, “ Bataille said.

Bataille said this is the second year this particular list has been made.

However, Director of Admissions Rebecca Lothringer said systems that rate the “top schools” can be misleading.

“Honestly, they’re not necessarily fair,” she said. “They’re misleading in many cases to the parents and students that are reading the report, especially if they don’t understand how the ranking was actually figured.”

She said UNT is glad to be named in the new ranking system because U.S. News and World Report is starting to look into schools that have areas of development and innovation.

“They used to just rank colleges into different tiers, in the old system,” Lothringer said.

Tier reports look at certain variables and tend to sway the results of the rankings, Lothringer said.

“For instance: a school that caps their enrollment is going to have a better admissions percentage than we would, because we don’t cap our enrollment, so anyone who meets our requirements is going to be admitted,” she said.

Allen Clark, the Director of Institutional Research, said that rankings can be skewed to their criteria, but there has to be some type of measure.

“U.S. News has determined what they have deemed as their measure,” Clark said. “I don’t think it’s a matter of fair or not fair, it’s a matter of grading on institutions and they set up what the grades are going to be.”

But many students and parents haven’t felt the need to wait for the go-ahead from U.S. News and World Report to flock to UNT, Clark said.

The registered student population in the fall of 2004 was 31,155. Since then, it has risen by at least 3,543 students. In the fall of 2008, the registered student population was 34,698.

Lothringer said she thinks that parents and students are getting savvier when reading ranking systems.

“Ranking is just a ranking based on the way an organization wants to rank someone and it doesn’t necessarily mean that students are choosing the best school,” she said. “However I think students understand the very special opportunities they have at North Texas regardless of what U.S. News and World Report might say.”

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