A look back at Kansas University’s previous U.S. News and World Report rankings among public universities:
Kansas University dropped four spots among public universities in the most recent U.S. News and World Report college rankings.
It is now tied for 47th among public schools — with Florida State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Tennessee.
“We’re certainly proud of our ranking in the top 50 in public universities,” said Jeff Vitter, who began as KU’s provost last month. He added that KU has room to improve.
The new ranking is KU’s lowest in recent years, but is near its previous rankings. KU has been ranked as high as 30th in 1999, and as low as 45th in 2006.
KU’s new provost said the university is focusing on a new strategic planning effort that will help improve, among many other things, the school’s retention and graduation rates — two factors weighed by U.S. News and identified by KU’s chancellor as important priorities for the school.
Vitter said the rankings were something that KU watched, but said the school doesn’t adjust its overall strategy in improving the quality of its research and education simply to do better on the U.S. News and World Report rankings.
Big 12 rankings
A look at how Big 12 Conference universities scored in the overall U.S. News and World Report rankings:
45-tie. University of Texas-Austin
63.Texas A&M; University-College Station
79-tie. Baylor University
86-tie. University of Colorado-Boulder
94-tie. Iowa State University
94-tie. University of Missouri
104-tie. Kansas University
104-tie. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
111-tie. University of Oklahoma
132-tie. Oklahoma State University
132-tie. Kansas State University
159-tie. Texas Tech University
The magazine changed its ranking system this year, with a new measure for schools’ academic reputation — taking into account opinions of high school counselors — and adding more weight to schools’ graduation rates. Vitter said the rankings aren’t perfect, but are worth following.
“They’re based on measures that are regarded by students and parents as important when choosing a college. So for us, they’re important, too,” he said.
The magazine also recognized KU in a separate, unranked list of 37 schools that had outstanding study abroad programs.
KU ranked in a 104th place tie overall when private schools were included in the rankings. Two private schools — Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Samford University in Alabama — joined the public schools that received the same overall score as KU in the rankings.