Denison Maintains Its Place in Top Tier Of U.S. News 'America's Best Colleges'
Posted: August 23, 2004
GRANVILLE -- Denison University has maintained its Top Tier position in the U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of "America's Best Colleges" as No. 50 on its list of the country's public and private liberal arts institutions.
The 2005 U.S. News rankings define "the nations's 217 liberal arts colleges" as those that "emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in the liberal arts." The rankings, which list 110 schools in the Top Tier this year, appear in the Aug. 23 issue of the news weekly.
A mainstay on the list of the nation's top colleges, Denison was listed at No. 49 last year and No. 53 the previous year.
"There are few surprises in the U.S. News listings," notes Denison President Dale T. Knobel, citing the "competitive compression" of the colleges ranked in the Top Tier, including Denison. "Last year's top schools have remained relatively unchanged from previous rankings, and with an exception here or there, the bulk of the national liberal arts colleges either remained in the same place, or moved up or down only a position or two," Knobel adds.
In fact, the compression among these top national liberal arts colleges is such that this year's rankings place 42 of the Top 50 schools in a tie with at least one other institution.
For the second consecutive year, Denison joins only two other Ohio colleges, Oberlin and Kenyon, in U.S. News Top 50.
"American's Best Colleges" uses various methodologies to arrive at its rankings, including a "peer assessment" based upon opinions of other college presidents, provosts (chief academic officers) and admissions deans, to arrive at a score on a 5.0 scale. Denison's peer assessment score of 3.4 places it in a tie for 38th place within this top group. Other Top 50 schools earning a 3.4 peer assessment score include Lafayette College (Pa.), Furman University (S.C.), Dickinson College (Pa.), DePauw University (Ind.) and Sarah Lawrence College (N.Y.).
Denison's 2005 individual rankings, which U.S. News bases on 2003 data, include a ranking of 43rd in the Faculty Resources category. This rating accounts for 20 percent of the total score and is based on six factors assessing a "school's commitment to instruction," including class size, faculty salaries, proportion of professors with terminal degrees, student-faculty ratio, and proportion of full-time faculty. In that category, Denison is credited with a student-faculty ratio of 11-to-1 and a faculty with 98 percent of its professors being full-time. More than two-thirds of Denison's classes enroll fewer than 20 students.
Other factors included in the rankings and contributing to Denison's Top Tier standing include graduation and retention, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving. To arrive at a school's ranking, U.S. News first calculates the weighted sums of its scores, and then rescales other schools after assigning the top school a value of 100 in each category.
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