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University at Buffalo remains in ranks of top 100 national universities

The University at Buffalo maintained its standing among the top 100 universities in the country in the eyes of U.S. News & World Report, the magazine that launched the higher education rankings craze more than 30 years ago.

The 2017 edition of the magazine’s annual survey of “America’s Best Colleges” hits newsstands Tuesday and lists UB at No. 99, the same position as last year. Princeton held onto the top spot, followed by Harvard at No. 2 and the University of Chicago and Yale University tied at No. 3. Columbia University was the highest-rated school in New York at No. 5.

UB officials said they are glad to see the university’s innovations in teaching and research acknowledged at a national level. They also noted that UB’s standing among public universities improved from No. 45 in 2016 to No. 43 in 2017.

“We are very pleased that our distinctive programs and commitment to excellence continue to be recognized by students, families and our broader community,” Charles F. Zukoski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said in a statement.

Two other State University of New York universities were ranked higher than UB. Binghamton University rose three spots to No. 86 and Stony Brook fell seven spots to No. 96.

Also ranked at No. 99 with UB were the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Auburn University and Loyola University Chicago.

UB’s undergraduate programs in engineering and business also received rankings. Engineering was No. 63 in the nation, same as last year, while business improved three spots to No. 77.

“Innovations like our undergraduate learning and community center and our undergraduate honors program are going a long way to enhance the quality of our student experience and our global reputation,” Paul Tesluk, dean of the School of Management, said in a statement. “It’s always nice to see these efforts reflected in the rankings.”

The magazine examined 1,620 colleges and universities across the country and assigned rankings to 1,374 schools. It weighed factors such as graduation and retention rates, class sizes, admissions test scores and per-student spending on instruction, research and student services. It also asked high school guidance counselors and administrators of peer schools to rate schools’ academic programs.

U.S. News & World Report debuted its rankings more than 30 years ago. College administrators have long criticized the rankings for rewarding the wealthiest and most selective schools, while failing to measure an institution’s actual effectiveness. Yet, because of the continuing popularity of the rankings and a raft of others in its wake, many schools also try to take advantage of the positive exposure of a high ranking on their websites and in marketing materials.

U.S. News & World Report separately rated comprehensive colleges and universities by region of the country.

In the North, Providence College came in at No. 1 out of 187 schools, while two New York schools were in the top 10: Ithaca College at No. 6 and Marist College at No. 9. SUNY Geneseo was the highest-ranking Western New York school at No. 14, the same as last year. Geneseo also was recognized as one of two schools in the North for its commitment to teaching undergraduate students.

Other Western New York institutions were also ranked:

• Canisius College, No. 23, up 11 spots from last year;

• St. Bonaventure University, No. 27, down three;

• Niagara University, No. 44, up four;

• SUNY Fredonia, No. 61, up five; and,

• SUNY Buffalo State, No. 110, up 12.

Alfred University, which historically had been included among comprehensive colleges and universities in the North region, was moved this year into the category of “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges,” where it ranked No. 157 out of 239 schools nationwide. Williams College in Massachusetts received the No. 1 ranking in the national liberal arts category, which also included Houghton College in Allegany County at No. 144.

email: jtokasz@buffnews.com

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