U.S. News and World Reports Rankings

Well…here is the formula…


Note the following: ‘The weight of the peer assessment score was reduced in the Regional Universities and Regional Colleges categories from 25 percent to 22.5 percent.’

I just received my peer assessment ranking sheet to fill out and return on undergraduate academic reputation. Yes, provosts get those mailed to them and are asked to rank other universities in their peer category from 1-5: marginal, adequate, good, strong, distinguished; or don’t know. Purely impressionistic unless you happened to have been at one of the universities you are asked to rank…wait…no…that is also impressionistic isn’t it?

So let me get this straight…22.5% of the weight for U.S. News and World Report rankings of regional comprehensive universities comes from impressionistic data gathered from provosts and presidents across hundreds of comprehensive universities (in my case since BSU is one of those)? So I am ranking universities in the midwest…Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, MN, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana…about 175 universities…on whether or not I believe they are distinguished or marginal?

It appears so.

And somewhere out there provosts and presidents are impressionistically ranking their national university peers? Their liberal arts college peers? Etc.

It appears so.

And in addition, we have the following:

22.5% of score based upon retention/graduation. So, the higher the admission bar the higher the score in this area since retention/graduation is highly correlated with the overall preparedness level of incoming students. In summary, raise the admissions criteria and raise the retention/graduation rates. Access universities…beware!

20% of score based upon faculty resources. Class sizes (significantly affected by available budget which is significantly affected by state allocation, available tuition, or lack thereof); faculty salary (ditto); faculty with the highest degree in their field (have to be nationally competitive in salary to get there); student-faculty ratio (see class size comment above); and proportion of faculty who are full-time (see class size comment above). In summary, raise tuition significantly so that you can offset decreasing state allocations, keep class sizes low, faculty-student ratios low, and pay people competitively…or accept a lower score in U.S. News and World Reports.

12.5% of score based on student selectivity. ACT/SAT scores of incoming students; percent of students in top 25% of graduating high school class; acceptance rate of new students…all contribute to this score. In summary, deny more students admission (only the low scoring ones…which I believe also correlates with SES) and get a higher score in the Reports. And as for the Lumina Foundation and Obama administration goals of producing more college degrees…they can take a hike if the goal of a university is to improve their ranking in U.S. News and World Reports. So, again, access universities beware!

10% of the score goes to financial resources. But wait…wasn’t that already sort of addressed in all of the above? Don’t students coming out of privileged high schools and privileged families (privileged meaning higher SES) who enroll in universities already impact the rankings of that university? There is ample data reflecting that on the U.S. Dept. of Education website. Oh well…we still need some additional weight given to money, so here we go. Per student spending by a university is what this category is all about. The more you spend on a student, the higher the score. So let me get this straight…the more selective a university is the more likely it is to draw high SES students with money; the more money a student has, the more a university can collect from the student. The more the university collects, the more it can spend on the student. Then the higher the ranking. Makes perfect sense…in someone’s mind somewhere out there.

5% goes to the alumni giving rate. HOME RUN for BSU on this one. We are in the middle of a major campaign and our alumni have stepped up to contribute to BSU in a significant way. We will score on this one! Maybe this U.S. News and World Reports ranking thing ain’t so bad after all, eh?

7.5% of the score goes to graduation rate performance. This is an indicator of the actual graduation rate vs. the predicted graduation rate of students. Well, another HOME RUN for BSU as we were ranked #1 in MnSCU last year on a regional study showing that our students graduate at the highest rate in the system vs. what would be expected by our freshman student profile. Despite the system’s squashing of that data as ‘not clean’, here is U.S. News and World Reports validating it. Touche’!

Ok…so everything I said earlier about the questionable rankings…forget it. The last two items fit BSU and we will do well on them, scoring high on the 12.5% of weighting for the final score.

So way to go U.S. News and World Reports! I applaud your rankings and will be sure that we put out a press release about how good we are if we move up next year…and maybe even put it on our website landing page. After all, we grade, test, select, and sort students without hesitation, and we consider that valid, so who are we to argue with you about doing the same to us?

Internships available

Dear BSU & NTC Community:

BSU and NTC are fortunate to have received grant funding from the George W. Neilson Foundation, for the third year to have sponsored internships at several local businesses for the summer of 2014. Fifty percent of the hourly compensation for the intern will be paid for by the Neilson Foundation, up to $2,500 per internship site, and fifty percent of the compensation will be paid by the businesses.

Because of the success from the past two years, the Neilson Foundation has increased their funding to include additional employers who have converted their internship into a local full-time position. This year, 17 employers have been selected, with a total of 23 internships available.

Please share the following Neilson Foundation Internships with students you know would benefit from this program. Please have students stop by Career Services in Sanford Hall to submit their resume before Friday, April 18, 2014 to be considered for the internship. Some sites are open to all majors.

Internship Site Intern Title(s)
1 Country Inn & Suites Management Trainee
2 Design Angler Advertising Agency Intern
3 Hobart Laboratories, Inc. Chemist Intern
4 Iverson Corner Drug Pharmacy Tech-Intern
5 Karvakko Engineering Marketing Intern
Engineering Intern
Field (Survey) Intern
6 Kelsey’s Jewelry Sales and Marketing Intern
7 Knife River Materials Project Manager Intern
Highway Heavy Mechanic (2)
8 LaValley Industries, LLC Engineering Intern
Inventory Management Intern
9 MasTec North America Project Manager Intern
10 MedSave Family Pharmacy Marketing Intern
11 North Country Business Products Technical Call Center Analyst, Intern (2)
12 Paul Bunyan Communications Web Designer Intern
13 Peterson Sheet Metal General Laborer -Intern
14 Riverwood Bank Investment Services Intern
15 Sanford Health – Nursing Nursing Leadership Intern
16 Super 8 Hotel Accounting Intern
17 Wiebolt Electric Apprentice Electrician Internship

Scholarship Day

Please join us next Wednesday, April 9th for the 15th Annual Student Scholarship and Creative Achievement Conference. The conference will be held on campus all day beginning with a continental breakfast in Memorial Hall and the keynote speaker, Dr. James Karner, 8:00 am. Over 200 students will participate in the event.

Full information about the speaker and the conference schedule is available at: http://www.bemidjistate.edu/conferences/scholarship_achievement/keynote/

Upcoming article from Henry Giroux

Absorbed in privatized orbits of consumption, commodification, and display, Americans vicariously participate in the toxic pleasures of the authoritarian state. Violence has become the organizing force of a society driven by a noxious notion of privatization in which it becomes difficult for ideas to be lifted into the public realm. Under such circumstances, politics is eviscerated because it now supports a market-driven view of society that has turned its back on the idea that “Humanity is never acquired in solitude.” This violence against the social mimics not just the death of the radical imagination, but also a notion of banality made famous by Hannah Arendt who argued that at the root of totalitarianism was a kind of thoughtlessness, an inability to think, and a type of outrageous stupidity in which “There’s simply the reluctance ever to imagine what the other person is experiencing.”