UA slips in graduate school rankings
The standing of many UA graduate programs slipped in comparison with other universities according to U.S. News and World Report annual rankings released Friday.
While the University of Arizona's hydrogeology program maintained top billing in the country for the fourth year, the Management Information Systems department lost its place as the third-highest rated program in the country, falling to fifth.
The UA's accounting, entrepreneurship, engineering and education graduate schools also slipped in the rankings from 1998 ratings. Only the top 50 schools are published in the study, which ranks according to academic, faculty and research performance.
The speech/language pathology program stayed in fifth place, audiology ranked sixth and the geology and analytical science programs each placed seventh. The study placed 20 UA colleges, including business, engineering, education, English and history in the top 50 programs in the U.S.
If a school's ranking drops, it does not necessarily indicate that the college's program has declined, but possibly that another has risen in the rankings, said Elizabeth Ervin, vice provost for academic personnel.
"Parents and prospective students increasingly rely on these studies, but the methodology does not always give people a true picture of the university," she said.
U.S. News and World Report Stats
Business 39 34
Management Info. Systems 3 5
Accounting 29 34
Entrepreneurship 27 34
Law 40 36
Engineering 43 45
Education 37 40
Public Affairs 30 30
Nursing 12 12
Audiology 6 6
Rehabilitation Counseling 18 18
Speech/Language Pathology 5 5
Economics 34 34
English 46 46
PoliticalScience 31 31
Psychology 36 36
Sociology 10 10
The MIS program fell two spots after University of Texas at Austin and University of Minnesota at Twin Cities snagged the third and fourth spots. The UA's program maintained its placement above Harvard and Stanford.
"We are definitely disappointed," said Olivia Liu Sheng, the MIS department head. "Although, we are not surprised."
During the past year, the MIS department has lost six faculty members, she said.
"It is impossible for us to meet the increasing demand for MIS classes when we have a strong need for more faculty," Sheng said.
Ervin said she is unsure if any new faculty will be brought into the department. She added that administrators hope to funnel money into UA programs that are successful and can benefit most from promotion.
"We are currently looking at ways to allocate and reallocate funds with an understanding that no huge influx in funds is occurring," she said.
Despite administrative concern for programs, U.S. News and World Report spokesman Craige Moore said a school's increase or decrease in the rankings does not mean the institution is getting better or worse.
"Our primary objective is to serve students who are searching for the best school to suit them," Moore said. "The data we gather on America's graduate schools - and the rankings of the schools that arise from these data - serve as an objective by which people can compare schools."
MIS junior Daniel Dancker initially looked at the U.S. News and World Report rankings before coming to the UA.
"I had just heard of the major [MIS] my junior year, and I wanted to know what schools were good in the field," Dancker said. "Once I did my own research, I found out that Arizona was the place for me."