By Djamila Noelle Grossman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 21, 2005
The College of Pharmacy ranked fourth in nation in the "America's best graduate schools 2006" survey conducted by U.S. News and World Report.
But the result was no big surprise, said John Murphy, department head of the College of Pharmacy.
"We take a lot of pride in our students in their quality and I'm getting them the best they can be," Murphy said. "We work really hard to turn them into national leaders in their profession."
The survey included 91 pharmaceutical schools nationwide and was filled out by deans and department heads of those institutions, Murphy said.
"Its primarily your gut feeling about individual colleges," Murphy said.
Most college leaders are well informed about the quality of other schools, Murphy said, and the survey was one "based on reputation."
Criteria included the graduate work, activities of faculty outside the college, the amount of research grants and publications.
Murphy said another requirement is the school has to be in good standing because different people take the survey and have different priorities.
"You have to pay the dues across the board," Murphy said. "That all builds the reputation of a college."
Bob Morse, director of data research at U.S. News and World Report who was in charge of evaluating the ranks, said no other publication in the nation conducts equally thorough surveys.
"U.S. News is the only place to get it and students pay attention to it," Morse said about the 2.1 million circulation magazine.
In the last survey in 1997, the College of Pharmacy ranked seventh in the nation, Murphy said, but his goal is to be No. 1 next time.
"We want to rank first, so we are in the right direction," Murphy said.
The college built its reputation by hiring high quality faculty that advance the research, have more publications and receive more grants, Murphy said.
The college is above average, especially in the amount of grants its faculty receives, Murphy said, and it continues to get better because the students and faculty are very active.
Lukas Westendorf, a pharmacy doctoral candidate for 2008, said he attributes the college's high ranking to the enthusiasm of the professors.
"The professors go on extra-curricular activities with you and are readily available," Westendorf said. "I appreciate their mentoring abilities and advice."
The ranking can also make alumni proud of their school, Murphy said, and it increases the chances for students to get a job immediately after graduation because many people in the field pay attention to the school.
"I think at a minimum it means that other people in the field think very highly of the college," Morse said.
The University of California at San Francisco ranked first place, the University of Texas at Austin placed second, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranked third.
The UA shared the fourth place rank with Purdue University, Lafayette University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities.