U.S. News & World Report ranked Emory University No. 20 for the third consecutive year in its 2013 edition of “Best Colleges” released Wednesday morning.
The news organization uses both statistical data as well as subjective surveys when ranking colleges. U.S. News based its rankings on several categories, with 22.5 percent given to undergraduate academic reputation, 20 percent to graduation and retention rates, 20 percent to faculty resources and 15 percent to student selectivity, among other components.
“As a research-intensive university, Emory offers undergraduates unsurpassed opportunities to study from professors in a wide range of disciplines, and to perform research and undertake original scholarship in many different settings,” Provost Earl Lewis said in a Sept. 12 University press release. “Whatever ‘marks’ we might be assigned by others, Emory by any measure is one of the world’s leading centers of discovery and learning.”
The rankings were released just weeks after the University disclosed to the public that administrators had misreported admissions data for more than a decade. Organizations that rank colleges, including U.S. News, included Emory’s misrepresented SAT scores in determining the College’s rankings for the past decade. Emory had also misreported class ranks for incoming students.
John Latting, dean of admissions, discovered the discrepancies in past data, and Emory subsequently launched a three-month internal investigation, which revealed that two former deans of admission and leadership within the Office of Institutional Research intentionally submitted the information.
U.S. News has since said in a statement that despite the misreported information, Emory’s ranking for the past two years would stay at No. 20.
The University and U.S. News have also acknowledged that Emory resubmitted correct data for the 2013 rankings.
While College Dean Robin Forman acknowledged that he was disappointed by the University’s misreported data and the way in which it “distracted attention from all the exciting things that are taking place on our campus,” he is pleased with Emory’s ranking this year.
“I believe that it allows us to put that story behind us and refocus attention – both internally and externally – on the real Emory story,” Forman wrote in an email to the Wheel.
Forman noted that while these rankings do provide valuable information in how the University can improve and allow for “interesting side-by-side comparisons,” he is troubled by the significance people place on the overall ranking.
“We need to pay attention to it, though, because others are paying attention and making decisions based on that,” Forman wrote.
Lewis agreed, noting in the press release that a simple ranking does not determine the value of the education attained at an institution.
“An education at Emory University is the sum total of many distinguished components that are difficult to aggregate and rank in one numerical grade,” Lewis said.
Emory’s peer institutions such as Rice University and Vanderbilt University retained their spots from last year and tied for 17th place. The University of Notre Dame rose to No. 17 from No. 19 last year.
– By Jordan Friedman