UC Riverside Climbs to Number Five on Washington Monthly Ranking

Annual Rankings Measure Student Success, Public Service and Research

From arts outreach, to mentoring programs, to educational outreach, UC Riverside is serving the community.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)—UC Riverside climbed to 5th in the rankings of the nation’s universities and colleges published in the September issue of the Washington Monthly College Guide. The magazine compared 258 national universities for the survey.

The magazine’s editors focused on, “What are colleges doing for the country? Are they engines of social mobility? Do they promote the idea of service to the country? Do they foster scientific and humanistic research?”

When those questions were answered, many of the schools listed at the top of the U. S. News and World Report rankings don’t rank as well, and UC Riverside excels. A core reason for the high ranking is the fact that UCR maintains a high degree of access for low-income students in combination with a higher-than-predicted graduation rate.

“This illustrates the value that the University of California brings to the state,” said UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White. “We are not speaking of a private good, for a single individual earning a degree but rather we are talking about a measurable public good for all of us. This achievement highlights the importance of sustained and consistent public investment in the University of California.”

This is the seventh year of Washington Monthly’s College Guide, which includes an analysis from the magazine’s editors that echoes the idea of the UC as a public good:

Pamela Clute is working with young women to prepare them for success in math and science.

The fact that six of the UC campuses land among the best-ranked universities in the nation “is a testament to California’s historic commitment to institutions that combine world-class research and access for low-income students,” wrote the magazine’s editors in an accompanying story. “While the UC system’s continued dominance shows that it takes a while to grind a great university system down, we fear that the Golden State’s ongoing disinvestment in higher education (the UC budget has been cut by hundreds of millions of dollars since 2007) will eventually diminish the best public universities in the world.”

The editors also make the point that raising tuition at public universities can “snuff out” the altruistic urge to move into public service careers. “It’s hard to think about serving your country or community when you’re worried about servicing your student loans,” they write.

The overall score in these rankings represents the combined score of three equally-weighted metrics—social mobility, research, and service—where the highest is 100 and the lowest is zero.
Social mobility: This measure asks how well the university graduates students who are receiving federal Pell Grants, which are given only to low-income students.
Research: This measure asks how well a research university attracts research grants; and graduates students who then successfully earn PhDs.

Service: This ranking measures rates of Peace Corps service; ROTC service; and percentage of work study money that goes to community service (versus non-community service); as well as community service hours by students and staff; and whether the institution provides scholarships for community service.

In surveys of UCR undergraduates, 59% report that they participated in community service, including tutoring, mentoring and environmental cleanup efforts. UCR had the second highest total among UCs in terms of the average hours per week that students spend on community service.

The complete rankings of national universities can be found at
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/rankings_2011/national_university_rank.php

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E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

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