Friday, August 17, 2007

We are third tier in 2008!

U.S. News and World Rankings have come out. Princeton was number one. We have been placed in the category of Universities–Master's (Midwest), third tier.

I know that we are not really in competition with those rich private schools out east, but more troubling is that we did so badly among the UWs.

LaCrosse -- 22nd in the category
Eau Claire -- 26
Stevens Point -- 40
Whitewater -- 52
River Falls -- 60
Platteville -- 69

Unfortunately, I can't see all the details on the website, but obviously we do very badly in many of the categories. Does someone subscribe, so that we can see the numbers for UWO?

This, of course, is a perennial problem and will continue to damage our attempts to improve. Regardless of the methodological issues of the survey (you can read a few comments about that at, it is really a continuing black eye for our campus.


Jb said...

I know it's something of a bitter reality that universities have to deal with, but the rankings system really needs to be, at a minimum, re-evaluated (though my personal preference would be scrap the thing all together).

Different schools have different strengths, work for different ends, and have different means of funding and on and on and on... But as long as students use the rankings to pick schools and schools use the rankings to raise money, the rankings will always be around.

Anonymous said...

UW Oshkosh is down there with Stout and Superior. This obviously does not reflect the quality of much of the faculty recruited over the past decade or so. Sadly, I can remember when we did much better in the rankings.

Yes I know, everyone moans and groans about how unfair the rating system is. What I almost never hear is talk of action to improve UWO rankings.

UWO ranks poorly in terms of alumni donations. Maybe there should be more discussion as to why that is. Is it that graduates hate the time spent at Oshkosh and so do not donate? Or is it that they can't get decent jobs when they graduate? I can count on one hand the number of people at UWO who either know or care.

Much the same goes for the other categories we are rated on.

Freshman retention? Well there was Roter's ill concieved idea which had almost zero input from faculty.

If there is any data on why our freshman retention is worse than that of Eau Claire or Lacross, I would like to see it. If there is no data, then maybe the campus should start doing a little research.
Maybe then there could some serious discussion of what if anything could be done to improve our rankings

lammers said...

I wonder if both retention and alumni giving aren't tied to a sense of belonging. I've commented before that it is my perception that many of our students do not think of UWO as their primary "personal affiliation." They live at home and/or work off campus. If they live in the dorms, they go home most every Thursday night and come home Monday morning. They see UWO as a place they put in some time rather than a key defining element for Who They Are.

It doesn't help that the campus is tucked away out of sight, hard by the river, with no "Campus Town" area to act as a transition zone.

Folks who don't feel a connection to UWO are less likely to be retained (that'sd pretty much by definition). Similarly, folks who don't feel a connection to UWO are less likely to be willing to support the plac in later years.

I do not know HOW one fosters a sense of connection to campus, but that is what is needed, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Here are the USN&WR numbers:

Lacrosse Eau Claire Oshkosh
Peer Assess 3.0 3.1 2.8
Retention 87% 81% 76%
Graduation 62% 58% 47%
Classes -20 37% 29% 27%
Classes +50 9% 12% 12%
Student/Faculty 24/1 19/1 24/1
Full-time Faculty 91% 92% 86%
ACT 23/26 22/26 20/24
Frosh top 25% HS 81% 55% 39%
Acceptance 64% 69% 80%
Alumni Giving 13% 17% 7%

lammers said...

Okay, here are four things that simply Cost Money, things we could do something about if we spent money on them:

Classes -20 37% 29% 27%
Classes +50 9% 12% 12%
Student/Faculty 24/1 19/1 24/1
Full-time Faculty 91% 92% 86%

Why are other UW schools able to spend money on these things that we don't? They suffer from the save parsimonious state budgfet that plagues us. I assumne it's a matter of priorities.

We can't do much about who we attract or what they do once they leave, but these are numbers that would change dramatically by simply spending more money on them. How mucxh would our status go up if we simply shifted money around to get these four items on par with our sister institutions?

Anonymous said...

Changing spending priorities may help. Again though there is a maddening lack of data.

I assume we still send recruiters out to high schools and that these recruiters are well informed about Oshkosh's strengths and what various departments have to offer potential students.

If we are not doing something lke this to attract good students, then that should be another priority. Otherwise, all good students will know is that we have a bad rating and a new firefighters major

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you ask for! We can't create new university positions even if we had the money. The state limits the number of UW FTE. More instruction can only come from an increased teaching load or converting administrative staff to instructional. The budget has declined in real terms in recent years and any additional money for more instruction would probably come from faculty development or student support dollars. There are no quick and easy fixes. If there were, this would have been done long ago.