Campus Round Table on U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 College Rankings
By Matt Singer, WPTS News Director
On this episode of Campus Round Table, WPTS News Director and Pitt Political Review Editor in Chief Matt Singer is joined by Pitt News Opinions Editor and Pitt Political Review Senior Editor Ankur Sakaria, Pitt News Columnist and Pitt Political Review Editor Simon Brown, Pitt Political Review Staff Writer John Lavanga and Student Government Board Member Mike Nites to discuss the latest edition of U.S. News and World’s Reports college rankings, with specific regard to Pitt’s declining rank.
Pitt was previously ranked 58th among national universities, but fell to 62nd place in the 2014 rankings. At its current place, Pitt is tied with Syracuse University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clemson University Brigham Young University Provo and University of Maryland College Park. Pitt is ranked 21st in terms of national public universities, tying with Clemson University and University of Maryland College Park.
The panel examines the metrics used by U.S. News and World Report to determine their rankings, and discusses the implications — both positive and negative — of some of the agency’s methods. Some of these metrics include measurements of how much a university spends per student, how positively peer reviews by faculty members speak of the university, high school class standing of enrolled students, retention rates, student selectivity and more.
This leads the panel to assert that perhaps there is much more to a university than its ranking, as the discussion focuses on the shortcomings and inconsistencies of not only U.S. News and World Report’s methodology, but the methodology used by almost all college ranking systems. The panel concludes that college rankings may in fact be arbitrary.