|@St. Norbert September 2007 - St. Norbert takes leap in college rankings||St. Norbert College|
By Kelly McBride |
After years in the top five of U.S. News & World Report's annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings for its regional category, St. Norbert College has made the jump to national classification, according to information being released today.
For the past three years, St. Norbert had been ranked fourth in the Best Comprehensive Colleges-Midwest region category of the annual publication. But because of a change in the rankings system, St. Norbert now is listed among the country's best liberal arts schools.
And while the school's high ranking within its category is gone—St. Norbert now is listed in the third tier of its new category—officials said Thursday the switch is a good thing.
"I think it's very positive for the college," said Michael Marsden, dean of the college and academic vice president. "I think we're moving into a national pool here of high-quality liberal arts colleges … We still value professional programs—we still value them a great deal … But our core is liberal arts."
The school's liberal arts focus was a draw for Katrina Marshall, a soon-to-be sophomore at St. Norbert.
"During my college search, it was important to me that St. Norbert was liberal arts (focused)," said Marshall, 19, "to get a more well-rounded education in a variety of areas … It forces you to really think outside your (area of) expertise, or what you're striving for in your major."
St. Norbert officials don't yet know the school's official numerical ranking, said Bob Rutter, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness.
The third and fourth tiers of the category aren't ranked numerically, except by special request. The school filed such a request but has not yet received a numerical ranking from U.S. News & World Report.
Primary criteria for the ratings include peer assessment, freshman retention rate, graduation rate and faculty resources.
Officials pay attention to the rankings, and they know students do, too, college President William Hynes said Thursday. Still, they should be evaluated in their proper context, he said.
"One should be very knowledgeable about one's reputation, about one's resources," Hynes said. "And the categories that U.S. News & World Report uses are important categories. They're not everything.