Just how long can you be “up-and-coming” for? In the case of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the answer appears to be at least five years: that’s how long the school has spent at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s list of schools “that are making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty and student life.”
Part of the reason that UMBC has so dominated the U.S. News rankings — besides the fact that Freeman Hrabowski is doing some great things, of course — is that the “up-and-coming” list isn’t determined by a statistical analysis of various factors, as the overall academic rankings are. Instead, U.S. News polls a bunch of experts and asks them who they think the most exciting schools are. In other words, getting lots of press for being innovative (as UMBC has) helps lead to… more press about being innovative! Not that we’re complaining.
In other Baltimore-area university news, Loyola University Maryland was also ranked as one of the up-and-coming universities in the northeast region. Maybe next year, UMBC should consider withdrawing from the contest and giving someone else (ahem, Loyola) a chance?
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