The US News and World Report released its annual college rankings yesterday to a flurry of attention. (Quick, for the next 64 hours and counting, you can get full access to the rankings without paying!) If this sort of thing matters to you, you might be excited to hear that Harvard and Princeton tied for the number one spot, or that if the top four liberal arts colleges were an acronym, it would be WASP (Williams-Amherst-Swarthmore-Pomona).
The real news around Baltimore, though, is that the magazine ranked our very own University of Maryland-Baltimore County as the number one “up-and-coming” school in the entire country — for the third year in a row, no less. What does that mean, exactly? Well, the publication asked its ranking experts to single out schools “that are making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, and student life.” UMBC touts its “engaged student” teaching model, used in intro psychology/engineering/science classes as one example of this kind of innovation — “The changes have not only produced higher pass rates, but also have encouraged more students to prepare for careers in these fields,” the school says.
There is, of course, plenty of criticism of the rankings every year: their methodology is no good; “best” for who, exactly?; etc. (“I would say in total the rankings are based on how rich you are, how selective you are, and how famous you are,” an expert told the LA Times). But still, it’s nice to see the Retrievers getting the attention they well deserve.