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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

DePauw not so thrilled about ranking

Friday, August 17, 2007

DePauw University is the top liberal arts college in the state, according to US News and World Reports.

But University President Robert Bottoms won't be shouting that from the top of the Administration Building any time soon. And DePauw Spokesman Ken Owen won't even issue a press release about the news.

DePauw decided back in June not to promote its standing in the popular college rankings because administrators disagreed with the magazine's methods for selecting the top schools.

The rankings in "America's Best Colleges 2008," which were released Friday, listed DePauw in a three-way for 49th, the highest of any Indiana liberal arts college. Wabash College in Crawfordsville ranked 52nd.

The university's boycott of the US News ranking is primarily based on the magazine's controversial use of "peer assessment" as 25 percent of the formula it uses to rank colleges.

The peer assessment relies on responses to surveys sent to college presidents and other higher education experts that ask them to rate the academic programs of peer schools.

DePauw's decision not to play to US News has nothing to do with its ranking, which has consistently hovered in the high 40s, Owen said.

"We have taken a stand, along with a growing number of other schools, against using what amounts to a beauty pageant to rate us," he said.

In addition to the "peer assessment," 20 percent of the ranking is based on retention of freshmen, 20 percent on class size and faculty quality, 20 percent on how difficult the school is to get into, 10 percent on the school's spending-per-student, five percent on graduation rate and five percent on alumni giving rate.

Despite DePauw's misgivings about the rankings, Owen acknowledged that they are a popular and even useful resource for prospective students and their parents.

Freshman Joey Diciaccio relied heavily on US News to help him pick DePauw from the dozens of schools on his radar.

Diciaccio, who is from Massachusetts, said the rankings greatly influenced his choice and helped him compare DePauw, which he hadn't previously heard of, to other colleges from around the country.

He was surprised to hear that DePauw took issue with the rankings.

In the national college rankings, Princeton University took the top spot with Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania and California Technical Institute rounded out the top five. Purdue University came in at 64th place. Indiana University-Bloomington ranked 75th.

The liberal arts list, which ranked DePauw, is separate from the national rankings.



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