U.S News And World Report Issues New Ranking Of Universities

unknownOne of the highest stress moments for academics these days is the announcement of the U.S. News and World Report rankings that continues to drive applicants and donors alike. The new ranking is out on undergraduate schools. Princeton University, Harvard, and the University of Chicago (tied with Yale) took the top three spots. The University of Chicago is particularly gratifying for many faculty members rallying around UChicago over the “Chicago Principles.”

University of Chicago’s position is a cause for personal celebration, not just because it is my alma mater but more importantly because it is the school leading the fight to preserve free speech on our campuses. As we discussed earlier, the University of Chicago has rejected the trend toward speech codes and microaggression sanctions. Harvard here) and Yale (here and here) have seen some of the most disconcerting examples of this highly damaging trend. The “Chicago Principle” has become a rallying cry for those of us who fear that American academia is losing the core commitment to free speech and academic freedom. However, for top students who want a world-class education AND free speech, there is an obvious choice. Also other schools like Purdue have aligned themselves with the cause of free speech in adopting the Chicago Principle.

Here is the new rankings:

2017 U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings
1. Princeton University (NJ)
2. Harvard University (MA)
3. University of Chicago (IL) (tie) — Yale University (CT) (tie)
5. Columbia University (NY) (tie) — Stanford University (CA) (tie)
7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
8. Duke University (NC) (tie) — University of Pennsylvania (tie)
10. Johns Hopkins University (MD)
11. Dartmouth College
12. California Institute of Technology (tie) — Northwestern University (tie)
14. Brown University
15. Cornell University (tie) — Rice University (tie) — University of Notre Dame (tie) — Vanderbilt University (tie)
19. Washington University in St. Louis
20. Emory University

31 thoughts on “U.S News And World Report Issues New Ranking Of Universities”

  1. Public universities never do well in these rankings. And I suspect things are getting worse. (I’m an alumnus of U of Illinois)

  2. I don’t know what they base their ratings on, but I would think that the University of Virginia and U.C. Berkeley would be at the top of the list…certainly those universities have better academic reputations than some of the others on the list. UCLA is highly regarded as well.

    1. Tin – my alma mater, ASU just won most innovative university for the 2nd straight year and is in the list of the top 100 universities in the world. Some of these guys did not make that cut.

  3. @Olly

    You are welcome my friend. We disagree on various issues, but I think we do share the same core values. Honor, accountability and wanting the best for this nation. My cousin went to a state school in TN and joined the Army. He attained the rank of colonel and served in multiple conflict areas. He retired after 25 years and quickly became bored w/o work so he joined one of the military contracting firms – lots of money and bennies, but he became disillusioned as this company was simply milking tax dollars and producing nothing of value. So he quit and is now involved in working within the community on various issues. To me, he exemplifies true integrity – focusing on serving his country and not content to prop up the military industrial complex to make $$s. Very unlike many who are into the “revolving door” in DC and other places.

    1. “We disagree on various issues, but I think we do share the same core values. Honor, accountability and wanting the best for this nation.”

      It’s the last one that gets us into trouble. I’d like to believe most people want what is best for the nation; it’s their prescribed means of accomplishing it though that I disagree with. This is why I see us more as a utilitarian democracy rather than a constitutional republic. The constitution is supposed to be the limits of government. Unfortunately, progressives take the view that this is where government begins. And then every idea that’s “best for this nation” is given life.

        1. Steve, there’s nothing wrong with having differing perceptions of what is right or wrong with the world in which we live. We are born with the natural right to believe anything we want, do anything we want, as long as we don’t infringe on the natural rights of others. Human nature has always and will always be a threat to the natural rights of man. The reason we enter into civil society is to collectively provide for a greater security of those rights. Our government exists purely to provide the most security possible with the least amount of intrusion into the lives of the governed. Unfortunately, with respect to our natural rights, we’ve gotten less security as government has grown. Government has become the weapon of the majority. It has lost its true purpose because the people have become increasingly ignorant and apathetic to its existence.

          I am always amazed at the number of people that would deny the existence of natural rights. It’s like a slave defending the will of the master. This dependency on the state will continue to crush the rights of the citizens until we reach the point where enough is enough. The founding generation had their list of grievances and we know how that turned out. In principle, we’re repeating many of those same grievances, but our current generation lacks the enlightenment necessary to recognize it.

          1. Olly:

            Thanks for your thoughts. I generally agree with you, with the exception of the following: “Unfortunately, with respect to our natural rights, we’ve gotten less security as government has grown. Government has become the weapon of the majority.”

            In my view, government has grown because we’ve had less security. What’s more, government has not become the weapon of the majority; it’s become the weapon of the wealthy.

          2. As a follow up. This quote from John Adams in 1772 seems appropriate:

            ““The preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation, it is impossible they should be enslaved.”

            That was four years prior to the Declaration of Independence. When I look at our nation today, we are on the wrong side of that slope.

            1. Olly:

              Regarding government’s role in our security, I assume that includes financial security, too. As an example of the that role, the Great Depression after the crash of the markets in the fall of 1929 is what gave us the ensuing government bloat of the 1930s, including the Glass-Steagall Act. You can argue until the cows come home that those government programs weren’t needed, but you’ll get no sugar from me when it fed the mouths of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. And, it wasn’t the government that caused the the debacle of 2008 after Glass-Steagall was gutted and the pork allowing credit default swaps passed. It was the other way around. And if Wells Fargo’s discharge of 5300 employees recently for what amounts to felony wire fraud, among other felonies and with no one being charged with a crime, government regulation to protect us from capitalist crime needs to be increased, not the other way around.

              I’ve really got to hand it to Adams and his son for that matter. They may not have been the most extroverted of men, but their innocent good will toward all stripes cannot be questioned. I think there was the spirit of new-found freedom in Adams’ time.

              Conversely, the current respective presidential nominees of the two major parties are as virtuous as the bubonic plague. I honestly think Trump is limited in his ability to know any better (though that’s no excuse for anything including his boorishness), but Clinton is just a highly-paid lobbyist who should be in prison along with her husband.

              It’s fairly depressing to pay much attention to politics. In contrast to Adams’ era, people nowadays are more attached to money-making than social policy and freedom.

              1. Steve,
                “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

                I start from there. That is the purpose for government; that is why this government was established. The constitution is designed to be a limiting and not an enabling document. What is the least that the federal government should do to secure those rights? The rest belongs to the states and to the people.

                Instead, what we do as a nation is equivalent to expecting a multi-national corporation to field ALL customer service complaints at the corporate headquarters by the President and executive management team. Federalism be damned. Of course to handle the volume, more and more senior executives are needed. And, since this organization never has to be concerned with revenue, compensation is at a premium. Then, this bloated corporation creates a bureaucracy that appears they are doing as the “customers” require when in reality they’ve hired unaccountable bureaucrats to do the work. Of course since no one is ever held accountable for performance, problems don’t get resolved and more bureaucrats are hired. Wash, rinse and repeat.

                And who does this bloated corporation really serve? Big-money interests. And since all power is held at the corporate headquarters (thank you 17th amendment), big-money lobbyists surround corporate headquarters.


                Let’s face it: sometimes history seems irrelevant. We’re living in a modern technological wonderland of smart phones, Direct TV on airplanes, and online shopping. Yet what makes history both relevant and intriguing is the humanity behind it: the universal qualities and daily life applications that we can discover in the past.

                So it is with the behind-the-scenes story of drafting the U.S. Constitution in 1787, which we mark every year on September 17 as Constitution Day. If we look back, we find that James Madison’s problem-solving skills are as applicable and useful today as they were back then.
                1. Define the Problem

                After the Revolutionary War, the United States operated under the Articles of Confederation. But U.S. leaders soon realized these lacked the power to create something as essential as a common U.S. currency and regulate trade between states (among many other problems).

                What to do? American statesman and future president James Madison, who lived at Montpelier (now a must-see museum in Virginia), decided to problem-solve by researching some options.
                2. Research Your Options

                First, Madison read numerous books on government—including 13 volumes of political history and 11 volumes on the history of humanity. In this way, he “Googled” his way through the topic of government.
                3. Figure Out What Works

                Madison then considered what had and hadn’t worked in other countries and civilizations. Just as modern business leaders do today, he analyzed best and worst practices and applied them to the context and principles of American independence.

                Realizing that the Articles were too weak to merely be tweaked, Madison envisioned a new Constitution based on three branches of government: “I have sought for some middle ground . . . I would propose as the groundwork that a change be made in the principle of representation,” he concluded.
                4. Find a Reliable Backer

                But in order to propose this new Constitution, Madison knew he needed a reliable backer. So he sought the help of an influential person: General George Washington, who had commanded the Continental Army in the spring of 1787.

                “Having . . . formed in my mind some outlines of a new system, I take the liberty of submitting them without apology to your eye,” Madison wrote to Washington.

                Madison encouraged Washington to attend the upcoming convention of leaders meeting in Philadelphia to discuss the problems with the Articles. Agreeing, Washington presided over the convention, which included dozens of men from the 13 states.
                5. Keep a Cheat Sheet of Facts and Data

                Just as politicians and communicators today create talking points or bulleted lists, so Madison created a 40-page, pocket-sized booklet of facts to carry with him during informal and formal debates. He had at his disposal historical evidence to refute arguments made by convention members who might oppose his plan.
                6. Go Out For Coffee Or Drinks

                Although a reserved man with an introverted nature, Madison used his skills of persuasion both on the convention floor and in small groups. Convention attendees shared coffee and ale at taverns in Philadelphia. Unlike some, Madison knew how to disagree without being disagreeable. His quiet, reasoned, logical, and well-researched answers often overcame the loud and inflammatory rhetoric of more impassioned tempers.
                7. Be a Team Player

                Because he’d so thoroughly studied ancient governments and dissected their defects, Madison emerged as one of the most effective and important members of the Constitutional Convention.

                To be clear, Madison didn’t get everything he wanted—but that wasn’t the point or his goal. His purpose was to compromise by creating a stronger national government that was not too strong. The resulting document was not perfect—but it was a start. The U.S. Constitution was approved by the convention on September 17, 1787.
                8. Market and Communicate

                Traveling to New York, Madison mapped a public relations effort with many others to motivate at least nine of the 13 states to ratify the Constitution through special state conventions. His 29 essays, along with those by Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, became known as “The Federalist Papers,” with a total of 85 essays.

                During this campaign, he also worked with Rufus King, a New Yorker who later became one of Madison’s strongest opponents and fiercest rivals during his presidency. This fostered much of the political drama and intrigue I write about in my new nonfiction book, “The Burning of the White House: James and Dolley Madison and the War of 1812.”

                “The Federalist Papers” influenced many and became a foundational work of American political thought and theory. The campaign worked. The states adopted the U.S. Constitution.
                9. Give Credit to Others

                Although Madison was a central figure in the greatest accomplishment of his century, he was careful not to make it all about him. Many people called him the Father of the Constitution, a title he rejected.

                “You give me a credit to which I have no claim in calling me ‘The writer of the Constitution of the U.S.’ This was not like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands,” he wrote.

                Just as we keep photos and mementos of special times in our lives, so Madison was sentimental about the problem-solving summer of 1787.

                “Of all the situations Mr. Madison ever occupied, there was no one he was as fond of talking about as the convention of 1787, which made the Constitution,” wrote Edward Coles, Madison’s secretary.

                While few people will produce anything as foundational as the U.S. Constitution, Madison’s relatable, applicable problem-solving skills are inspirational and relatable for our lives today.

              2. Steve Groen – the bubonic plague is an bacterial infection. It has no moral component.

  4. @Olly

    Our local military university – The Citadel – is at least regionally recognized as a very fine school. And every Citadel grad I’ve ever met whether socially or in the workplace is an upstanding, intelligent and hard working person.

  5. I have always thought these rankings are a joke. Then again I never attended the Ivies rather state schools – you know, where ordinary folk go to attain their degrees. My mentor at GMU in Art History, who had an impressive CV – published, Smithsonian fellow, etc etc. went to teach at Stanford for a semester. She said while it was refreshing to interact with kids who came to school with an extensive background in the Humanities it was cut throat atmosphere within the professorial ranks. She enjoyed her time, but was more than happy to return to GMU and interact with kind peers and guide students who came from all walks of life. And for my part I was grateful to have access to my professors rather than being a number – from what I’ve heard and seen some of the Ivies have enormous class sizes.

  6. Music– to the tune of: I went to the animal fair.

    I went to Harvard and Yale!
    The birds and beasts were there.
    The old baboon by the light of the moon..
    Was combing his auburn hair.

    The monkey, he got drunk!
    And fell on the elephants trunk.
    The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees and..
    That was the end of the monk, the monk, the monk.

  7. Washington University is on the list. Saint Louis University is better. Same town but better school.

  8. Do not support your offspring if they choose the Ivy League. They will spend the rest of their lives thinking that their feces or artFays do not stink. Calling them “snots” is not necessary– one can just say “Harvard boy” or somesuch.
    University of Chicago is a very good place. It is in a very good city. I like Georgetown in DC. I like Saint Louis University and that town.
    Avoid the Ivy League. Harvard and Yale are stale.

  9. Nos. 8, 15 & 20 are all in the South. I like it! Plus there’s Rice in Houston, which is sort of the South. “In Texas” is more South than anywhere else. Must chap the Ivy’s butt to see Vandy tied with Cornell, knocking up against Brown!

    Of course, the fact all 8 Ivy’s fall within the top 20 (actually top 15) universities in the US is a tremendous achievement.

  10. This is an outrage! How come Trump University is not on this list? My doctor says it is in perfect health.

    1. Why isn’t the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on this list? I used to say anything I wanted when I was there. It’s a great commuter school with an excellent selection of tap beers and Chicago-style pizza in the basement of the student union. Go Panthers!

      As for Trump University, I think Clinton and Trump are both teaching a class on stealth health, Clinton’s sometimes interrupted by seizures after which she returns to the podium in blue lenses and announcing it’s a beautiful day.

    2. And Clinton’s Laureate University, a for-profit online college that received large amounts of money from the U.S. State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Bill Clinton was “chancellor,” a position that paid him $16.5 million over five years for giving speeches and being a Clinton.

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