Thursday, April 3, 2003

WRITER: Chuck Toney, (706) 542-8090, ctoney@uga.edu CONTACTS: David Shipley, (706) 542-7140; Louis Castenell, (706) 542-6446; P. George Benson, (706) 542-8100; Carmon Colangelo, (706) 542-1511; Keith Prasse, (706) 542-3461; Maureen Grasso, (706) 542-4788


ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia appears throughout the 2004 issue of U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools" ranking, with four colleges ranked in the top 50 and several speciality areas ranked in the top 10.

The College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked highest among UGA's honorees, tied for ninth. UGA's College of Education (27th), School of Law (31st) and Terry College of Business (42nd) are also ranked in the top 50.

"Graduate education is a critical component of our strategic plan and is critical to the economic future of the state of Georgia," said President Michael F. Adams. "The continuing recognition of the quality of our graduate programs across the curriculum bodes well for this institution and the state."

"At the University of Georgia we are dedicated to excellence in graduate education," said Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School. "Our exceptional faculty scholars, bright and motivated students and stellar academic programs exemplify this excellence. We are pleased with the rankings and will continue to explore ways in which we can better prepare the next generation of leaders in all disciplines for the state, nation and world."

UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine maintained the top-10 position it held in 2000, the last year that U.S. News ranked vet schools.

"We're very pleased but we'll strive to do better in the future," said Dean Keith Prasse. "Our success stems from a supportive university administration, which is helping us improve our facilities, as well as other things, including the high quality of our students and especially the excellence of our faculty."

The rankings will be available online at www.usnews.com beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 4. The full rankings will be available in book form Monday, April 7, with excerpts in the April 14 issue of the magazine. U.S. News published a reputation-only graduate school ranking in 1987, with the first issue of "America's Best Graduate Schools" coming in 1990.

UGA's College of Education again made a strong showing, ranked 27th overall with five of its programs in the top 10: vocational/technical education (tied for 3rd), counseling/personnel services (4th), curriculum/instruction (6th), secondary education (7th) and educational psychology (10th).

"The consistent high-quality performance of the College of Education in these annual rankings shows that we are on the right track. It is an indication of the dedication and creativity of our faculty," said Dean Louis Castenell.

"Our faculty is working in numerous partnerships with our colleagues in kindergarten through 12th grade education to improve schools in Georgia and elsewhere. The U.S. News survey is just one indication of our ability to prepare not only the best-qualified teachers to meet the challenges of our school districts, but an array of professionals in a variety of education-related fields."

The School of Law is ranked 31st overall and tied for 11th among public universities. Dean David E. Shipley said he was pleased the law school had risen in the rankings and was 11th among the nation's public law schools.

"I am particularly pleased that we increased in standing on nearly every objective category including the bar passage rate and job placement statistics. These figures have a direct relation to the value of the education we provide at the University of Georgia School of Law," he said.

Other categories in which the law school saw improvement are overall ranking and the LSAT scores of entering students.

"In addition, these rankings confirm that we remain one of the most selective public law schools in the nation. For the 2003-04 academic year, with a record number of applicants, the admissions process will be even more competitive," Shipley said.

Ranked with the School of Law at 31 is Brigham Young University, Fordham University, the University of California-Davis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Terry College of Business MBA program is ranked 42nd nationally and maintained its standing as a top 20 program among public business schools (tied for 19th) in the annual ranking of America's best graduate schools.

"Staying in the top 20 among the publics is an important standard for us, and it's our goal to move into the top 10," said Dean P. George Benson. "But the sour economy in the state of Georgia made it a tougher job market for our MBAs."

Georgia has experienced some of the deepest job cuts of any state in the nation, Benson said, and last year's MBA class walked right into the stingiest job market in many years.

"It was encouraging to see that our score from corporate recruiters rose again this year," Benson said. "That means we're doing the right things in our Career Services Office, despite the reality of layoffs and hiring freezes."

The master of fine arts (MFA) program at UGA is tied for 21st, and the printmaking area is tied for third.

"We have been very aggressive in recruiting top faculty and graduate students so it is very gratifying to see the reputation growing commensurate with the quality of the program," said Carmon Colangelo, director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art and a printmaker. "Our graduates are highly sought after for top level positions after completing their degrees, which is a good indicator of the quality of our program."

UGA's clinical psychology program is tied for 28th.

The U.S. News rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinion about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research and students. For the rankings in all five areas, indicator and opinion data come from surveys of more than 1,000 programs and nearly 7,000 academics and other professionals conducted in the fall of 2002.

The opinion data are gathered from deans, program directors and senior faculty to judge the overall academic quality of programs in their field on a scale of 1 ("marginal") to 5 ("outstanding"). In business, education, engineering, law and medicine, U.S. News also surveyed professionals in the field who are part of the hiring process.

The statistical indicators used in the rankings of business, education, engineering, law and medical schools fall into two broad categories: inputs, or measures of the qualities that students and faculty bring to the educational experience; and outputs, measures of graduates' achievements that can be credited to their educational experience.