SPRINGFIELD, Ohio --- A typographic error in the popular Aug. 30 "America's Best Colleges" issue of U.S. News & World Report left Wittenberg University out of the rankings.
A spokesman for the magazine confirmed the last line in the alphabetical list was omitted and promised to correct the oversight in the Sept. 6 issue, to be released Monday, Aug. 30. The college listings on the magazine's web site, and the hardbound college guide from which the magazine rankings were taken correctly include Wittenberg, the spokesman said.
For years Wittenberg was rated the No. 1 regional liberal arts college in the Midwest. When the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching changed its classification a few years ago, Wittenberg and several of its Ohio peer institutions were moved into the national college category.
National liberal arts colleges are defined as more selective, attracting students from across the nation. Regional colleges are less selective, drawing students from a smaller area. This fall, Wittenberg's first-year students alone come from 42 states and 33 nations.
There are 3,595 U.S. colleges and universities, including 637 baccalaureate colleges, according to Carnegie. According to the U.S. News methodology, Wittenberg ranks among the top 122.
"As you know, few leaders in higher education have much confidence in rankings like those in U. S. News," said President Tipson. Along with a number of other liberal arts college presidents around the country, Tipson has refused to participate in their reputational survey for the past several years. Twenty-five percent of the eventual U.S. News ranking is based entirely on whether presidents, deans, and admissions directors across the country choose, generally on the basis of very little actual knowledge, to rank an institution in the first, second, third, or fourth quartile.
"Here is a good example of how vulnerable we become in a ranking system that just about everyone believes doesn't have much validity," Tipson said. "Higher education leaders have protested to U.S. News for years that relying on such a reputational survey destroys any validity their rankings might possess, but U.S. News has persisted in using it," he continued. "Unfortunately for Wittenberg, the simplicity of U.S. News' rankings appeals to many prospective college students and parents and can build or undermine alumni pride."
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