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JMU No. 2 Best Public Regional U. in the South; No. 3 Most Innovative

Undergraduate business and engineering programs also get nod, both moving up in U.S. News' annual College Ranking

by Caitlyn Read


SUMMARY: For 33 years, U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings have helped families compare the academic quality of schools. The U.S. News' 2018 College Rankings are out, and JMU has again ranked highly in multiple categories.

No. 2 Best Public Regional University in the South

U.S. News examined 659 Regional Universities. Regional universities offer a full range of undergraduate programs and provide graduate education at the master's level, but differ from National Universities in that they offer few, if any, doctoral programs. JMU again ranked as the No. 2 Best Public Regional University in the South, second only to The Citadel.

Rankings are based on several key measures of quality. Weighted most heavily are graduation and retention rates, which indicate how successful a school is at offering the classes and services students need to succeed. JMU’s average first-year retention rate is 88 percent, and the six-year graduation rate is 82 percent.

Assessments of the institution by other universities’ presidents, provosts and deans of admission accounted for qualitative attributes of institutions, such as faculty dedication to teaching, and were weighted heavily, as were faculty resources. Faculty resources speak to students’ contact professors. JMU’s student to faculty ratio is 16-to-1.

Also examined was student selectivity, or the abilities and ambitions of the students; financial resources, or per-student spending; and alumni giving, or the average percentage of living alumni who give to their school.

No. 3 Most Innovative Regional University in the South

College presidents, provosts and admissions deans were asked to name the institutions they think are the making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and/or facilities. This ranking is acknowledgment from JMU’s peer institutions of the cutting-edge changes happening on campus, and aligns fully with the university’s core quality of innovation.

No. 109 Best Undergraduate Business Program

Each year, U.S. News ranks undergraduate business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The results are based solely on surveys of business school deans and senior faculty. JMU tied with 19 other schools to place No. 109, up from No. 114 last year.

No. 38 Best Undergraduate Engineering Program (at Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Bachelor’s or Master’s)

U.S. News ranks undergraduate engineering programs accredited by ABET. The rankings are based solely on surveys of engineering deans and senior faculty at accredited programs. JMU tied with six other schools to place No. 38, up from No. 42 last year.

Additionally, JMU was recognized by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans at peer institutions as having a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. The same group also praised JMU’s focus on student success, highlighting JMU’s first-year experience, including orientation, curriculum and other programming, as an exceptional example of how to successfully connect freshmen with each other, and with faculty and staff.

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Last Updated: Monday, October 9, 2017

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