WSJ/THE rankings put UB in ‘top 30’ among public universities

UB Spine

UB's high scores in the engagement and learning environment categories of the The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education reflects its substantial investments to enrich students' academic experience. Photo: Douglas Levere

Published October 9, 2016

UB has earned a “top 30” rating in a new ranking of U.S. colleges and universities by The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (WSJ/THE).

The inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking of U.S. colleges and universities — based on data from Times Higher Education — places UB at No. 28 among the nation’s top public universities. UB is No. 130 among more than 1,000 private and public colleges and universities ranked by the WSJ/THE.

UB is rated highest — No. 1 — among SUNY institutions in the ranking.

Factors measured by the rankings include engagement, student outcomes and learning environments.

UB scored particularly high in the engagement and learning environment categories — two areas in which the university has made substantial investments to enrich students’ academic experience.

Engagement was determined by students’ responses to questions in four key areas in the rankings’ student survey — critical thinking, challenge, learning connections and applying learning to the real world — as well as responses to questions on interaction with faculty and collaborative learning.

UB Curriculum, the university’s revamped general education program, is a key investment by the university that is designed to increase student engagement, enhance critical thinking skills and provide an enriched educational experience for all students.

Enhancing student engagement is also the focus of the new Undergraduate Academies in Entrepreneurship, Sustainability and Global Perspectives, which connect students with similar interests and provide increased access to faculty expertise and enhanced real-world learning experiences.

UB’s strong commitment to student and faculty diversity, along with its large international student population, were key to its high score in the learning environment category.

UB also was rated highly for achieving a campus environment committed to student inclusion and staff diversity, as exemplified by the creation of the Office of the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion.

In the outcomes category, UB’s rating was based on such factors as the value added to salaries earned by the university’s graduates; loan repayment rates by UB graduates; the university’s academic reputation, based on total votes received for teaching excellence in the rankings’ academic reputation survey; and improved graduation rates.

UB’s Finish in 4 program, part of a comprehensive approach toward increasing graduation rates, has produced measurable results and earned UB national recognition.  

Of the 1,479 students who signed up for Finish in 4 in 2012, its inaugural year, some 930 — about 63 percent — graduated in May 2016, far exceeding the nation’s average four-year graduation rate of 34 percent for public institutions as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. Nearly 80 percent of UB’s incoming freshmen signed up for Finish in 4 this fall.

UB also was cited in a national study by The Education Trust as being among the universities that stand out for improving overall graduation rates while also achieving significant gains for black students during the past decade.

The study, “Rising Tide II: Do Black Students Benefit as Grad Rates Increase?” found the completion gap between white and black students at UB fell from 15.4 points in 2003 to 8.8 points in 2013.