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UB moves up in ‘top 50’ ranking of nation’s best public universities

By MICHAEL ANDREI

Published September 10, 2015

“At UB, we deliver academic excellence through exceptional educational opportunities and impactful research.”
Provost Charles F. Zukoski

UB has earned a “top 50” ranking for the second straight year, according to U.S. News and World Report. The magazine’s 2016 Best Colleges Rankings, released Sept. 9, again named UB among the best universities in the country.

UB earned distinction as one of the top public universities in the nation, ranking No. 45 — up three spots from last year’s No. 48 — among public universities. UB also broke into the “top 100” ranking for national universities, placing 99th. U.S. News bases its rankings on an assessment of 1,400 of the country’s four-year colleges and universities.

Also earning a top ranking with U.S. News was the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which rose to No. 63 from No. 65 among the nation’s best undergraduate engineering programs at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate. The School of Management was ranked No. 80 out of more than 700 accredited schools, higher than any other business school in the SUNY system. The engineering and management schools ranked 37 and 50, respectively, when ranked among public universities.

“At UB, we deliver academic excellence through exceptional educational opportunities and impactful research,” says Charles F. Zukoski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“Our students learn from the top scholars in their fields and participate in research projects, and cultural and community engagement activities. We are very pleased that our distinctive programs and commitment to excellence have been recognized again by U.S. News and World Report.”            

U.S. News targets a total of nine weighted measures to calculate an institution’s ranking. Key elements include undergraduate academic reputation, student selectivity, retention and graduation-rate performance.

For the 2016 rankings, UB posted a 1-percent increase in the number of first-year students in the top 10 percent of their class (29 percent, up from 28 percent), combined with a 3-percent increase in the percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students (36 percent, up from 33 percent.)

UB launched its Finish in Four program in 2012, which has contributed to significant improvements to the university’s undergraduate four-year completion percentage. The program provides students with enhanced support throughout their entire undergraduate career, helping them to achieve their degree in a timely manner. The university’s four-year graduation rate has increased from 39 percent in 2007 to 52.6 percent in 2015, exceeding the national average of 36 percent. Enrollment in Finish in Four has grown from approximately half of the freshman class in 2012 to 80 percent for fall 2015.

Finish in Four also has contributed to UB exceeding U.S. News’ graduation rate performance measure by five points (U.S. News predicted a 67 percent six-year graduation rate; UB achieved a 72 percent graduation rate.)

Over the past five years, UB has directed revenue to initiatives that will directly benefit the student experience, including significant investments in facilities and academic programming. For example, UB has added new Undergraduate Academies in Entrepreneurship, Sustainability and Global Perspectives to connect communities of students with similar interests, providing increased access to faculty expertise and enhancing real-world learning experiences.

“The State University of New York has historically offered students an affordable, accessible higher education that is second to none,” says SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “As we work to bring the benefits of a SUNY education to even more students through our Completion Agenda, we are proud to see so many of our colleges and universities recognized by U.S. News and World Report again this year.”