U.S. News Ranks William Woods in Top 100 Midwest Universities

For the
second year in a row, William Woods University is one of the top 100
universities in the Midwest, according to the 2012
edition of U.S. News & World
Report’s annual Best Colleges issue.

WWU
jumped eight spots, from 99th 
to 91st, in this year’s 28th edition of the
college rankings.

Regional
universities, the category where William Woods is ranked, offer an array of
undergraduate and graduate degrees but few doctoral programs.
 
In
addition, William Woods was cited for its freshman retention rate, which
measures the percentage of first-year students returning for their sophomore
year. Nationally as many as one in three first-year students do not return, for
a variety of reasons. WWU’s rate was 80 percent; the highest in the Midwest was
89 percent.

“I’m very pleased that we have moved up in this
year’s rankings,” Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, WWU president, said. “This solidifies
William Woods University’s position among the leading universities in the
region. It is excellent news for our stakeholders, particularly
our alumni and students, as the value of their educational investment continues
to increase. I am delighted that William Woods is receiving the recognition it
richly deserves.”

Over
the past two decades, the U.S. News
college rankings, which group schools based on categories created by
the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has grown to be the
most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher
education opportunities.
 
The
2012 Best Colleges package provides a thorough examination of how more than
1,600 accredited four-year schools compare on a set of widely accepted
indicators of excellence. Among the many factors weighed in determining the
rankings, the key measures of quality are peer assessment, graduation and
retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources
and alumni giving.

 

The
exclusive rankings are contained in the 350-page 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guidebook. The
guidebook is available at www.usnews.com/colleges and
will be on newsstands Sept. 20.
 
According to campus surveys,
students say they choose William Woods for many reasons, but three are
immediately identified:  (1) the
challenging academic programs, (2) the friendliness of the people—faculty and
staff, as well as students who come from nearly every state and approximately 20
foreign countries and (3) the encouraging environment and the opportunity for
involvement—both in the classroom and outside.
 
William Woods, Barnett pointed out,
offers several unique programs:
  • WWU is one of only 30 schools in
    North America offering a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language
    interpreting.
  • WWU was the first school in the
    world to offer a bachelor’s degree in equestrian science.
  • WWU is the only school in
    Missouri to provide a course of study in juvenile justice. WWU also offers
    a degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in homeland security.
  • WWU offers one of only 11
    accredited athletic training education programs in the state.
 
Always
striving to improve the university for which she has been president since 1990,
Barnett cited several steps planned for the future, including:
  • Adding more general education online courses,
  • Revising curriculum in current programs to meet
    the needs of the current and future job markets,
  • Bringing current courses up to date on use of
    technology and engaging students in learning,
  • Conducting environmental scans to decide on new
    programming that would fit our mission and meet student demands, and
  • Increasing the number of articulation agreements
    with community colleges.

Barnett mentioned “the challenges and changes facing
William Woods University—the same challenges facing every other institution of
higher education—the economy, changes in government regulations and the
ever-changing needs and expectations of the students we serve,” but she said,
“We are committed to a proactive and enthusiastic attitude as we bring the best
academic programs to our students.”