William Woods continues to move up in U.S. News rankings

For the third year in a row, William Woods University has moved up in the rankings of universities in the Midwest, this time ranking in the 80th percentile. The rankings are published in the 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges issue.

WWU jumped 11 spots in the past two years, from 99th in the 2011 edition to 88th in this year’s 29th edition of the college rankings.  Altogether 625 regional universities were evaluated.
Regional universities, the category where William Woods is ranked, offer a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs but few doctoral programs.
In addition, William Woods was cited for its positive 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 79 percent; only one university in the Midwest had 90 percent.
”This ranking is great news for William Woods University,” Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, WWU president, said.  “To be ranked among the foremost universities in our region is an honor, but an honor we have diligently worked to achieve. Our alumni and students know that WWU provides an excellent education, but this ranking means that others are aware of our triumphs and recognize our accomplishments.”
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 2013 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 2013 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. 18.
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 University is strong and vibrant,” Barnett said. “We are fortunate to have excellent faculty and staff who work together to ensure that our Number One Priority – our students – live and learn in the exceptional environment that they do.”
William Woods, she 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 offers one of only 12 accredited athletic training education programs in the state.
Always striving to improve the university for which she has been president since 1990, Barnett mentioned several steps planned for the future, including:
  • Adding more online programs,
  • 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, and
  • Stronger collaboration with two-year colleges in providing degree-completion programs that join technical skills with critical thinking skills.

Citing a recent study, Barnett said, “The challenges and changes facing William Woods University—the same challenges facing every other institution of higher education—growing competition for new populations of students; the opportunities, costs and uncertainties of new technology; declining financial support; rising tuition; and increasing student debt,” but she said, “We are committed to a proactive and enthusiastic attitude as we bring the best academic programs to our students.”