BY HANNAH MILLER
The University of Mary Washington has recently been recognized by two national organizations that rank institutions of higher education. With numerous rankings in the past, UMW continues to appear on lists by well-known companies.
UMW has been ranked the eighth best public college in the South by Forbes.com and has been named to Princeton Review’s 100 “Best Value Colleges for 2010.”
The Princeton Review listed UMW among the nation’s 50 “Best Value Public Colleges.” According to a UMW press release, the Princeton Review, an education services and test preparation company, bases its rankings on surveys of administrators and students.
The Forbes.com ranking is based on a regional listing of the online magazine’s “America’s Best Colleges,” which looks at the best public and private schools in 16 southern states and the District of Columbia, the UMW press release said.
Forbes.com bases its ratings on factors such as the graduation rate, national and global awards by students and faculty, student satisfaction with professors, average debt upon graduation and postgraduate success.
Some students said they might have overlooked UMW if the school had not been nationally ranked.
“Previous rankings helped me consider [UMW] in the first place, I really wasn’t thinking about it until I saw the Fiske Guide,” freshman Keeley Anderson said.
The quality and excellence that come with being nationally ranked helps to promote the university to prospective student, Martin Wilder, dean of enrollment and student services, said.
“[I] think it’s great to be recognized,” Wilder said.
The rankings also appear in UMW publications and in e-mails to all students, according to Wilder.
“[This ranking] makes UMW more competitive and puts us on par with a school like William & Mary,” senior Joy Vandevender said. “It puts Mary Washington in a different light.”
As many parents are concerned about affording college, Wilder said he thinks it is good to be on lists that look at both high quality and low cost.
“In a tough economic environment, rankings like these will persuade folks to come here,” Emile Lester, assistant professor of political science, said.
Along with affordability and quality, academics are a major consideration on the lists.
“Rankings are reflective of the level of the students and the level of the education we offer here,” Lester said. “[At UMW] all classes are taught by professors, not teacher assistants.”
Lester said he feels that professor-student relations are important in students’ satisfaction with their college education.
The number one mission is to make UMW the best institution it can be, Wilder said, with rankings as an added bonus.
“UMW is committed to continuous improvements to students,” Wilder said. “If that drives us to rankings, [then] that is great.”