Education

Iowa State, University of Iowa tally some losses in U.S. News global rankings

Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. (The Gazette file photo)
Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. (The Gazette file photo)

New U.S. News & World Report rankings for colleges and universities globally show Iowa State University and University of Iowa slipped in some of their best-ranked subjects — including engineering, and plant and animal sciences at ISU, and psychology, neuroscience, and arts and humanities at the UI.

Overall, Iowa State continued its slide in the international rankings from No. 204 three years ago, to No. 212 two years ago, to No. 220 last year, to now No. 231. UI held mostly steady this year at No. 160, compared to last year’s No. 161. The UI had been losing ground, slipping from No. 153 three years ago to No. 159 two years ago.

U.S. News & World Report, esteemed globally as a guide to higher education and often cited locally among universities aiming to recruit students and faculty, released national rankings in September — showing UI likewise maintained its No. 34 spot among public schools.

The Hawkeyes slipped, though, from No. 84 to No. 88 among all national universities. Meanwhile Iowa State improved its standing among all national institutions — jumping from No. 121 to No. 118. It also stepped up one from No. 55 to No. 54 among public schools.

UI President Bruce Harreld over the years has stressed the importance of the U.S. News metric as a reflection of a variety of key indicators of the quality of a university education, mentioning it recently in his retirement announcement.

“Throughout his time at the UI, Harreld urged the university to aspire to higher national rankings and to focus and invest in its strengths, such as its creative writing programs,” according to the UI Office of Strategic Communication’s summary of Harreld’s tenure. “U.S. News & World Report this fall named UI the top-ranked public institution and 13th overall in a new ranking that recognizes the importance of teaching writing and communications in all disciplines.”

Looking at specific disciplines internationally, though, UI in the new rankings lost ground in some of its highest-ranked subjects:

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In psychiatry/psychology, UI slipped from No. 81 to No. 92;

In neuroscience and behavior, UI dipped from No. 93 to No. 97;

In surgery it dropped from No. 102 to No. 118;

In immunology, UI fell from No. 116 to No. 138;

In arts and humanities, it went from No. 119 to No. 131;

And in economics and business it tumbled from No. 157 to No. 173.

Iowa State similarly lost ground in some of its best-ranked subjects:

In plant and animal science, ISU dropped from No. 23 to No. 29;

In agricultural sciences it ticked down from No. 36 to No. 37;

In environment and ecology, it slipped from No. 145 to No. 155;

In economics and business, ISU dipped from No. 173 to No. 177;

And in engineering it fell from No. 191 to No. 208;

This year’s U.S. News global rankings includes schools from 86 countries, with the United States tallying the most at 255. China has the second-most at 176, followed by the United Kingdom with 87, France with 70, and Germany with 68. Just two countries are represented in the overall top 10: the U.S. and the U.K.

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Among the top five internationally, the United States has the top four: Harvard University at No. 1, followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and University of California-Berkeley at No. 4. The University of Oxford in the U.K. comes in at No. 5.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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