UT ranked No. 49 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 ranking of best national universities, rising seven spots compared from last year.
According to its website, U.S. News evaluated colleges and universities on 16 measures of academic quality for the 2019 best colleges rankings. UT’s rise this year correlated most with two factors: graduation rates and undergraduate academic reputation, UT spokesperson J.B. Bird said.
“We usually don’t spend a lot of time anticipating the rankings but just focus on metrics that are important to the University itself,” Bird said. “But it’s a nice fringe benefit to see that the ranking recognized some of work UT has done on measurements that it considered important.”
The University has been focusing on improving the four-year graduation rate, which has increased over the last six years, Bird said.
UT also earned high scores in the peer assessment survey and high school counselors’ ratings, both counted to the academic reputation category.
In addition to the overall improvement, UT rose three spots to No. 15 among public universities and was listed as No. 1 in accounting and petroleum engineering.
“We always anticipate that we are going to be in the top 10 on the ranking,” said Catenya McHenry, media relations director at McCombs School of Business. “We work really hard to maintain that ranking every year, and we are also expecting great students to our programs.”
Accounting lecturer Kristina Zvinakis said the most important way to maintain their stellar ranking is to invest in their programs on all levels.
“We must continue to not only admit great students but also support our faculty and staff and also maintain partnerships with employers who value the skills and acumen our students bring to their businesses.” Zvinakis said.
Accounting senior Lingyue Lu said all students and professors there are extremely engaged in the studying and teaching work.
“We are strict with ourselves with the honor of being No. 1,” Lu said.
Although there are several impactful rankings in the nation, Bird said there’s no single ranking that can define what’s most important to a university.
“We are not going to look at what we can do to improve in one particular way,” Bird said. “We will focus on what we can do to be the best public university in the nation.”