U.S. News Rankings
Its not that Stanford fares poorly in the U.S. News rankings
game. In the past four years the university has never fallen below sixth
place, its current standing among the nations colleges and
universities. In the magazines 1997 guide to graduate schools, a
separate issue published in March, U.S. News ranked Stanfords
business school number one; its engineering and education schools were
each ranked second best; and the law school was ranked number three. The
medical school ranked tenth.
But according to President Gerhard Casper, Stanfords status gives him
the credibility to speak out on the rankings. I hope I have the
standing to persuade you that much about these rankings
particularly their specious formulas and spurious precision is
utterly misleading, Casper wrote in an unpublished letter to the
magazines editor, James Fallows, last September.
his letter began circulating quietly through the nations
ivory towers, where he believes many college presidents and
administrators agree with him. I had expressed views [many presidents
and deans] had held for a long time, but they had just never bothered to
express, Casper told Stanford Today. There are college
presidents who utterly dislike what U.S. News does but are
worried about picking a public fight, says Casper, who met with Fallows
in Washington in early December.
In mid-April, Stanford decided to throw another punch. This year the
university will continue to submit objective data to U.S. News,
but will withhold subjective reputational votes.
Stanford recently established a site on the World Wide Web
www.stanford.edu/home/statistics/ that will offer data directly