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Live By the Sword, Die by the Sword?


Latest US News Rankings - Law School Slips

There seems to be some disagreement among OurLeaders about whether rankings matter.

On the one hand we have things like:

Under the leadership of Provost Sullivan, the University community articulated "an ambitious aspiration for the University—to be one of the top three public research universities in the world [sic] within a decade."

On the other hand we have:

"What separates the top three from the rest ... including the University of Minnesota, is relatively little."

Robert Bruininks

And on the third hand we have:

Vice President Brown noted that the President has said that the top three is an aspiration for excellence, not a destination.

But if you are going to use rankings in your favor, when they are good, you also have to acknowledge them when you have, shall we say, problems.

From the Pioneer-Planet::

The University of Minnesota Law School has slipped out of the top 20 in the influential rankings published by U.S. News & World Report, a move that could cost the university some prestige and make it tougher on law graduates seeking jobs.

The university now ranks 22nd among national law schools, according to the 2009 rankings due to be released today. That's down from a rank of 20 in 2008 and 19 in 2007.

While many experts attack the U.S. News rankings as a poor and superficial way to judge an institution's quality, the numbers carry tremendous weight with prospective students and law firms looking to hire top graduates. The university has promoted its law school as a "top 20" destination. In December, as it named David Wippman its new dean, the university referred to its law school as "consistently ranked in the top 20."

Yes, it's that time of year again, folks. The greatest educational hits of US News. Last year I gave an analysis of the results:

"The First Annual BonzoSummary (BS08) of BigU's Progress Toward Greatness"

After further analysis BS09 will be available, complete with information about how we are progressing toward our goal ( maybe our goal, see above) of becoming one of the top three public research universities. That would be in the world.

Don't you love the smell of hubris, early in the morning?




No one is talking yet about how the "coordinate" campuses will be ranked if/when the Mothership Campus reaches #3 rank in the cosmos. Will Duluth, Morris, and Crookston be 3.X? or simply >3? Or will our rank go plummeting (3000?) due to losing resources needed for the relentless drive toward 3-ness? OTOH maybe it is just a PR slogan after all.

Thanks, Eve.

In the end it is a PR campaign. Unfortunately we are wasting a lot of time chasing our tails when we could be spending time trying to do something more realistic, like becoming one of the better schools in the BigTen.

Duluth, Morris and Crookston are all doing very well. How this top three business has to do with them, I have no idea.

Bob? Tom?

And so it goes.

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