Creme of the crop or tip of the top, any name to represent one of the best of the West region that is.
UMHB recently earned the number 30 spot in its category of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.
In 2005, the university placed in the top-tier rankings for the first time. Since 2008, it has continued to remain in the top 50. But what exactly does this mean, and how are universities chosen to hold such titles?
First-year experiences, peer assessments, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving all assist in measuring what’s important to the U.S. News.
Each of these categories represents a percentage that totals a university’s overall score. In last year’s U.S. News & World Report, 572 universities were listed under the Best Universities — master’s list.
The institutions meet certain criteria; they provide many undergraduate and master’s programs, and only some of those universities offer doctoral programs.
Four different regions divide the country: North, South, Midwest and West. Fifty-eight universities including UMHB are listed in the top tier of the West region.
Vice President of Student Life Dr. Byron Weathersbee knows what it takes for a university to be deemed as successful and believes these rankings are a way for the university to “see if we’re doing what we say we’re going to do.
“Benchmarks allow you to play the game,” he said. “In football you don’t just go out there and practice and say ‘we’re pretty good’ because it’s the head-to-head competition that determines whether you’re the conference or national champions.”
Weathersbee said the ranking will broaden the scope for the university, which has the highest enrollment in its history — 2,956.
“I think UMHB has a great story to tell, and anytime some organization recognizes there are great things going on at this campus, and this is a great university that is doing some incredible things. It’s always our story have a great respect for UMHB and our graduates.”
Freshman psychology/journalism major Brooke Cox discovered on the university’s website that UMHB master’s programs are some of the best in the country.
“It let me know that this school was capable of having a really advanced program,” she said.
When certain criteria are met, the overall percentage rises.
“The higher ranking, the better job you’re doing… the better job we’re doing, the more respect this institution has,” Weathersbee said.
Recruiter and alumna Katy Bumpus believes this title will allow prospective students to see UMHB is a top university.
“We will be able to use this (top ranking) as a recruiting tool,” she said, “because it will show students facts that are more well-known, rather than having us as say we are the best.”
Bumpus says this recognition shows the university’s mission statement fulfills its’ promise to prepare “students for leadership, service, faith-informed discernment, and obtain academic excellence and personal attention.”
In order to achieve this acknowledgment, standards must be met.
“I’ve come to realize that numbers represent faces,” Weathersbee said, “and I want our university to offer the absolute best thing that we can offer for the students so they are getting a good, holistic education.”