The University of Oregon has moved up a few spots in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges list. Boosted by an increase in average freshman retention from 85 percent to 86 percent among other criteria, the UO is ranked No. 50 among public national universities in a tie with five other institutions.
Related: UO Rankings
The UO continues to be the highest ranked public or private research institution in Oregon and is in the top eight percent of all ranked institutions.
“I want all students to return from the freshman to the sophomore year because it is the most important step toward earning a degree and changing one’s life,” said Roger Thompson, vice president for enrollment management. “The increased retention is great news for our students and their families and puts the UO alongside some of the best institutions across the country.”
The UO is No. 106 overall, which is a slight improvement from No. 109 last year. The UO is also included for the fifth straight year in two other lists – Best in Undergraduate Business and A-Plus Schools for B Students.
“While the category name is unfortunate, the UO is being recognized for its strong academic programs and accessibility for students, which is something we’re proud to share with AAU peers,” said Thompson. Nine Association of American Universities public institutions are included on the same list including Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan State, Rutgers, SUNY-Buffalo, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
Criteria that UO leaders are looking forward to seeing improvements in for future editions will be in the percentages of classes under 20 and more than 50 students. The UO’s efforts to expand classroom space and hire new faculty are expected to move the needle in regards to input measures.
“The Straub and Earl Hall renovation project is a great example of how 750 new classroom seats that will be used for 10 hours per day can provide greater flexibility in course size, which is first and foremost, a benefit to students,” said Thompson. “As a bonus, it should be reflected in future ranking results.”
According to Thompson, several renovation and construction projects opened in the past 18 months contribute positively to student experience and can impact rankings.
“When I look at the expanded Allen Hall, the opening of the Lewis Integrative Science Building, and the current projects at the Student Recreation Center and the EMU, they each contribute to retaining students and helping them be successful,” he said.
The information used for the 2015 rankings is calculated from fall 2013 data. The complete data can be found here.
—By Julie Brown, Public Affairs Communications