For the 15th consecutive year, Oklahoma Baptist University has been listed as Oklahoma's highest-rated baccalaureate college in U.S.News & World Report's annual ranking of "America's Best Colleges." In the 2009 ratings, released Aug. 22, OBU is ranked second in the West.
In addition to the ranking for overall academic quality, OBU ranked sixth in the magazine's "Great Schools, Great Prices" category for the western region.
OBU has made the news magazine's "top 10" in its category for 17 consecutive years. In the latest rankings, the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo., is first in the 15-state region. OBU tied for second with The Master's College and Seminary in Santa Clarita, Calif.
"National acknowledgment of the hard work of our faculty, students and staff is always appreciated," said John Parrish, OBU's interim president. "The consistent recognition in the U.S. News rankings is an endorsement of OBU's quality programs and people."
Highlights of the college rankings will be published in the Sept. 1 issue of U.S.News & World Report, available for newsstand purchase Monday, Aug. 25. The "2009 America's Best Colleges" guidebook will be available as of Tuesday, Aug. 26.
Other Oklahoma institutions listed in the Baccalaureate Colleges category Top 15 included Oklahoma Wesleyan University, ranked 11th, and the University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma, ranked 15th. For the rankings, U.S. News describes baccalaureate colleges are institutions which "focus on undergraduate education and offer a range of degree programs - in the liberal arts, which account for fewer than half of their bachelor's degrees, and in professional fields such as business, nursing and education." A total of 319 colleges are included in the baccalaureate category for four regions: North, South, Midwest and West.
According to information provided by U.S. News, the rankings system rests on two pillars. It relies on quantitative measures which education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality, and on the magazine's nonpartisan view of "what matters in education." First, schools are categorized by mission. Next, U.S. News gathers data from each college for up to 15 indicators of academic excellence. Each factor is assigned a weight that reflects the magazine's judgment about how much a measure matters. Finally, the colleges in each category are ranked against their peers, based on their composite weighted score. (A more detailed explanation is available on the U.S. News Web site, usnews.com.)
The U.S. News rankings for baccalaureate colleges are based on seven categories: peer assessment (25 percent), graduation and retention rates (20 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (15 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent). Among the top 10 schools in the region, OBU ranked third in average graduation rate.
The "Great Schools, Great Prices" listing is derived from a formula which "relates a school's academic quality, as indicated by its U.S. News ranking, to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid."