LAWRENCE — Leaders at the University of Kansas will continue their focus on improving student success, even as the university experienced a slight drop in rankings released today.
In the 2016 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges,” KU dropped to a tie for 55th among public universities, down from a tie for 50th last year.
“Parents and students often look to university rankings to see where we stand. These rankings are important, and we’d obviously prefer to go up,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “Still, we remain focused on our own metrics, including increasing student retention and graduation rates as we educate the leaders of tomorrow.”
The university’s strategic plan, Bold Aspirations, includes several new efforts to better prepare students for the workforce and to encourage students to stay enrolled and graduate.
“It can take time for our success to be reflected in rankings,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “KU has initiated several student-focused programs through Bold Aspirations that target retention and keep students focused on graduating.”
KU will admit its first students in fall 2016 under a new set of admission procedures that are designed to encourage student achievement and increase the number of students who graduate from the university. Other programs are just beginning to be implemented.
The first set of freshmen who entered under the new KU Core curriculum will not graduate until 2017. That curriculum is based on specific learning outcomes and includes classes and experiences to prepare students for successful lives and careers.
“KU is the only school among the top 145 universities with a freshman acceptance rate over 90 percent,” Vitter said. “New admissions procedures and other efforts will assure even more of our students succeed, and we anticipate improvements in rankings will follow.”
The School of Engineering increased its ranking on the U.S. News list, moving to a tie for 40th among public schools, up from a tie for 41st last year. The School of Business dropped in the rankings, moving into a tie for 39th among public schools, down from a tie for 31st last year.
U.S. News & World Report releases its graduate school rankings in the spring. KU had 44 graduate school programs ranked this year, including 10 programs in the top 10 public schools nationally.