In three separate national ratings — faculty scholarly productivity, black student college graduation rates and the number of National Merit Scholars in the freshman class — Washington University ranks in the top 10.
WUSTL ranks as the seventh most productive large research university as measured by the faculty's scholarly productivity, as well as ranking in the top 10 in five broad areas and 19 specific disciplines, according to Academic Analytics' Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index (FSP Index), a new quantitative method for ranking doctoral programs at research universities.
In Academic Analytics "broad field rankings," WUSTL is ranked in the top 10 in five out of 11 broad field categories. The University programs in social and behavioral sciences rank third; in biological and biomedical sciences, fourth; in public administration and social services professions, tied for fifth; in humanities, sixth; and in business, tied for seventh.
"It's great to see Washington U.'s strengths being recognized accurately, although our high ratings should come as no surprise," said Robert E. Thach, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. "We have always stacked up exceedingly well in performance measures such as the number of papers and books published by our faculty, the numbers of citations of these works by other scholars, and so forth.
"What makes this new study so unusual is that it relies entirely on objective data available in the public domain," Thach continued.
"Reputations, which are commonly distorted by a variety of biases and which take decades to build, are not considered. This enables recent improvements in unfamiliar institutions to be fully appreciated," Thach added.
In "individual discipline rankings" — within the broad field categories — WUSTL ranks in the top 10 in 19 disciplines. In two of these disciplines, WUSTL ranks No. 1. They are ecology and evolutionary biology and political science.
WUSTL top-10 rankings for all 19 disciplines
• Anthropology: 2
• Biochemistry: 8
• Bioinformatics: 7
• Botany and plant biology: 3
• Business administration: 3
• Cell biology: 6
• Communication sciences and disorders: 6
• Developmental biology: 9
• East Asian languages and cultures: 10
• Ecology and evolutionary biology: 1
• English: 4
• Genetics: 10
• Immunology: 6
• Kinesiology and exercise science: 2
• Microbiology: 4
• Molecular biology: 4
• Pathology: 4
• Political science: 1
• Social work: 3
Psychology, social sciences No. 4
The Chronicle of Higher Education, in its Jan. 12 cover story on Academic Analytics' annual index, provides a list of top-10 institutions in six aggregated fields. In those rankings, WUSTL is ranked fourth in two fields: psychology and social sciences. The University's political science department's No. 1 ranking was prominently displayed on the cover.
Academic Analytics' FSP Index is based on a set of statistical algorithms developed by Lawrence Martin, Ph.D., chief scientific consultant to Academic Analytics — a collaboration between faculty and researchers at the Stony Brook University and Educational Directories Unlimited. Martin is dean of the graduate school, associate provost for analysis and planning and professor of anthropology at Stony Brook.
The index measures the scholarly productivity of faculty based on their publications, citations and financial and honorary awards. These numbers are aggregated to evaluate programs, and program scores are aggregated to produce rankings of whole universities.
In its second year of analysis, Academic Analytics' data-gathering program included information from nearly 200,000 faculty members based at 354 institutions and representing 118 academic disciplines in nearly 7,300 Ph.D. programs nationwide.
Other rankings of merit
In other recent rankings, WUSTL fared equally as well. According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, the University ranks eighth in the nation in its black student graduation rate, with 91 percent of black students graduating. This is far better than the national average of 43 percent. The university has a 91 percent graduation rate for both blacks and whites.
The journal reports that Harvard University has a black student graduation rate of 95 percent, the highest among U.S. colleges and universities, followed by Amherst College, Princeton University, Wellesley College and Williams College, all with a 94 percent graduation rate; Brown University and Yale University at 92 percent; WUSTL at 91; Stanford University at 90; and Northwestern University at 89 percent.
The University ranked fourth in the nation in the number of National Merit Scholars in this academic year's freshman class, according to the National Merit Scholar Corp.'s annual report. Nearly 390 public and private institutions enrolled 8,319 scholars in 2006; of that number, WUSTL enrolled 241.
Ahead of WUSTL in the number of National Merit Scholars in the freshman class are Harvard, with 294; University of Florida, 257; and the University of Texas, 250. Rounding out the top 10 are the University of Southern California, with 206; Northwestern, 198; University of Chicago, 196; Arizona State University, 188; Yale, 186; and Princeton and Stanford, 153.
The total number of WUSTL undergraduates with National Merit Scholarships is 736.
The University also has been ranked 23rd for medium-sized schools in the number of alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps. There are 23 WUSTL alumni in the Peace Corps today. Since the Peace Corps' inception in 1961, 475 university alumni have joined, ranking WUSTL 83rd in the number of volunteers produced over time.