Hopkins, Maryland, UMBC ranked among top colleges by U.S. News and World Report

and Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park were ranked among the top tier in the U.S. News and World Report annual rankings of colleges and universities released Tuesday.

Johns Hopkins was ranked 11th and College Park was ranked 61 in the category of Best National Universities. University of Maryland Baltimore County was ranked 159.

U.S. News and World Report released the rankings, which factor in everything from the SAT scores of entering freshman, to graduation and acceptance rates, to the quality of college presidents and administrators.

U.S. News also asked college presidents and administrators which schools are making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, campus life, faculty and technology. UMBC was ranked seventh and College Park was ranked 15th.

“These rankings reflect the respect thought leaders across the country have for our university, and they speak to our strength as an institution focused on both research and the undergraduate educational experience,” UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski said in a statement. “We are proud to be included on both lists.”

UMBC was also rated as the seventh most innovative university in the country and the 13th top national university for strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.

Katie Lawson, a spokeswoman for University of Maryland, College Park, said in an email that “UMD is especially proud to be named the 15th most innovative school in the country in recognition of our entrepreneurial programs and pioneering research. In fact, we are the nation's first Do Good campus, dedicated to inspiring a culture of philanthropy and social innovation where entrepreneurial thinking drives positive social change.”

Johns Hopkins University officials said in a statement that the rankings showed it “continues to be one of the nation’s best colleges and universities.”

Two Maryland schools ranked in the top 30 of public universities. The Naval Academy was second and St. Mary’s College of Maryland was fifth.

The Naval Academy was ranked 21st among liberal arts colleges, a fall from the 12th spot the year before. Meanwhile, St. Johns College in Annapolis was ranked 53rd, Goucher College was ranked 112th and McDaniel College was ranked 134th. St. Mary’s College and Washington College were tied for 96th in that category. Towson University, Goucher and McDaniel colleges were also listed as “A+ schools for B students.”

Of the historically black colleges and universities in the country, Morgan State University was ranked 16th, University of Maryland Eastern Shore was ranked 20th and Bowie State University was ranked 22nd.

Towson was also ranked 10th among top public regional universities, and 41st among private and public regional universities, in the northern United States.

The U.S. News rankings have come under criticism for years by some universities and college admissions counselors.

David Hawkins, the executive director for educational content and policy at the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, said his members have suggested that U.S. News include students’ opinions of their colleges.

“The rankings adhere to a set formula that rewards colleges for certain behaviors,” he said, adding that they rise when they are more selective and accept students with high test scores.

Morgan State University President David Wilson is gratified his institution is ranked higher than it was last year. However, he said, “I think institutions try so hard to move up into the rankings that some of them can lose site of what their goals are.”

The rankings, Wilson said, do not reward colleges that accept students who may be farther behind academically and work hard to help those students graduate.

“The rankings do not represent the great majority of American universities that are doing the heavy lifting in educating the great majority,” he said.

liz.bowie@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lizbowie

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