The U.S. News and World Report recently released ratings of top graduate programs, which showed that Stanford’s graduate schools of business, education, engineering, law and medicine are all ranked among the top three in the nation.
The Daily reached out to several Stanford deans as well as Robert Morse, Chief Data Strategist at the U.S. News & World Report, in order to explore what the rankings say about the schools that earned them.
Morse explained that the rankings of different types of graduate schools are calculated using slightly different methodologies. All ratings, however, take into account both the school’s reputation according to academics and the school’s reputation according to those who work in related fields.
“They all have a reputational component that’s conducted among academics, and then they all have a separate component… of surveying recruiters or practitioners in the field from areas who typically hire recent graduates or new graduates from that particular program,” Morse said.
Deborah Stipek, Dean of the Graduate School of Education, said that she values the individual ratings from colleagues and school superintendents as being more important than the overall ranking.
According to Stipek, Stanford’s School of Education usually ranks number one in both of these categories.
“What I think makes us really unusual is that we are quite consistently rated number one by both the people who are focusing on our prestige as an academic institution or our research in scholarship and by people who are rating us on the relevance of our work to the real world of education,” Stipek said.
Stipek is very satisfied with the state of the school but feels it must keep up with the times. Stipek cited the importance of equitable and effective use of technology in learning as one example.
Persis Drell, Dean of the Stanford School of Engineering, declined to directly comment on the rankings. While she was extremely proud of the school’s excellence, she believes there are many elements of graduate schools that cannot be reduced to a single ranking.
“It’s a very complex decision when you’re weighing graduate programs, and so rankings of this sort, reducing it to a single number, I don’t think are that helpful personally,” Drell said.
Drell said that she is very excited by the collaboration between exceptional professors and students, which takes place at the school of engineering and can be observed through programs like the Stanford Solar Car Project. In addition, both students and faculty are currently working together on a strategic planning effort called SOE-Future to create a plan for the future of the School of Engineering. The results of this collaboration will be announced in May.
The Dean of the Graduate School of Business, Garth Saloner, said that he is happy with the U.S. News and World Report rankings but agrees that it is hard to capture all aspects of an education in a single rating.
“You really can’t reduce the breadth of any university experience to a single number,” Saloner said.
“That said, the newly-released U.S. News & World Report ranking affirms that our program attracts the highest-quality students who emerge from the dynamic educational experience here to become change agents, poised to change lives, change organizations and change the world,” he added.
Contact Skylar Cohen at skylark ‘at’ stanford.edu.