(Source: Kenyon College)
The anti-rankings crusade continues. This time it's a group of liberal arts college presidents banding together to stop the madness.
Here's a bit from the New York Times:
The presidents of dozens of liberal arts colleges have decided to stop participating in the annual college rankings by U.S. News and World Report.
The decision was announced Tuesday at the end of an annual meeting of the Annapolis Group, a loose association of liberal arts colleges. After two days of private meetings here, the organization released a statement that said a majority of the 80 presidents attending had "expressed their intent not to participate in the annual U.S. News survey."
The commitment, which some college presidents said was made by a large majority of participants, represents the most significant challenge yet to the rankings, adding colleges like Barnard, Sarah Lawrence and Kenyon to a growing rebellion against the magazine, participants said.
U.S. News says it provides a valuable service to parents and students in its yearly evaluations, which are based on factors that include graduation and retention rates, assessments by competitors, selectivity and faculty resources. Critics say the ranking system lacks rigor and has had a harmful effect on educational priorities, encouraging colleges to do things like soliciting more applicants and then rejecting them, to move up the list.
"We really want to reclaim the high ground on this discussion," said Katherine Will, the president of Gettysburg College and the incoming president of the Annapolis Group. "We should be defining the conversation, not a magazine that uses us for its business plan."
The association did not take a formal vote and each college will make its own decision, Dr. Will said.
The members of the Annapolis Group also decided to develop their own system of comparing institutions. The group intends to work with other higher education organizations to come up with a common format with comparable data.
"They will do what they will do," Michele Tolela Myers, president of Sarah Lawrence College, said of U.S. News and World Report. "We will do what we will do. And we want to do it in a principled way."
Brian Kelly, the editor of U.S. News, said the magazine applauded any effort to come up with new data. "If they come up with some new data, fine," Mr. Kelly said. He was also conciliatory toward the presidents who said they would no longer cooperate with the magazine. "If a few presidents don't want to participate, we understand," he said.
Read the rest here. And as always, stay tuned.