Graduate schools in Md. score high

Annual report places Hopkins, UMCP at top of achievement lists

March 31, 2000|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

The annual U.S. News and World Report rankings of the country's graduate schools, released today, contains little that is new for Maryland's schools and that is good news to William Destler of the University of Maryland, College Park.

"It's no longer a surprise when we show up in these lists," said Destler, the school's dean of research and graduate programs. "I take that as a sign of progress."

Though the highest rankings among local schools are recorded by the Johns Hopkins University -- its medical school takes its annual No. 2 spot behind Harvard University and its school of public health remains No. 1 -- UMCP continues to appear amid the top schools in engineering, education and business.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions of The Sun on annual rankings of graduate schools omitted the environmental law program at the University of Maryland School of Law, which moved up in the rankings from the No. 9 spot to No. 4.
The Sun regrets the error.

"It's wonderful to get this kind of validation," said Edna Szymanski, dean of UMCP's College of Education that maintains its top 25 ranking overall while its counseling and personnel service department is ranked tops in the country and its special education department makes the Top 10.

"We've got six departments and two of them are in the top 10 of the country, one is No. 1," she said. "That's pretty darned good."

UMCP's engineering school remains at No. 17 -- Hopkins is 24th -- but Destler, longtime dean of engineering at UMCP, said he was pleased with that.

"Our long term goal was to be among the top 10 publicly funded engineering schools in the country," he said. UMCP is 10th among public schools. "Now we're up there competing with the [University of] Michigans. It's hard to move up in that world."

UMCP's business school dropped from 26th to 34th, but the school's dean, Howard Frank, said that should change in a few years. He explained that the school has begun accepting older students with more work experience who have lower entrance exam scores (one of U.S. News' categories) but, when they finish in two years, should have higher starting salaries (another category).

Frank was most pleased that his school ranked ninth in management of information systems, as he emphasizes new technologies at the school.

"That's the first time we've been in the top 10. That makes four in a row for us," he said, referring to similar high rankings by Business Week, Computer World and the Financial Times.

Officials at Hopkins were happy that their nursing program made the top five. "We are a very young program compared to the other schools in the top 10 or even the top 20," said Sue K. Donaldson, dean of Hopkins' nursing school which admitted its first students in 1984.

"You always hold your breath when the rankings come out, but we feel like we've worked hard for this and we're very pleased with it," she said.

Baltimore has two schools in nursing's top 10 as The University of Maryland, Baltimore's school ranks 10th. UMB's school of social work is 25th and its medical school is 44th. Hopkins maintained its top ranking among schools of public health, while its medical school, in addition to keeping its No. 2 spot overall, moves up five spots to No. 9 for primary care training, a category added last year. UMB made the primary care list for the first time at 37th.

UMB's law school remains in the second tier, in which schools ranked from 51 to 97 are listed in alphabetical order, but two of its programs -- clinical training and health law -- show up on the top 10 lists. The University of Baltimore's law school is in the fourth tier of schools, ranked below 139th.

U.S. News conducted no new surveys of academics to rank departments in the sciences, social sciences and humanities or programs in music, creative writing and arts. Hopkins and UMCP appear on those lists along with the Maryland Institute, College of Art.

Destler said that rankings like these are more important to a school like UMCP that is attempting to establish its reputation than to one like Hopkins which has already made its name.

"I think they are to some extent most useful to institutions like the University of Maryland that is trying to build programs of a national stature," he said. "It allows us to measure ourselves, at least in terms of reputation, against the best schools in the country.

"When these rankings started in 1990, we had no programs in the top 25," he said. "We've come a long way from there."

Ranking of Maryland programs

Medicine The Johns Hopkins University 2

University of Maryland, Baltimore 44

Business University of Maryland, College Park 34

Education University of Maryland, College Park 23

Engineering University of Maryland, College Park 17

The Johns Hopkins University 24

Law University of Maryland, Baltimore Second Tier

University of Baltimore Fourth Tier

Nursing Johns Hopkins University 5

University of Maryland, Baltimore 10

Public Health The Johns Hopkins University 1

Social Work University of Maryland, Baltimore 25

SOURCE: U.S. News and World Report

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