LAWRENCE – In the midst of efforts to ensure more students succeed and graduate, the University of Kansas moved up in U.S. News and World Report rankings released today.
In the “Best Colleges 2014” rankings, KU is tied for 47th among public universities, up from a tie for 51st last year. It remains the top-ranked university in Kansas and features more ranked graduate programs than all other public universities in the state combined.
The university is completing the second year of the implementation of Bold Aspirations, its strategic plan. Central to that effort are initiatives to increase the number of students who succeed in their studies and graduate on time.
“Our first mission is to educate leaders, and fulfilling our mission starts with robust first-year experiences to help students transition to college and continues with an innovative, challenging curriculum to prepare them to lead. Success in this area will result in higher rankings, but what’s more important is our ability to ensure students graduate from KU ready to contribute to our state and world,” said Jeffrey Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor.
This fall the university launched the KU Core Curriculum, which incorporates classes and experiences into new university-wide general education requirements. The KU Core is based on specific learning outcomes designed to prepare students for successful lives and careers.
The new curriculum and new first-year experiences are part of Bold Aspirations and tie into goals such as raising the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate to 90 percent and the six-year graduation rate to 70 percent. KU currently has the highest graduation rate of all public universities in Kansas.
Graduate program rankings are released each spring. In the most recent rankings, issued in March 2013, KU’s graduate program in city management and urban policy ranked No. 1 overall, and its special education program was the top-ranked public program in the field. Overall, KU has 32 graduate programs ranked in the U.S. News top 40 among public universities.