Geneseo was ranked first in the “U.S. News & World Report” Best Undergraduate Teaching among regional universities in the north for the sixth time in the yearly guide “Best Colleges.” The title is given to colleges that focus on faculty and student learning and contributions. Alongside the specific ranking, Geneseo also won second in the “Top Public Schools” and 14th in the regional north’s general rankings, which includes both private and public institutions.
The rankings are determined based on a number of factors, including “small class size, the percentage of full time faculty and the percentage of students who graduate and then give back,” Vice President for Enrollment Management Meaghan L. Arena said in a phone interview.
The rankings are calculated based on these categories, which determine the level of commitment a school devotes to higher education and the success of their students. Students do not have an impact on these rankings, according to Arena.
“It’s weird because I don’t think they survey students, but taking advantage of the things that go into the rankings is really important,” Arena said.
Geneseo’s goals as a higher education institution are not reflected in the rankings, according to Arena.
“They are national rankings, so they don’t totally encapsulate what the school embodies,” Arena said.
The focus areas Geneseo has been improving upon are outlined in the recently published strategic plan, Arena said. The plan and its initiatives revolve around pursuing curricular innovation and improving access and success. The focus areas target improving the quality of education and increasing the amount of qualified applicants that represent diverse populations.
“We’ve got a new strategic plan for the college and we’re now refining our value statement and identifying our thematic areas and our overall goals,” President Denise Battles said.
Battles said the college could achieve higher rankings if there were more resources available.
“There are always ways of enhancing whatever you’re involved with, and usually the challenge is not one of enthusiasm or talent, it’s one of resources and being able to do more with what is often not as much money as you’ve enjoyed in the past,” Battles said.
The take-away lies in what the college is being recognized for achieving, according to Battles.
“The story overall is one of recognition of what we as an institution hold most dear, which is giving an outstanding educational experience to every student who comes to Geneseo,” she said.
Arena added to the testament of the work that Geneseo does for each of its students.
“The rankings can be viewed as a byproduct of our success,” Arena said. “We provide a high caliber education with great faculty at a state school price.”
The rankings serve as a tool for prospective applicants and their families, which Arena said is why she encouraged paying particular attention to the information gathered by U.S. News.
“Rankings are only one aspect and we shouldn’t get too caught up on them, but it is something that people look at and we should have our eye on them,” Arena said.
These rankings show Geneseo’s commitment to higher education, according to Battles.
“I think my takeaway is the fact that we are so well placed consistently,” Battles said. “[It] speaks to the priority we place on quality of the academic and co-curricular experience here at Geneseo.”