For Immediate Release
September 28, 2010
Contacts: Lee Tune, 301 405 4679 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Maryland's Ph.D. Programs Achieve Strong Rankings In New National Academies' Study
By design, the National Research Council study provides only ranges of rankings and cannot be used to establish a definitive ranking for universities or their programs. However, among the many well-rated Maryland programs were a number that were very highly rated by almost any of the analytical measures. These programs include aerospace engineering, agricultural and resource economics, comparative literature, computer science, geography, linguistics, atmospheric and oceanic science, and public policy.
"It is gratifying that our ratings by the new NRC survey are strong," said Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School Charles Caramello. "These findings confirm many other recent objective indicators of the overall excellence of our graduate programs and of the particular excellence of Maryland programs in many areas critical to the prosperity and security of our nation and the world."
The National Research Council is the operating arm of the National Academies, and this is the Research Council's first review of graduate programs since 1995. The results of the current NRC analysis are based largely on data from 2005-2006. The study assessed overall quality for each Ph.D. program based on two different NRC methods, one that is survey based (S) and one regression based (R). S-rankings were determined by assessing each program based on characteristics that scholars in that field say are most important. R-rankings were derived by comparing the characteristics of individual programs in a field to ratings that faculty members in that field made of random samples of programs. The S and R rankings for each program were calculated 500 times. The 5th percentile and 95th percentile rankings were reported to provide a range for both S and R rankings.
In some cases the ranges can be quite different. For example, out of 160 ranked physics Ph.D.programs, the physics program at the University of Maryland achieved an R-ranking of 5-21, so we can say with 90 percent confidence that, based on the R method, the program ranked somewhere between 5th-best and 21st-best in the country. Its S-ranking, meanwhile, is 23-66, so we can say that, based on this method, it is 90 percent certain that the Maryland physics program is ranked between the 23nd-best and 66th-best in the country.
In addition to these two overall rankings, the NRC report separately rates each program on: (1) research activity, (2) student support and outcomes and (3) diversity. On these measures as many as 33 Maryland programs ranked in the top 25 programs in their field in research; as many as 28 programs ranked in the top 25 programs in their field in student support and outcomes; and as many as 40 ranked in the top 25 programs in their field in diversity. See below chart for range.
"The University of Maryland is on a steep upward trajectory toward becoming one of the world's very best universities and the complex and rich data in this study will provide important information that we can use to continue to strengthen our educational and research programs," Caramello said.
"Of course, we will review the study's analyses in the context of a host of important actions that the university has taken since 2005-2006 to strengthen both graduate and undergraduate education. These achievements include the implementation of a transformational new Strategic Plan, the creation of a School of Public Health and faculty enhancement that includes, most recently, 81 highly diverse and accomplished new faculty members appointed this year alone."
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