For the first time, Columbus State University has been ranked as one of the top 100 regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report magazine.
Columbus State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tom Hackett called the news "absolutely huge" that CSU ranks No. 91 in the South among all schools and No. 46 among public schools in the report released Wednesday.
Hackett, an alumnus of the university, said CSU has a high-quality faculty, and it is "gratifying" to have the hard work of school employees validated.
"Parents are very discerning these days about where their children are educated," he said, "and this ranking puts us squarely among the best in the South."
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Charleston Southern University, the University of Louisiana-Monroe and the University of West Georgia tied with CSU at its position on the regional universities list. The top five schools in CSU's category are Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.; Elon University in Elon, S.C.; Stetson University in DeLand, Fla.; Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.; and The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Harvard and Princeton tied for No. 1 among national universities. Georgia Tech ranks No. 36, the University of Georgia No. 63, the University of Alabama No. 77 and Auburn University No. 89. CSU President Tim Mescon believes the university has the potential to climb in the rankings. "We have made some great progress in the U.S. News rankings and have work to do," Mescon said in a news release. "We will continue this relentless pursuit for perfection in all we do."
According to the university, one part of a strategic plan adopted by CSU in 2009 mentioned the university's need to "pursue recognition/ranking in national publications," with U.S. News & World Report mentioned specifically. Mescon said in the release that he wanted CSU to be the "first choice" for prospective students. "Our commitment is to continue on this most important march to excellence and continue to benchmark with other universities in the region and across the U.S," Mescon said.
U.S. News & World Report offered its first "America's Best Colleges" report in 1983. Among the data examined this year as part of the rankings process are assessments by top officials at peer institutions, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. Officials say the school has taken a more methodical approach in recent years examining its progress in those areas and many others through its Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, which is a sub-unit of CSU's Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Hackett said the school had done a better job recently of reporting information about the school