U.S. News and World Report Ranks Columbus State Among South's Top Universities

COLUMBUS, Ga. — “Best Colleges” rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report magazine put Columbus State University among the Top 100 “regional universities” in the South for the first time.

Among public regional universities in the South, CSU ranks No. 46.

CSU President Tim Mescon welcomed the news, indicating that he believes the university has the potential to climb in the rankings.

Dr. Hrepic and students“We have made some great progress in the U.S. News rankings and have work to do,” Mescon said. “We will continue this relentless pursuit for perfection in all we do.”

Columbus State is listed as No. 91 in the South in the “Best Regional Universities” section of the magazine’s Best Colleges 2013 guidebook that goes on sale Sept. 28. U.S. News defines a regional university as offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs. Regional university rankings are divided into four geographic regions: North, South, Midwest and South. Information from the guidebook, plus other rankings information, are also online now at http://www.usnews.com/colleges.

That CSU ranking measures Columbus State against private universities as well as public schools. When compared to regional public universities in the South, Columbus State ranks No. 46.

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.

Columbus State 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. To see data organized by Sri Sitharaman, director of institutional research, visit http://ColumbusState.edu/ir. Sitharaman has handled the job of responding to U.S. News & World Report’s request for extensive data in recent years.

Columbus State has paid particular attention to one significant area of data in a series of reports tracking the percentage of students who enroll as freshman versus those who continue on to graduation. These Retention, Progression and Graduation rates — RPG for short — are also a focal point of Columbus State as part of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Complete College Georgia plan that asks technical colleges and University System of Georgia schools such as CSU to produce 250,000 more graduates by 2020. CSU this month detailed how it would work to produce about 200 more graduates each year for the next seven years.

One part of a strategic plan adopted by Columbus State in 2009 mentioned the university’s need to “pursue recognition/ranking in national publications,” with U.S. News & World Report mentioned specifically. Earlier this year, Columbus State established a Strategic Planning Commission to produce a new plan.

In ranking No. 91 as a “first tier” school among regional universities in the South, Columbus State tied with three other schools: Charleston (S.C.) Southern University, University of Louisiana at Monroe and the University of West Georgia. In the ranking of public regional universities, CSU ties with ULM and West Georgia at No. 46.

Mescon, who became president Aug. 1, 2008, indicated that Columbus State would continue working to improve itself as an institution attractive to students interested in achieving academic excellence, echoing the university’s “First Choice” recruiting ads.

We want Columbus State University to be your first choice,” he said. “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.”

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Caption: Zdeslav Hrepic, left, associate professor in CSU's Department of Earth and Space Sciences, works with students Cameron McCarty and Marie Harber in a physics lab focusing on magnetic properties. (Photo by Roger Hart)

Media: High-resolution original version of photo