President Bloom and Colleagues' Statement about College Rankings

Nancy Nicely

President Bloom and Colleagues'
Statement about College Rankings

09/06/2007

I, and the other undersigned presidents, agree that prospective students benefit from having as complete information as possible in making their college choices.

At the same time, we are concerned about the inevitable biases in any single ranking formula, about the admissions frenzy, and the way in which rankings can contribute to that frenzy and to a false sense that educational success or fit can be ranked in a single numerical list.

Since college and ranking agencies should maintain a degree of distance to ensure objectivity, from now on data we make available to college guides will be made public via our Web sites rather than be distributed exclusively to a single entity. Doing so is true to our educational mission and will allow interested parties to use this information for their own benefit. If, for example, class size is their focus, they will have that information. If it is the graduation rate, that will be easy to find. We welcome suggestions for other information we might also provide publicly.

We commit not to mention U.S. News or similar rankings in any of our new publications, since such lists mislead the public into thinking that the complexities of American higher education can be reduced to one number.

Finally, we encourage all colleges and universities to participate in an effort to determine how information about our schools might be improved. As for rankings, we recognize that no degree of protest may make them soon disappear, and hope, therefore, that further discussion will help shape them in ways that will press us to move in ever more socially and educationally useful directions.

Alfred H. Bloom, President

Anthony Marx, Amherst Stephen Emerson, Haverford
Elaine Hansen, Bates Ronald Liebowitz, Middlebury
Barry Mills, Bowdoin David Oxtoby, Pomona
Nancy Vickers, Bryn Mawr James Jones, Trinity
Robert Oden, Carleton Catharine Hill, Vassar
William D. Adams, Colby Kenneth Ruscio, Washington and Lee
Rebecca Chopp, Colgate Kim Bottomly, Wellesley
Thomas W. Ross, Davidson Michael S. Roth, Wesleyan
Russell Osgood, Grinnell Morton Schapiro, Williams
Joan Hinde Stewart, Hamilton