Another National Ranking Touts New Mexico Tech

SOCORRO, N.M. October 28, 2010 – New Mexico Tech has landed in another national ranking of universities. Washington Monthly magazine released its in augural rankings of U.S. institutions of higher education in the September/October issue.

New Mexico Tech ranks 25th on the list of Top 50 Master’s Universities in the nation, which gauges more than 500 “master’s universities.” The official list of the Top 50 is accompanied by an article that touts "master's universities" for the quality of education. Tech ranks fairly low in terms of graduation rate and public service metrics, but leads the nation in research funding and is second in bachelor’s-to-Ph.D statistics.

New Mexico Tech President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez said the most recent ranking reiterates that the Socorro university is competitive with any school in the nation.

“By any methodology, New Mexico Tech always ranks well because of our exceptional faculty and the rigorous curriculum prepares students for careers and leadership,” Lopez said. “I am pleased once again that another ranking system has put us in the upper echelon of universities across the nation.”

The top three master’s universities are St. Mary’s University (Texas), Creighton University (Nebraska) and Trinity University (Texas). The only peer institution ranked in the top 50 is Rochester Institute of Technology, which is 27th, two spots behind Tech.

With more than $83 million in annual expenditures on research, Tech is by far the leader within the master’s university category. The graduation rate drags Tech down the list. Washington Monthly gauges graduation rate as the difference between the predicted rate and the actual rate. Based on PELL Grants given and average SAT scores, the magazine predicts Tech should have a graduation rate of 66 percent, but the actual graduation rate is 48 percent. The difference between the two percentages (18 percentage points) ranks Tech 512th in the nation, near the bottom of the list.

“We have consistently tried to improve our graduation rate, as well as just keeping students in school,” Lopez said. “This is area we will continue to work on and continue to improve – not to improve our national ranking, but to better serve our students.”

Tech also compares poorly in service areas. Washington Monthly bases its service ranking on five metrics: Peace Corps (Tech ranks 73rd), ROTC (403rd), percentage of work-study funds spent on service (268th), community service participation (233rd) and staffing in areas of service (219th).

“Master’s universities” is a classification defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as schools that offer a range of undergraduate and some master’s level programs, but few doctoral degrees. Washington Monthly writer Erin Dillon wrote that “master’s universities” compare well to “national universities” in an informal comparison. She wrote that “top-ranked master’s and baccalaureate institutions don’t spend a lot of time and money chasing after fame and glory. They’re too busy serving their students and communities well. In doing so, they have a lot to teach academia about giving back to the country.”

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By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech