Millersville University has dropped from 45th to 58th in the U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of universities in the north that offer a variety of undergraduate and master degree programs.

U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking looks at universities and colleges in different regions and compares both public and private institutions.

The results were available online the week of August 22 and will be published in the September 1 issue.

According to Dr. Vilas Prabhu, Millersville’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, the rankings simply mean that other universities are improving on areas that MU is already doing well in.
“I believe the rankings are significant,” Prabhu said. “While the ranking itself does not drive us, it does keep the quality of academics up.”

In many areas MU has remained consistent, such as student to faculty ratio and in their acceptance rate. Last year the student-faculty ratio was one to 18 and is currently one to 19, while the acceptance rate for 2007 was 56 percent and stands at 58 percent for 2008.

Junior Katherine Cruz believes that MU offers such a range of options for students, that it is impossible to get one view from one source.

“I think they should look at the entire entity of Millersville,” Cruz said. “We are more than those things.”

Prabhu pushes the fact that student programs make up a large part of what makes MU a good institution, rather than the basic facts and statistics.

Although he believes the rankings are a good comparison for each school, the consistency from year to year shows how other universities are stepping up to the plate.

“Millersville is a diverse campus,” Senior Angela Torres said. “You can’t really grasp all it has to offer from one review.”

Prabhu believes that the real quality of MU is found in its diverse programs.

“Millersville has always exceeded on a national level in internships and co-ops, leadership workshops, and class diversity,
Prabhu said. “That’s something these rankings don’t look at it.”

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the U.S. News rankings, with 25 percent based on peer assessments, where individuals from other universities rate one another.

“I am a peer evaluator and although I may know a lot about Shippensburg University I know very little about Villanova University, yet I must rate them as if I know them equally,” Prabhu said. “It’s more or less a popularity contest.”

Prabhu is confident that while the rankings are a decent comparison of their work from year to year, MU will not abandon additional academic programs.

“We are a public university and have a certain public responsibility to be accessible to most students,” Prabhu said. “This is only one perspective of Millersville.”