By Charles Wilhelm
Stony Brook University received its highest ever ratings in the 2014 US News and World Report. The university ranked 82nd in the annual “Best National Universities in America” report and 34th in the category “Top Public National Universities.”
In a statement released on Sept. 10, President Stanley stated, “For the second year, Stony Brook’s ranking jumped ten spots or greater among National Universities in the US News ranking report.”
Stony Brook University is the only academic institution on Long Island to be ranked among the top 100 “Best National Universities in America.”
The university has grown tremendously both in numbers and offerings since its inaugural class. Established in 1957, the university began with 148 students in Oyster Bay, N.Y., as a preparatory school for aspiring math and science teachers.
Stony Brook now offers 200 undergraduate programs, 100 masters programs and 40 doctorate programs to an approximate student body of 24,100.
In recent years, Stony Brook has expanded many of its programs with generous gifts from various benefactors, most notably a $150 million gift from Jim and Marilyn Simons and the Simons Foundation.
Stony Brook officials and administration haven’t been the only ones involved with the improvement process. State University of New York Chancellor, Nancy L. Zimpher, along New York State legislators and Governor Cuomo have increasingly prioritized public education in New York and have instituted many programs to advance the status, appeal and affordability of SUNY schools across the state.
“Project 50 Forward,” a program unveiled in 2010 on the 50th anniversary of SBU’s founding, is an effort to transform Stony Brook into an academic power-player. The program focuses on improving all aspects of the university by superimposing three critical missions on the current state of the institution: operational excellence, academic greatness and building for the future.
The program seeks ways to further the educational and research goals of the university, enacts a significant review of academic structure to identify areas of weakness and plans to fortify those deficiencies, and provides a genesis for the inception and execution of a comprehensive plan to improve existing facilities and construct competitive and cutting edge infrastructure for the future.
While the results of the U.S. News and World Report are favorable for Stony Brook, it is important to understand how the rankings are calculated.
Beginning with a somewhat qualified warning as to the “host of intangibles” that cannot “be measured by a series of data points,” the U.S. News and World Report website explains the methodology with which they assign rankings:
“The rankings system rests on two pillars. The formula uses quantitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality, and it’s based on our [U.S. News and World Report] researched view of what matters in education.”
Statistics like high school class standings, retention and graduation rates, student selectivity, SAT and ACT scores, financial resources, class size, faculty salaries and student to faculty ratios comprise the majority of the rankings. The rest of the list is accessible through the U.S. News and World Report.
President Stanley will be giving the annual “State of the University” address on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 1:00 p.m. at the Staller Main Stage, where he will speak about the university’s future and plans to achieve status as an elite public university.