UPDATED: U.S. News Survey ranks WKU 12th in south

Katherine Wade

WKU was named the 12th highest ranked public university in the South by a U.S. News and World Report ranking released last week.

WKU — which finished in a three-way tie with Georgia College & State University and the University of Montevallo — ranked below schools such as The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.; James Madison University in Harrisburg, Va.; and Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., which took the three top places, respectively.

President Gary Ransdell said he thought WKU’s ranking was good, but could be better.

“I don’t place too much stock in the U.S. News rankings, but I also know that they are well read,” Ransdell said. “We need to continue to strive to improve our performance in the measures that U.S. News deems appropriate.”

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said he believes WKU’s focus on retention and graduate rates will help a lot in improving WKU’s ranking.

“We are holding our own,” Emslie said. “But I think some of the activities and initiatives we are putting in place will help us move up.”

Murray State University was also ranked above WKU, at eighth place in the region. Eastern Kentucky University finished 63rd in the South.

The University of Kentucky ranked 124th nationally and the University of Louisville ranked 164th nationally. The two universities were not ranked at the regional level.

These rankings come from the “Best Colleges 2012,” an annual survey put together by U.S. News to help perspective students compare colleges and universities.

According to usnews.com, to rank colleges, U.S. News first groups schools by category and location. Then, information is gathered and evaluated about each school, focusing in 16 different areas of academic excellence. Each school is assigned a weight, or percentage, based on researcher conclusions about which measures of quality are most important. Finally, each school is ranked based on the combined score.