by CHRISTINE NAPPI, Staff Writer
Manhattan College has recently advanced in the 2020 version of the U.S. News and World Report rankings, as well as earning the number one spot on MONEY Magazine for being the most transformative college in the country.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked Manhattan 13th out of 179 colleges and universities in the North Regional Universities categories. The college has also been ranked out of 53 colleges in the same category as being the seventh best college for veterans. In addition, Manhattan was noted as a top performer in social mobility, a new category added to this report. The School of Engineering and O’Malley School of Business have also received recognition for being notable programs the school has to offer.
“Rankings have become a very important part of a college’s recognition,” Dean of Business Donald Gibson said. “They are important, they’re a strong sign and our presence on the U.S. News list is very important and the fact that we’ve moved up on there, it’s not easy to change places on that list.”
In this report, the college has advanced from previously being in the 15th spot. This is the college’s fourth consecutive year placing in the top 15 and its 13th consecutive year placing in the top 20 for this category.
The U.S. News and World Report evaluates their categories based on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s Basic Classification system, which is the system used by the U.S. Department of Education and higher education associations. For specific rankings, the report used quantitative data, such as graduation and acceptance rates, as well as academic quality and opinion-based rankings.
The School of Engineering has tied with 14 other schools for 38th place among 210 for the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs where a doctorate is not offered. According to Tim Ward, Dean of Engineering, U.S. News and World Report will send out ranking sheets with schools similar to Manhattan. After obtaining a certain number of rankings, the average is published which warrants reasoning for multiple schools being ranked at the same level.
“It’s nice to be on the list but it doesn’t reflect the quality of the school,” Ward said. “The school of engineering has made its fame otherwise in the city and in the region.”
MONEY has looked at data to determine Manhattan’s place on their list, and has ranked the college so for having a “proven ability to change the lives of its students,” regardless of their demographic and economic backgrounds. They found the college to have a 37 percent higher graduation rate than schools who enroll students with the same backgrounds, and note that more than 60 percent of graduates coming from low-income backgrounds reach the top income quintile by their 30s. They claim alumni to have average starting salaries of $62,600, which surpasses the starting salaries for graduates of Fordham and New York University, and is just under that of Columbia University.
“Manhattan prepared me extremely well for post graduate life and my job,” Anne King ‘19 said. “The college has a lot of opportunities for their students.”
King, a previous education major currently working at a special education school in the West Bronx, felt ready for post-graduate life due to Manhattan’s curriculum and attention to students. She claims that the “rigorous but manageable” education in addition to professors willingness to work with students, has prepared her well for life outside of college.
“We’re actually taking students and raising them up to a higher level,” Dean of Engineering Tim Ward said. “We have the students who come here, and after they leave here they’ve exceeded expectations as you might think based on what the incoming demographics were.”
Although the college is pleased to be on U.S. News and World Report rankings list, Ward and Gibson note the importance of being recognized on MONEY and find it to reflect the mission of the college well. The school credits their success for the ability to improve the lives of a diverse student body, and allowing each student to be successful in their post graduate lives.
“Manhattan College instills a massive amount of pride in the school and in their students,” King said. “[It’s] a strong community of people even after you graduate.”
MONEY defines Manhattan’s success from the “individualized attention to every student.” Gibson notes that the college works with students of all varieties to prepare them for post-graduate life, equipping them with the skills they need in the work environment. He also notes the importance of adhering to current and past student’s demands in order to meet their educational needs.
“Openness to a variety of people and then working with people to help prepare them, in our case for a modern workplace.” Gibson said. “That’s the transformative piece and that’s what Manhattan College does well.”
Despite the successful reputation of the engineering and business programs, Ward and Gibson both emphasize the importance of Manhattan being a liberal arts school. They find that the liberal arts tradition combined with professional programs, such as engineering, business, and education, sets the school apart from others. Gibson finds that the school has had very successful alumni, and the transformative ranking has reflected that.
“I call it the ‘power of and’ between liberal arts and professional schools,” Gibson said. “You get this whole person, this well rounded person. That’s really what an employer wants, not somebody who’s just narrowly focused on one thing.”
Ward notes that in addition to having a core curriculum rooted in liberal arts, the school’s Lasallian traditions also play into student success. The factors of “ethical behavior, community, and service,” help shape the student.
“Students who come here and graduate from here take something more than just technical skills with them,” Ward said. “They take skills with them that allow them to be leaders to be very successful in their careers.”
With an increase in attention on college rankings, the college hopes to continue to receive recognition for their achievements. While the college knows the influence rankings can have on perceptions of the school, Gibson highlights the importance that rankings should not distract from the overall goal of the college.
“Once you have a ranking it’s hard for people to take their eyes off it,” Gibson said. “It’s a balance of you need to be aware of the rankings but that shouldn’t be everything you focus on. You really need to focus on ‘are we doing our job well.”