UW-L: No. 2 in the Midwest

Heidi Morrison teaching class in Centennial Hall auditorium.

Heidi Morrison, assistant professor of history, teaches a class in Centennial Hall.

UW-L remains the top-ranked UW System comprehensive university

For a second year in the row, UW-La Crosse has been ranked the No. 2 public university in the Midwest – and the top comprehensive in the UW System.

The high rank comes in U.S.News & World Report’s 2012 America’s Best Colleges list of Best Regional Universities in the Midwest. The category includes institutions that provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.

“Even with our continued budget challenges, we’ve been able to maintain this impressive ranking because our people take great pride in this university and its reputation,” says Chancellor Joe Gow. “It’s helpful to have this external validation of the great work our faculty and staff do each day to ensure our students receive a high quality education.”

The No. 2 ranking continues UW-L’s trend of being ranked second or third among the Midwest’s public universities for the past 11 years. Truman State University in Missouri once again earned the top spot. The University of Northern Iowa shared the No. 2 spot with UW-L. The two have traded or shared the No. 2 and 3 spots for a decade.

Among all private and public Midwestern universities, UW-L ranked No. 16, tying with Kettering University in Michigan and the University of Northern Iowa.

U.S.News also listed UW-L among “A-Plus Schools for B Students.” The list identifies “where nonsuperstars have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving — where spirit and hard work could make all the difference in admissions offices.”

Gow says these rankings can play an important part in helping a student make a decision of where to go to college. “I doubt it’s the sole choice, but when you’re a school someone is considering and they see a great ranking, that reassures them that they’re making a good choice,” he says.

The rankings are also important for international students considering U.S. colleges. “For international students who are more unfamiliar with American college campuses, a high U.S.News ranking is very powerful,” Gow notes. “These students tend to rely on reputable rankings such as U.S.News.”

Among other UW four-year campuses in the top 10 in the Best Regional Universities rankings, UW-Eau Claire was No. 5 (32nd overall) and UW-Stevens Point was No. 9 (44th overall). UW-Madison is tied for No. 10 in the Best National Public Universities category.

The rankings are a thorough examination of how more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools compare on a set of up to 16 widely accepted indicators of excellence. Among the many factors weighed in determining the rankings, the key measures of quality are: peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. Complete listings are available at www.usnews.com/colleges.

Featured in the Winter 2011-12 Magazine