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THE rankings say Boston University is getting better and better.
That’s THE as in Times Higher Education magazine, which bumped BU up 4 spots, to 50th, in its latest report card on what it calls the top 400 universities worldwide. The University was the 30th highest ranked American school on the list, which was topped, as last year, by the California Institute of Technology.
To compile the ratings, THE (formerly part of the Times of London) uses 13 criteria to compile the ratings grouped in five areas—teaching, international outlook, research, research income from industry, and citations of faculty research. The University most impressed the raters on the last one, which THE dubs its “flagship” indicator of excellence.
In a nutshell, these measures “reflect faculty productivity,” says Melanie Madaio-O’Brien, assistant vice president for budget and institutional research. “For example, the score on research volume, income, and reputation increased, as did our score reflecting the number of citations. These measures are reflections of the quality of our faculty.”
Among New England peers BU outstripped in the rankings were Brown (52nd), Tufts (80th), Dartmouth (126th), the University of Massachusetts (132nd), Boston College (135th), Brandeis (164th), and Northeastern (184th). Again, as last year, the United States boasts 7 of the top 10 institutions; the United Kingdom claims the other 3.
And for the second year in a row, BU’s health and medical education programs have been named among the top 100 worldwide in the 2013–2014 THE World University Rankings, conducted by Thomson Reuters. The influential survey ranked BU 22nd for clinical, preclinical, and health programs, an advancement from 29th place last year.
The ranking applies to the School of Medicine, the School of Public Health, the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, the College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, and the School of Social Work, according to Thomson Reuters.
“While BU received an overall score of 74.8 out of 100, our citation of research influence score is 95.8, highlighting the widespread impact of our research,” says Karen Antman, dean of MED, provost of the Medical Campus, and the John Sandson Professor of Health Sciences.
The rankings examine research influence by tracking the number of times a university’s published work is cited by scholars globally. This year Thomson Reuters examined more than 50 million citations to 6 million journal articles published over five years in assembling the rankings, according to the THE website.
Being a great teacher always impresses those you’re teaching; sharing your home phone number for their after-hours questions helps, too. Student raves about such things prompted the Princeton Review to declare BU’s law professors the best in the nation in its 2014 edition of The Best 169 Law Schools.
It’s not the first time the rating-and-test-prep company has given the blue ribbon to BU School of Law faculty. They received the same honor in the 2011 and the 2012 editions, an impressive three out of four. In this year’s rankings, BU’s faculty outpaced colleagues at 168 other schools, including those deemed similar by the Review: Harvard, Georgetown, Northwestern, the University of Virginia, and Boston College.
The rankings are based on data from the law schools and particularly on comments from some 18,500 surveyed students at the evaluated schools. The 80-question survey asked students about their school’s academics, campus life, student body, and career plans. The report mentions some of the accolades LAW students used to describe their faculty, among them “the top of their field” and “love their areas of law, and they love teaching. They go out of their way to be accessible—even offering their home phone numbers.”
“Few law schools elicit as much praise from students for both the ‘top-notch’ professors and the ‘absolutely wonderful’ administration,” the report says. It also quotes students lauding LAW’s mentoring and social programs to foster student interaction with their teachers. “These, obviously, aid job placement for students in Boston and elsewhere,” the raters write.
The Review graded law schools in 11 categories and listed the top 10 law schools in each. BU ranked fifth among the schools surveyed for “best classroom experience.”