• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

Comments & Discussion

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation.

There are 6 comments on University Is 32nd in U.S. News Global Rankings

  1. Given the increasingly broad consensus as to the negative impact of US News rankings on education, should BU be proud of its standing?

    John Tierney of The Atlantic recently offered a brief recap (http://theatln.tc/2dWleNv) of criticisms leveled against the USNews Rankings, two of which strike me as particularly significant:
    • The list “exacerbates the status anxiety” of prospective students and parents
    • The rankings system rewards colleges with higher costs, costs that lead to higher tuition paid

    To these social costs of the rankings system one might add its hollow statistics:
    • Fails to measure educational outcomes
    • Easily gamed by schools

    Maybe it’s too much to ask that Rich Barlow offer a more nuanced take on the news that BU “held steady” in the USNews rankings; after all, BU is proud of its status, and Mr. Barlow is a writer for the university’s in-house promotional newsletter. But, speaking as both a BU parent and a member of its faculty, I would be prouder if we as an institution took a stand that was more ethically and intellectually rigorous and took this opportunity not to celebrate but to question the virtue of this ranking system.

    1. What a party pooper. As long as people understand the ranking methodology for any given ranking as opposed to just throwing around numbers, they can serve as somewhat useful comparison shopping in a very brand-focused society where competition is intense. But, at the end of the day, #39 on a list may be #1 for me based on my own circumstances and preferences. One component of the U.S. News domestic rankings that I think should be removed is the ‘peer assessment.’ What does a peer school know about the ins and outs of my university that qualifies them to assign a score of, say, 3.4 out of 5.0? To me, that’s when the rankings become problematic and unreliable.

  2. Never mind. Got it: #32 among the Best Global Universities (U.S. News & World Report)
    #39 in the nation (U.S. News & World Report—Best National Universities 2017)

Post a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *