The University of Florida has moved closer to the administration's goal of becoming a top 10 institution of higher education.
According to the 2014 U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges and universities, the University of Florida has moved up to 14th among public universities and 49th among national universities. The University of Florida was previously ranked 17th and 54th, respectively, and is now tied with esteemed educational institutions University of California-Irvine and Northeastern University.
The U.S. News & World Report uses a wide array of variables to rank the world's universities. For UF, areas of improvement included:
- Graduation and retention rates
- Percentage of freshman in the top 10% of their class
- Percentage classes with less than 20 students
- Alumni giving rank
- Expected graduation rate
- Faculty resources
Faculty, staff, students, and supporters are being praised by driving UF in the rankings during years of budget cuts brought on by the national economic downturn. During that time, UF's budget had been cut by $230 million, forcing large program, supply, and faculty cuts.
The Legislature recently passed a bill that recognized UF as the state's most pre-eminent university, a reward accompanied by millions of dollars in additional funding the coming years that will allow the school to attract new faculty and build new classrooms and research labs. Machen pledged to match state funding with private donations in order to recruit and hire nationally-renowned research faculty. The University of Florida Foundation has also launched an $800 million fund drive to help create 100 new faculty jobs.
One of 62 members of the Assocation of American Universities (AAU), UF is among the top-tier of university research institutions in the world. The most problematic parameter keeping UF from leading that list, according to Machen, is the school's faculty and prestige.
"Being a top 10 university isn't about bragging rights," Machen said earlier this summer. "It's about being an institution that is among the best at fulfilling its mission of research, education, service and economic development."
TRIMARK PROPERTIES | STAFF | 10-September-2013