Ascent in national rankings

Published 12:43 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Longwood University has moved up the charts in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges guide for the third straight year, according to a recent school press release. Officials added that this continues the sharpest ascent in the regional rankings over that stretch of any Virginia public university.

The latest rankings, released Sept. 10, show Longwood overall moving up one spot to No. 8 among the best public universities in the magazine’s southern regional universities category, the release noted. It further stated that the school also moved up to crack the top 25 among all universities, both public and private, in that category.

School officials cited in the release that Longwood debuted in the top 20 in a new rankings category from the magazine that identifies institutions in each region with the strongest commitment to professors teaching in the classroom.

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“I’m especially pleased to see our commitment to faculty teaching in the classroom being recognized,” Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV said in the release. “Longwood has such great momentum in so many areas — our new Civitae core curriculum, committed professors and an array of great new buildings opening on campus. We aren’t doing those things to move up in the rankings, and no ranking can fully capture a university. But it’s heartening to see, over time, more and more people noticing us.”

W. Taylor Reveley IV

While year-to-year rankings can sometimes jump around, most metrics in the formula change only gradually over time, so the focus generally falls on longer-term trends, the release highlighted. It indicated that since 2014, Longwood has ascended from No. 12 to No. 8 among regional public universities in the south.

In its broader overall category, Longwood is up six spots in just three years, officials stated, adding that no other Virginia public universities in that category — and, in fact, only a tiny handful of institutions nationally in any category — have risen so far during that time period.

The press release provided the following list of some other facts about Longwood’s spot in this year’s rankings:

• This year Longwood’s overall ranking benefited from a substantial jump of eight spots in its “peer ranking” — an important part of the formula that surveys how other institutions view the university’s reputation. Longwood also saw improvements in its rankings relative to other institutions in such categories as financial resources and faculty resources.

• Longwood is ranked in the top 20 regionally in a new measure of universities with the strongest commitment to professors teaching in the classroom. Longwood has the highest percentage of students taught by full-time faculty of any public university in Virginia.

• A new methodology adopted by U.S. News & World Report puts more emphasis on graduation rates — a top priority for Longwood in its strategic vision — and less emphasis on metrics like acceptance rate, which some colleges have worked to artificially inflate. Longwood’s work to improve graduation rates and student success services housed in the new Brock Hall are among its top priorities.

School officials said in the release that Longwood students will benefit this fall from not only the new Upchurch University Center, which will open Oct. 26, but also Brock Hall, a building dedicated to housing student success services like the Center for Academic Success, Writing Center and plenty of quiet study, work and meeting space.