Undergraduate research/creative projects takes 22nd; nursing jumps to 5th

This year’s U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings saw Case Western Reserve slip two notches to 44th among national universities, while also appearing at 22nd for undergraduate research and creative projects.

As President Eric Kaler explained to Crain’s Cleveland Business last month, the best colleges for individual students depend on their own unique priorities for their undergraduate years. 

“We just encourage people to look beyond them and be more thoughtful and deeper thinking about what’s right for [them],” he told the publication.

In terms of individual ranking criteria, this year’s rankings showed that nearly 60% of undergraduate classes have fewer than 20 students, while 14% have 50 or more. Also, the student-to-faculty ratio is 9-to-1, down from 11-to-1 for the previous several years. 

The first-to-second year retention rate climbed from 93% to 94%, its highest figure in at least six years. Unfortunately, the overall graduation rate dipped 1 percentage point, to 84%, and the graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients slipped by 2, to 81%.

Case Western Reserve’s appearance at 22nd for undergraduate research and creative projects—determined by nominations from presidents, provosts and other campus leaders—reflects the university’s longstanding commitment to engaging students in hands-on learning. More than 85% of undergraduates participate in research—often starting in their first year.

U.S. News also released rankings for several undergraduate programs that are based on ratings given by deans and other academic leaders within their schools. This year’s balloting found the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing’s program leaping five slots, to 5th in the nation. Tying the school at that position were The Ohio State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Washington. 

“This result is a testament to our exceptional faculty,” Dean Carol Musil said, “It also recognizes our extraordinary hospital partners, who welcome our incoming students to 1,300+ hours of clinical experiences, which start within their first month of undergraduate study. We are grateful to everyone involved in preparing our students to be such outstanding nurses.”

In other undergraduate rankings, biomedical engineering fell one spot, to 13th, while the engineering school as a whole maintained its position at 45th. The Weatherhead School of Management overall slipped three spots, to 39th. The school’s management program ranked 30th, with accounting at 39th.