U.S. News & World Report magazine has ranked the University of Illinois Springfield as the top regional public university in the state of Illinois and the fourth best public university in that category in the entire Midwest.
This is the fourth straight year that UIS has achieved those rankings in the magazine’s annual lists of “America’s Best Colleges.”
The 2012 rankings placed UIS at 28 on a list of 155 top public and private colleges and universities in the 12-state Midwest region that includes, in addition to Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota.
Bradley University in Peoria, a private university, was sixth in the same category.
“We are proud to be among the best in the country as we continue to strive towards helping more students obtain a high-quality education,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. “Our ranking is a reflection of the commitment to students that is central to the work of our faculty and staff and to the quality of educational experience that we continually strive to provide.”
The rankings are based on several key measures of quality, including assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
U.S. News classifies regional universities as schools that offer a full range of undergrad programs and some master's programs but few doctoral programs. UIS offers 23 bachelor’s degree programs, 20 master’s programs and one doctoral program.
In the category of top liberal arts colleges, Jacksonville’s Illinois College was ranked 133rd. Last year, it was ranked 158th.
“Illinois College is steadily working toward its stated goal of becoming one of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation,” Illinois College President Axel Steuer said in a statement. “A few years ago, we were ranked favorably by U.S. News in the regional baccalaureate college category, and we made the positive programmatic changes to be reclassified as a national liberal arts college.”
National liberal arts colleges emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in the arts and sciences, including disciplines such as English, the biological sciences, physics, chemistry, history, political science, foreign languages and the visual and performing arts, according to U.S. News. Of the country’s 252 liberal arts colleges, 225 are private and 27 are public.
Illinois College was also listed in U.S. News’ 2012 list of “A-Plus Schools for B Students,” institutions in all categories that accept a wide range of promising students, including those whose test scores might disqualify them from some colleges, but who can thrive with hard work and determination. This list includes schools like Augustana College in Illinois, Coe and Cornell colleges in Iowa, and Wabash College in Indiana.
Chris Dettro can be reached at 788-1510.