The U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 edition of the Best Graduate Schools rankings reported that three Illinois State University graduate programs have moved up in rankings from last year.
The rankings looked at specific programs within each college. The College of Education was judged based on the graduate programs available, while the College of Business was judged on its part-time MBA program. The Mennonite College of Nursing was judged on its master’s program.
The College of Education advanced to rank 88 from its original ranking of 108. The College of Business moved up from rank 92 to rank 89 and the Mennonite College of Nursing went from 98 to 90.
ISU Vice President and Provost Jan Murphy expressed how the new rankings give outsiders another reason to consider ISU for graduate schooling.
“These rankings reinforce the high-quality degree programs Illinois State offers our students,” Murphy said. “By recruiting outstanding faculty members, ISU continues to create a strong academic environment for our students.”
Associate Dean in the College of Education Barbara Meyer said the university strives for exceptional graduate programs. Illinois State, she said, “has been working tirelessly to provide exemplary graduate programs for students and professionals.
“Programs have been increasing in size without damaging quality,” Meyer said.
Meyer also said that the quality of education that graduate students receive is always improving thanks to attentive educators working outside of academia.
“Faculty and staff learn from educators in the field regarding needs in graduate education programs,” she said. “Education graduate students can expect to receive learning opportunities that advance skillset and thought process in their specialized area of study.”
Meyer said there are three major factors that make ISU’s education graduate program. The college has not lost sight of the practitioner while recognizing the value of scholarship, and it makes sure that its graduate programs that lead towards endorsements meet and exceed the requirements set by the state. It also identifies cohorts outside of the Bloomington-Normal area for some graduate programs and brings them to the Twin Cities, filling a need for graduate programs and the profession.
ISU Director of Media Relations Eric Jome said the fact that ISU is not only ranked in the publication, but that the school has gone up in those rankings, tells people about the quality of those programs.
“We internally know that we have good faculty and staff and that all of the programs and students are seeing success, but it’s nice to be able to see it in print,” Jome said.
While Jome explained that all ISU programs set the standard for quality assurance, the big three programs attract a lot of students, so the ranking is significant for prospective students.
“Across all our programs, you will see high-quality academics, but when you’re talking about education, nursing and business, these are fields that are very much in demand. Students will be able to see that we have what they need in terms of the quality of education,” Jome said.
President Larry Dietz expressed in the past that, “we have been going strong for a long time.” This refers not only to enrollment and financial stability, but also to academic quality.
“Our enrollment across the board has been strong as well, and like President Dietz said, we have been headed in a strong direction for a while. I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” said Jome.
Regarding academic programs at ISU, Jome noted that the college stays ahead of the competition because it is able to adapt to the changing times so well.
“One of the big things is trying to make sure that our programs are staying current with trends in the marker and the professional sphere,” Jome said. “These programs are always looking to innovate and keep up with the current standards. That drive is going to continue to keep our programs in the rankings.”