Mercyhurst moves up in US News rankings

Mercyhurst University’s work has allowed it to move up on the U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 rankings of America’s Best Colleges.

Last year Mercyhurst rested at 49th on the list, breaking into the top 50, and has moved up to 47 this year.

A university moves up through the ranks two ways, peer review and submission of university data report.

Some of the factors that make up this ranking are Mercyhurst’s student-faculty ratio, alumni giving rate and student graduation rate. These numbers are compared to other university numbers, along with a review of Mercyhurst by other colleges, which ultimately produces the list of best colleges.

According to Vice President for Academic Affairs Phillip Belfiore, Ph.D., Duquesne, La Salle and Villanova are other Pennsylvania universities who made the list. These three universities have strong academic programs that Mercyhurst strives to emulate as the university goes into the future.

What is Mercyhurst doing to continue climbing the list?

Mercyhurst isn’t doing anything in particular to continue climbing the list, other than continuing business as usual. The good work of its students and faculty members in making a quality environment where both can interact and work well with each other is the real worth of the university, according to Belfiore.

Reaction to the new ranking is mixed.

“It’s a superficial number. The number may get students and parents to come to Mercyhurst, but once here do they stay?” Belfiore said.

Belfiore thinks that the number might get more people to notice Mercyhurst as a possible college to visit but that it does not truly reflect how Mercyhurst has gotten better year after year. A better reflection of improvement can be seen through the day-to-day work by students and faculty at the university, in Belfiore’s opinion.

Sophomore Alexis Plastow is less enthusiastic about the ranking.

“We should be working on improving internal classes at Mercyhurst before worrying about other things,” Plastow said.

Kenneth Schiff, Ph.D., associate professor of English, has a slightly different view.

“As we focus on making Mercyhurst a better university, we’ll continue to move up in the rankings.” Schiff said.

Schiff sees the ranking as a reflection of the amount that Mercyhurst has improved, but hopes that the university doesn’t lose its sense of community and commitment to each other by focusing too much on moving up the ranks.