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College again earns top rankings from US News



GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The College of Education at the University of Florida continues to stake claim as the top ranked education school in Florida and among public universities in the Southeast, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Education Schools survey, released Tuesday (March 14, 2017).

Nationally, the UF college moved up one spot to No. 19 among public institutions after two straight years at No. 20. Counting all education schools — private and public — UF was ranked No. 29 nationally, also a one-spot jump from last year.

Two UF academic education programs remained in the top 10 in their specialty areas: Special Education at No. 5 and Counselor Education tied for No. 8. Elementary Education remained a top 20 program at No. 14.

For these rankings of on-campus programs, U.S. News surveyed 376 graduate education schools granting doctoral degrees, with 255 providing the necessary data to be calculated based on a weighted average of 10 key quality measures.

UF registered gains in several of the survey’s key metrics—peer assessment (a school’s overall quality as rated by other education college deans and graduate studies program heads) and two measures related to the college’s funded research activity.

During 2016, education faculty researchers registered a record-high $25.1 million in funded research expenditures, a $4.8 million spike over the prior year, the U.S. News report showed. Faculty members averaged more than $380,000 each in the total value of grants they generated—also the highest amount in college history.

The College of Education’s jump in the national rankings parallels the growth of its research enterprise. Despite diminishing federal and state support for education research, the college’s external funding has doubled in value over the past five years, while the college has climbed 23 spots in the U.S. News ratings since 2012. Several new innovative academic programs also have been launched or expanded since the aftermath of severe economic decline nearly a decade ago.

“The college’s ability to thrive and be recognized with higher rankings during some difficult times stem from the high quality of our students and our energetic faculty, and the generosity and dedication of our alumni, donors and the entire College of Education community,” Good said.

Associate Dean Tom Dana said the college’s success plays an important role in helping the University of Florida advance toward its goal of becoming one of the nation’s preeminent research universities. “We share the vision for prominence and take steps forward every day.”

These latest ratings for on-campus graduate programs come only two months after U.S. News rated the College of Education’s distance education program No. 1 — America’s best online graduate education program – for the second year in a row.

Below are highlights of current notable developments and research at the College of Education that likely have impacted its rise in the rankings:

  • The college’s Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies was instrumental in the February convening of UF’s Early Childhood National Summit. The summit brought together more than 100 early-childhood leaders to foster collaborations across disciplines and create actionable steps to move the field forward.
  • The college’s Center of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation is teaming with the local Alachua County school district to devise and field-test a new “blueprint” for training that readies elementary teachers-to-be for greater impact in classroom practices and student learning.
  • Algebra Nation, created by the college’s UF Lastinger Center for Learning, is a powerful, web-based tutoring network that provides about 250,000 students from all Florida school districts with access to some or the state’s best math teachers and e-learning resources. Building on the success of Algebra Nation, center researchers have added resources for other key math classes to evolve into a more comprehensive Math Nation: It champions students’ mastery of mathematics beginning with foundational arithmetic concepts before advancing to Algebra 1, continuing to geometry, Algebra 2 and eventually to advanced subjects such as trigonometry. Since its 2016 launch, 8.4 million students, teachers, professors and parents have logged on to Math Nation.
  • The novel UFTeach program, a collaboration between the colleges of Education and of Liberal Arts and Sciences, recruits top math and science majors on campus to prepare them to become effective instructors to teach these vital subjects to middle and high schoolers.
  • Aided by $25 million in federal support, UF special education faculty are helping 20 states strengthen their professional standards and methods for preparing teachers and leaders serving students with disabilities.

“We measure our success at the College of Education not by a ranking number on a magazine page,” Dean Good sad, “but how well we are helping to solve educational challenges and strengthen our society.”

The complete U.S. News Best Graduate Education Schools rankings are available online.


SOURCES:
Tom Dana, associate dean, UF College of Education, 352-273-4134;
Glenn Good, dean, UF College of Education 352-273-4135; 
WRITER
:
Larry Lansford, news and communications office, UF College of Education, 352-273-4137