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Law, education schools listed among the best by U.S. News (Released 2/28/97)

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut's schools of law and education are among the top 50 in their categories in the latest ranking of the nation's best graduate school programs by U.S. News and World Report.

The Law School is ranked 32nd out of 179 and the School of Education 48th of 191 in the news magazine's annual rankings.

The graduate school rankings are in the March 10 issue of the newsweekly, which goes on sale March 3, and in a 178-page guidebook, 1997 America's Best Graduate Schools. This is the eighth year the weekly news magazine has ranked graduate schools, but only the third year it has ranked schools of education. The list includes both public and private institutions.

The education school rankings looked at 191 graduate education programs that grant Ph.D. or Ed.D. degrees. The list is topped by Teachers College at Columbia University, Stanford University, and the University of California-Berkeley. Out of the 179 accredited law schools ranked, Yale, Harvard and the University of Chicago head the list.

The UConn Law School has risen steadily up the list. Last year it was ranked 38th and in 1995, 46th. The School of Education ranked 38th in 1995 but was not ranked in the top 50 last year.

The deans of the two schools welcome the rankings. "This is certainly a tribute to the outstanding students that we have and a tribute to the faculty whose hard work is reflected in the ranking," says Judith Meagher, interim dean of the School of Education.

"We are moving into the most competitive tier in legal education," says Hugh Macgill, dean of the Law School. He points out that among the 76 public universities listed, the UConn Law School ranked 12th.

Macgill attributes the school's continuing rise in the rankings to the quality of the students and faculty. "We have continued to attract a high quality of student, despite a general decline nationally in applications, and we have a good rate of placement of our graduates," he says.

Macgill says some of the most important features of a graduate education are not measured by the U.S. News ranking, however: "We would do even better if the ranking measured the quality of what actually goes on here. We have an extraordinarily able faculty, small classes, and a remarkably harmonious and committed student body. These fundamental strengths of the school are not captured by U.S. News's criteria."

Although Macgill has reservations about the system of rating academic institutions, he recognizes that the rankings influence behavior. "Like it or not, this one ranking is probably the single strongest factor in the minds of people setting out to choose a law school," he says.

Rankings of the law schools were determined using five criteria: student selectivity, employment success, faculty resources and two separate measures of institutional reputation among practicing lawyers and law school faculty and administrators.

The criteria for the education schools were: faculty resources, research activity, student selectivity, and two separate surveys of reputation taken among school superintendents and education school deans and faculty.