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One quality LAC doesn't constitute a major movement, but it will be interesting to see if any other colleges follow suit.Today, the annual "U.S.News" rankings will be available to the public. Please do not expect to see our ranking and associated commentary on our Web site or in any other official Dickinson publication.
As you well know, Dickinson is among those colleges that has long protested the applicability and responsibility of the "U.S.News" rankings. That said, until this year, we posted our ranking and celebrated, or seemingly lamented, every little move on the sliding scaleas irrational as the evaluation might be. To be consistent with our broader position, we will stop posting "U.S.News" rankings or any other commercial ranking system, including "The Princeton Review". We must not advance these instruments. Such systems only create unneeded "noise" and misinformation, and contribute decisively to the frenzy and high anxiety that now define the college admissions process. As you may know, Dickinson ceased completing the inappropriately subjective "Academic Prestige" survey for "U.S.News". Thus, our current action, decided upon several months ago, is simply a progressive step.
While our gesture is now a singular one, we are working with other prominent colleges and universities to make our current actions a shared position toward commercially-offered numerical rankings and to deliver to the public that information which permits serious transparency and judgment about our academic quality and general educational accomplishment.
If we are asked to comment upon the rankings, the following statement will be provided:
Dickinson will no longer comment on the rankings of colleges and universities by "U.S.News" or other media. While guidebooks often provide useful information about institutions, Dickinson is engaged in a nationwide effort, through The Education Conservancy and other groups, to question the methodology and assignment of numerical rankings because, by their nature, such rankings are artificial and often misleading.
In the spirit of openness Dickinson does respond to requests from guidebooks for quantitative information about the college. Our president, provost and vice president for enrollment do not, however, participate in opinion surveys about other institutions, such as the "U.S.News" ratings of "academic prestige."
We encourage prospective students and their families to make their own direct efforts to learn about colleges and universities by contacting institutions and visiting their campuses. There are many fine colleges and universities in the United States, and rather than relying on rankings, students should seek to find the best fit based on their own educational goals and on colleges' specific programs and dispositions.
Bill Durden '71