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Office of the President

Office of the President
315-859-4105

College Rankings Statement

The undersigned presidents agree that prospective students benefit from having as complete information as possible in making their college choices.

At the same time, we are concerned about the inevitable biases in any single ranking formula, about the admissions frenzy, and the way in which rankings can contribute to that frenzy and to a false sense that educational success or fit can be ranked in a single numerical list.

Since college and ranking agencies should maintain a degree of distance to ensure objectivity, from now on data we make available to college guides will be made public via our websites rather than be distributed exclusively to a single entity. Doing so is true to our educational mission and will allow interested parties to use this information for their own benefit. If, for example, class size is their focus, they will have that information. If it is the graduation rate, that will be easy to find. We welcome suggestions for other information we might also provide publicly.

While we respect our colleagues who have announced that their schools will no longer respond to a survey on the merits of peer institutions, we believe that such judgments, if well informed, can usefully complement objective markers, since surely some institutions perform above their objective measures, others below. Still, no one should feel obligated to fill out reputational surveys, and anyone who chooses to should only do so for those institutions on which they have grounds for judgment.

We commit not to mention U.S. News or similar rankings in any of our new publications, since such lists mislead the public into thinking that the complexities of American higher education can be reduced to one number.

Finally, we encourage all colleges and universities to participate in an effort to determine how information about our schools might be improved. As for rankings, we recognize that no degree of protest will make them disappear, and hope, therefore, that further discussion will help shape them in ways that will press us to move in ever more socially and educationally useful directions.
 

Anthony Marx
Amherst College
Elaine Hansen
Bates College
Barry Mills
Bowdoin College
Nancy Vickers
Bryn Mawr College
       
Robert Oden
Carleton College
William D. Adams
Colby College
Rebecca Chopp
Colgate University
Thomas W. Ross
Davidson College
       
Russell Osgood
Grinnell College
Joan Hinde Stewart
Hamilton College
Stephen Emerson
Haverford College
Ronald Liebowitz
Middlebury College
       
David Oxtoby
Pomona College
Alfred Bloom
Swarthmore College
James Jones
Trinity College
Catharine Hill
Vassar College
       
Kenneth Ruscio
Washington and Lee
University
Kim Bottomly
Wellesley College
Michael Roth
Wesleyan College
 Morton Schapiro
Williams College

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