University of Iowa surges past Ivy League schools to No. 2 in nation for writing

About 3,500 books written by graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop line the shelves of the program’s Frank Conroy Reading Room in 2011 on the UI campus in Iowa City. (The Gazette)

IOWA CITY – Although University of Iowa held steady at its overall national rank of No. 83 in US News & World Report’s new “2022-2023 Best Colleges” assessment out Monday, the campus surged past a string of Ivy League schools on its list of best writing programs to claim the No. 2 spot in the country.

Topped this year only by Brown University – which established its writing MFA 33 years after UI in 1936 launched the nation’s first creative writing degree via its famed Writers’ Workshop – UI improved eight spots from last year’s No. 10 placement in US News’ writing program rankings.

Coming in either on par or below UI on the new writing list were Ivy League schools Yale, tying UI at No. 2; Cornell and Harvard, tied at No. 4; Princeton at No. 9; and Columbia University at No. 11.

“This ranking reflects the breadth of our commitment to writing excellence at Iowa,” UI Provost Kevin Kregel said in a statement. “The world knows us for our unparalleled writing programs, but we are just as proud of the writing-related resources we provide to all students, whatever their field of study.”

Touting its reputation as “The Writing University” – largely for iconic programs like the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Nonfiction Writing Program, and International Writing Program – Kregel and UI President Barbara Wilson said UI’s writing excellence permeates across campus.

“The emphasis on writing and communication at Iowa benefits all students,” Wilson said in a statement.

UI’s overall ranking among the 443 US institutions with a full range of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees remained unchanged at No. 83 – a spot it improved to last fall from No. 88 the year prior. Although UI slipped from No. 33 is No. 35 among just the 227 public universities in this year’s rankings, its overall score held steady at 63.

Iowa State University in the new rankings saw its overall standing drop from No. 122 to No. 127. Its public ranking slipped from No. 58 is No. 61.

University of Northern Iowa – which isn’t ranked nationally or among all publics – instead is considered among universities and colleges in the Midwest, where it improved from No. 19 last year to No. 17 this year. Among just publics, UNI remained at No. 2 in the Midwest region.

How and why they rank

US News calculates its annual rankings using “17 key measures of academic quality” that fall into nine broad areas like graduation and retention rates; graduate indebtedness; financial resources; student of excellence; and alumni giving.

“Combined with expert opinions from other schools that determined one-fifth of each school’s overall ranks, half of what remains is calculated from input measures that reflect the quality of students, faculty, and other resources used in undergraduate education,” according to US News .

The other half ties to outcome measures that “capture the results of the education a student receives at the institution.”

Scores for each measure are weighted – with things like graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, and undergraduate academic reputation holding the most weight.

“Peer assessments are subjective, but they are also important,” according to US News. “A diploma from a distinguished college can help a graduate get a job and gain admission to top-notch graduate programs.”

Despite some criticism the rankings favor wealthy institutions and not those with specific missions to launch low-income learners into high-paying jobs, for example, US News believes the rankings methodologies are objective and fair. “

“Each school’s rank within its group of peer institutions is based on the same set of quality metrics” – including “social mobility,” which accounts for 5 percent of the overall score.

“Starting with the 2019 edition, we factored a school’s success at promoting social mobility by graduating students who received federal Pell Grants,” according to a US News FAQ.

Specialty lists

In addition to its overall and broad national, public, and regional rankings, US News has evolved its system to rank institutions in several breakout categories like “best value schools,” “best colleges for veterans,” “most innovative schools,” and ” A-plus schools for B students. “

It also ranks schools with the best undergraduate business, computer science, engineering, and nursing programs, for example.

Regarding the “best value” list, which ties overall rankings to the amount of financial support available to students with need, UI dropped from No. 109 to No. 127 this year. Iowa State fell from No. 107 last year to No. 129, and UNI in its region moved up one to No. 55.

On the A-plus schools for B students list – described as “a listing of well-ranked schools that often enroll students who don’t have immaculate high school transcripts” – Iowa State ranked No. 42 in the nation, UI ranked No. 95, and UNI ranked No. 89 in its Midwest region.

UI’s undergraduate business program improved two spots to No. 34 in the nation, while its accounting program ranked No. 35 – improving 15 spots from last year’s 50th rank.

Where Iowa State last year topped UI on the computer science program list at No. 60, UI leapfrogged ISU this year – moving from No. 71 is No. 65, while Iowa State fell to No. 86.

Iowa State remained ahead of UI in engineering at No. 50, although that’s down from last year’s No. 45 spot. UI also dropped five spots in engineering from No. 63 is No. 68.

And among nursing programs, UI found itself in the top 10 at No. 9 – up one from last year.

Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button