WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – UNC Wilmington's top institutional researcher told trustees Thursday she expects the university to remain in place or move up in the next US News and World Report college rankings due out in the fall.
Dr. Lisa Castellino, assistant provost of institutional research and assessment, said it's impossible to say which of the many published rankings is the most important, but acknowledged the US News and World Report list generally gets the most attention.
In the last ranking, UNCW placed sixth among public southern regional universities.
The university earned high marks in a number of areas including its acceptance rate, student selectivity and freshman retention rate.
But Castellino said UNCW is seeing a negative trend in other measures such as percent of classes with 50 or more students, percent of full-time faculty, and the number of students per faculty member.
Castellino explained the measures used in the rankings can change from year to year, one reason why she said the university should focus on student performance rather than gaming the system.
"What you may think is important this year may not be as important next year, so that's why I think it's important not to try to teach to the test if you will," she said.
UNCW is aided in the rankings by an all-time high graduation rate. More than 70% of students earn a diploma in six years. The only UNC institution with a higher rate is UNC Chapel Hill, Castellino said.
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