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Misericordia's U.S. News ranking continues steady ascent
09-10-13

MU has climbed 24 places in ranking since 2007.

Misericordia University ranks in the top tier, 43rd out of 139 colleges and universities, in the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 edition of Best Colleges, which includes institutions of higher education in the northern United States that offer master’s degrees.

 Misericordia University’s 43rd ranking is up 24 places from 2007, including a four-point improvement from 2013. In the latest rankings, MU is included in a tight grouping of 11 colleges and universities that are separated by two points for the rankings of 37 through 43, respectively.
 
“Misericordia University is proud to be regionally acclaimed and nationally recognized for its high-quality undergraduate and graduate academic programs,’’ said Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D., president of Misericordia University. “We are honored to be ranked among the very best institutions of higher education. We continue to believe that the Misericordia tradition of combining challenging academics, superb career preparation and instilling in each student a sense of service is appealing to today’s students, their families and prospective employers.’’
 
Misericordia University is one of five colleges and universities tied for 43rd on the U.S. News & World Report list. The individual data elements that comprise the overall U.S. News & World Report ranking score should be carefully reviewed. Misericordia’s first-year student retention rate of 85 percent, for example, is equal to or better than other institutions of higher education with higher overall rankings. MU’s graduation rate of 68 percent – another key factor in the rankings – also exceeds numerous peer institutions. Other Misericordia data used to calculate the rankings that match or exceed other highly ranked colleges and universities include the percent of classes under 20 students (50 percent), student faculty ratio (12 to 1) and the percentage of alumni giving (22 percent).
 
Misericordia University, like many smaller institutions, faces a challenge in gaining name recognition nationwide. Since 22.5 percent of the rating is based on peer reviews by other college presidents, academic deans and admissions directors, sharing the good news of Misericordia’s success will be a key to continuing the upward trend in the rankings.
 
Perhaps the best measure of a college or university is what its own students say about it. The prestigious National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) surveys freshmen and seniors regarding important measures of quality undergraduate education. It determines how engaged they are in specific activities. When compared to other institutions, Misericordia students overwhelmingly rated their educational experience as positive and said they would choose MU again if they could start their collegiate career over again. First-year students and seniors also felt their institution’s intellectual and creative work was academically challenging, felt they completed a significant amount of service to the community and gave their school a high ranking for providing a supportive campus environment.
 
NSSE is designed to obtain information from colleges and universities nationwide about student participation in programs and activities. More than 285,000 randomly selected first- and fourth-year students from 546 colleges and universities in the United States were surveyed in 2012. The results help institutions confirm good practices in undergraduate education and provide a benchmark by which schools can determine an accurate measure of quality education. Results include comparisons to similar colleges and all schools participating in the survey. The latest survey included 388 Misericordia students.
 
In the study, 94 percent of first-year students rated their entire educational experience at Misericordia as good or excellent, compared to an 88 percent average of all other institutions surveyed. Ninety percent of respondents said they would choose Misericordia again if they could start their collegiate career over, a figure that is 6 percent higher for first-year students who attended other Catholic institutions. First-year respondents also overwhelming rated their faculty as available, helpful and sympathetic (98 percent) and said the University provided the support they needed to succeed academically (92 percent) compared to 81 percent at all other schools surveyed.
 
An important factor in a recovering economy, 86 percent of Misericordia seniors said they feel strongly that career preparation is an important part of the Misericordia mission — rating it 10 percentage points higher than other NSSE schools surveyed. Ninety-two percent of MU seniors rated their educational experience as good to excellent, while they also rated the quality of advising nine points higher than other surveyed institutions.
 
Misericordia University also holds a 2014 “Best Northeastern College” designation by the Princeton Review, a student-survey based measure of quality colleges and universities. MU is one of 226 institutions of higher education The Princeton Review has recommended in its “Best in the Northeast’’ section of its website feature, “2014 Best Colleges: Region by Region,’’ that posted Aug. 6 on PrincetonReview.com. In the survey, Misericordia received a significantly higher academic rating than peer institutions received from their own students, according to The Princeton Review.
 
Washington Monthly magazine gave Misericordia University a “Best Bang for the Buck’’ designation that recognizes “colleges in America that do the best job of helping nonwealthy student marketable degrees at affordable prices,’’ according to the magazine. Overall, Misericordia ranked among the top 39 percent of all master’s degree-granting institutions of higher education in the country in a survey that stresses community service and social mobility of students. Misericordia is ranked 264th among 684 other colleges and universities that were recognized in the “2013 Master’s Universities’’ category. MU is ranked 13th in the nation for student participation in service. The rankings are based on the institution’s contribution to the public good in three evenly weighted categories: social mobility, research and service. The rankings appear in the September/October issue of Washington Monthly magazine.
 
For more information about Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6400 or log on to www.misericordia.edu. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 34 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats.
 
Caption:
 

Dr. Angela Asirvatham, left, and student researcher Danielle Yurko retrieve frozen Schwann cells from a liquid nitrogen storage container for use in biomedical research. Misericordia University is ranked 43rd out of 139 colleges and universities, in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Regional Universities – North category of the 2014 edition