We’re #50!

The University of Minnesota has made Washington Monthly’s annual ranking of top colleges/universities, coming it at #50 in the list of national universities. That’s up from #51 in 2007.

It doesn’t have the cachet of the famed US News ranking of institutions of higher learning, but insists its methodology is more meaningful:

We rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

Only two other schools appear on the list: University of St. Thomas (#172) and St. Mary’s University (#256)

Eight Minnesota schools are ranked in the list of liberal arts schools, topped by Carleton (#9), and followed by St. John’s (#18), Macalester (#19), Gustavus Adolphus (#33), St. Olaf (#55), College of St. Benedict (#80), Concordia (#83), and the University of Minnesota Morris (#157).

No less an arbiter than The Atlantic’s James Fallows confers his degree in lack of bogusness to the rankings:

The practical solution to ranking mania is not to try to eliminate them — it’s too late — but instead to crowd the field so that no one “Best Colleges” list has disproportionate influence. Toward that end, the Washington Monthly’s latest iteration of its college rankings is valuable simply for existing and adding diversity to the ranking field. It’s more valuable than that, because of the way it carries through its analysis about the traits we really should value in universities, plus letting people tailor their own rankings based on the qualities that matter most to them.