Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Communism and Free Love Only?

Red Stick Rant looked at the latest college rankings from the Princeton Review, which prompted me to do so also.

My college, Reed College in Portland, Oregon, has previously been ranked as the least religious college (its unofficial slogan in the 1980s was "Communism, Atheism, Free Love"), which caused me no end of grief with my family (even my teenage daughter).

I don't know who the least religious college was this year, but Reed did place first in another category.

Best Classroom Experience -- Reed College (Portland OR)

Thank God for that.

P.S. Reed has a longstanding tradition of refusing to participate in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. As Reed stated in 1997:

Reed College has actively questioned the methodology and usefulness of college rankings ever since U.S. News and World Report's first best-colleges list appeared in 1983, despite the fact that Reed ranked among the top ten national liberal arts colleges that year. What do the rankings and the various criteria really say about the quality of the undergraduate experience at any given institution, and do they light the way for students and their parents through the maze of the college decision-making process?

Reed's concern intensified with disclosures three years ago in the Wall St. Journal about institutions flagrantly manipulating data in order to move up in the rankings in U.S. News and other popular college guides. This led Reed president Steven Koblik to inform the editors of U.S. News that he didn't find their project credible, and that the college would not be returning any of their surveys.

Actually, if you're trying to capture a different student body, it's a shrewd move. And the publicity didn't hurt either. Of course, if you were trying to get your same old-same old student body, such a move could be a death knell.


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