University of Washington Alumni Association
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Columns Votes - December 2005
Is the UW better than the University of Oregon? Is it equal to the University of Michigan? How about Harvard or Yale? In December 2005, UW alumni around the world voted on what they think are the UW's peer universities. In addition, we asked alumni to "rank the rankings" by telling us what criteria they think rating services should use when judging the quality of colleges and universities. This worldwide alumni vote came in the wake of a cover story on higher education in The Economist magazine. The editors ranked the University of Washington among the top 20 universities in the world.
When alumni voted last December on which institutions they considered peers of the University of Washington, more than half chose the University of Michigan. The December 2005 Columns included a ballot asking alumni to vote for three UW peer institutions and to choose the top three factors they think should be used to rank universities. Also at the top of the Web-based vote were UCLA with 42 percent, Cal-Berkeley with 39 percent and Wisconsin with 32 percent (because each voter was allowed three choices, percentages total more than 100). Because different groups use different criteria to rank universities, the UWAA also asked alumni to vote on what factors organizations should consider. Almost half of the voters felt that the ratings of graduate and professional programs should be part of any ranking criteria. Alumni also favored looking at graduation rates, the faculty/student ratio and the number of faculty articles cited in academic journals. These results are from an informal polling method similar to other Web-based polls and are not statistically significant.
Top 10 Peer Institutions
1. University of Michigan (53%)
2. University of California, Los Angeles (42%)
3. University of California, Berkeley (39%)
4. University of Wisconsin (32%)
5. University of North Carolina (18%)
6. Stanford University (14%)
7. University of Illinois (14%)
8. University of Virginia (10%)
9. Northwestern University (10%)
10. Pennsylvania State University (10%)