FGCU No. 75 among all schools in South, U.S. News reports in annual rankings

The metal sculpture and pillars of Lutgert Hall are signatures as you arrive at FGCU, with Holmes Hall to the right. One of the new campus parking garages is at upper left.

Photo by LEXEY SWALL

The metal sculpture and pillars of Lutgert Hall are signatures as you arrive at FGCU, with Holmes Hall to the right. One of the new campus parking garages is at upper left.

Florida Gulf Coast University is the 36th best public school in the southern region, up six spots from last year, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings released Tuesday.

FGCU also ranked 75th in the regional universities (South) category among public and private schools, 155th in the best undergraduate engineering program category (which includes schools where doctorate degrees are not offered), and 343rd in the best undergraduate business category.

“We don’t look at these rankings as being the holy grail,” FGCU provost Ron Toll said. “But having said that, FGCU is relatively new and young, and I think this means our reputation is getting out and we’re seen as a high-quality regional institution in the South.”

Toll said the university ranked 76th in the regional universities (South) category among both public and private institutions last year. That was also the first time the university broke the top 50 for regional public universities in the South at 42nd.

“So we went from 76 to 75 which is fine,” Toll said. “I’m pleased to see that we moved up from 42 to 36 because we obviously jumped past six or seven schools there, and it’s harder to move up the closer you get to the top.”

Graduate programs in the health category at FGCU also made the rankings.

The school’s graduate nursing program ranked 411th on a list of nursing programs at national universities, while its nursing-anesthesia program ranked 90th in the nursing-anesthesia category. The department of occupational therapy and community health at FGCU ranked 102nd in the occupational therapy category.

Also mentioned in the graduate programs category, though not assigned rankings, were FGCU’s social work and physical therapy programs.

U.S. News & World Report considers more than 1,600 schools nationwide for its rankings. This year marks the 28th year U.S. News has published the results.

Toll said the university’s business school has ranked in the top 300 on Princeton’s list for the past four years, a significant feat given that the program has only been accredited for 10 years.

This year’s national university rankings for U.S. News & World Report listed the top five universities for 2012 as: Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Columbia University and California Institute of Technology.

In Florida, University of Miami in Coral Gables ranked 38th on that list followed closely by the University of Florida at 58th. Florida State University ranked 101st, the University of Central Florida ranked 177th, and the University of South Florida in Tampa ranked 181st.

In the regional universities (south) category including public and private institutions, Rollins College in Winter Park ranked 1st followed by Stetson University in DeLand.

Toll said a more accurate comparison for FGCU, a public institution, exists in the regional universities top public schools rankings for the South. There, FGCU was outranked by University of North Florida in Jacksonville, which placed 19th. FGCU tied for 36th with three other universities including University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

U.S. News & World Report uses the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education 2010 for its rankings.

The formula takes the following into account: retention, faculty resources, how selective the university is, financial resources of the institution, graduation rates, alumni giving rates.

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