The U.S. News and World Report university rankings have been announced for this year and UMBC has once again found itself near the top of the list in a few categories.
UMBC is no longer listed as the number one “up and coming university,” – largely because the category no longer exists – but has been ranked as number four in Innovation and number six in Undergraduate Teaching. So now that UMBC has officially arrived, do its rankings hold up for the actual students of the university?
According to U.S. News, to be ranked as an innovative university, top college officials appointed by U.S. News identify universities that are making “innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”
“I definitely think we’re academically rigorous enough to meet that standard,” said sophomore pre-allied health major Caroline Cannon.
It is true that UMBC has proven itself to be an innovative university when it comes to academics as its students are always being challenged in the majority of their coursework and in its ability to integrate research into the curriculum. There are also innovations within campus life with the new additions coming to campus. While moving slowly, when finished, UMBC will have brand new apartments, a more ecologically friendly pond and a welcoming entrance for students, faculty and visitors.
The Performing Arts and Humanities building is a newer innovative facility that is a place for students that have focuses in the humanities and arts. The Events Center is also in its planning stages, but will prove to be an innovative addition to campus life as it will hold campus events like convocation and a new athletic arena.
However, there are areas where UMBC may need some work in innovation. The technology at UMBC, though always working to be improved, still has many flaws. Projector systems in some of the newer facilities, like the Physics building, are notoriously known for malfunctions and being confusing to control.
The university’s websites also need major updating, myUMBC and Blackboard are outdated and hard to navigate for both students and faculty. Although, this year, the new myUMBC app is much more innovative and user friendly compared to its past mobile site.
UMBC’s ranking for number six in undergraduate teaching is certainly well earned. It’s a long needed acknowledgement for the university as it is clear that the majority of professors put much care into their undergraduate students’ education.
“I think we deserve it,” said recent UMBC graduate of media and communication studies, Isabel Aldunate. “The professors really care and I’m not surprised at all.”
Undergraduate education is not taken lightly at UMBC and is not overshadowed by graduate programs. Undergraduate students are working just as hard and are involved in numerous areas of research.
So while UMBC is not a perfect university, it is constantly working to be better. UMBC deserves both the innovation and undergraduate teaching ranking recognitions from U.S. News.