Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 6, 2001

Whitworth Rises in U.S. News Rankings, Remains a Top Value in West

Whitworth College is one of the best colleges and top values in the West according to U.S. News & World Report's 2002 college rankings. The annual rankings, which rate colleges and universities nationwide on academic reputation and quality, placed Whitworth in a tie for seventh among 128 master's-level universities in the 15-state Western region. Whitworth also ranked tied for 11th among master's-level universities in the West in the magazine's listing of best college values, which considers both academic quality and the net cost of attendance. Whitworth was ninth and 10th respectively in U.S. News' 2001 rankings of best colleges and best values in the West.

Whitworth President Bill Robinson says he appreciates the attention that comes from being ranked highly but cautions that there are a number of variables students and parents should consider when selecting a college.

"The U.S. News rankings do a good job of measuring some important aspects of Whitworth's academic excellence, but don't begin to capture our mission, campus culture or individual strengths," Robinson says. "Finding out whether a school is a good overall fit for the student is far more important than where it ranks on a list."

The rankings, which were posted to U.S. News & World Report's website on Sept. 6 and will be available in newsstands on Sept. 10, are based on various indicators of academic quality, including student selectivity, freshman retention, graduation rate, financial resources, alumni giving and academic reputation.

Whitworth Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Tammy Reid attributes Whitworth's rise in the rankings to steady and significant investments in academic resources ranging from classroom technology and library holdings to faculty scholarship and student research in the sciences. As enrollment has grown to capacity in recent years, Reid says, Whitworth also has hired new professors to preserve the college's excellent student-faculty ratio (12:1 this year) and the rich mentoring relationships made possible when students have easy and frequent access to their professors.

"These investments are evidence of the college's ongoing commitment to academic rigor," Reid says, "I think our record-high retention and graduation rates are good indicators of the academic caliber of our entering students as well as of the quality of advising, teaching and mentoring students receive at Whitworth."

In addition, the college has invested more than $30 million in campus improvements over the past eight years and is completing a $50 million capital campaign that will fund a state-of-the-art academic building and community resource center as well as endowed chairs and professorships, student scholarships, faculty development and technology upgrades. Fred Pfursich, Whitworth's dean of enrollment services, believes the appeal of Whitworth's 200-acre campus has contributed to the recent boom in admissions applications and is reflected in improved student selectivity scores in the U.S. News rankings.

"Good students demand a nice campus with excellent facilities, and the Whitworth campus is impressive to visiting students and parents," Pfursich says. "Our academic reputation among high-school counselors in the Northwest also is way up as they notice the caliber of students we are admitting as well as those we're not admitting."

U.S. News & World Report has published college rankings since 1983 as an aid to students and parents in the college-selection process. The magazine categorizes schools by mission, and, in some cases, by region, then ranks them using a weighted composite score of up to 16 indicators of academic quality. The institutional categories used by U.S. News are based on the Carnegie Foundation's classification of higher-education institutions. As a result of a recent update to Carnegie's classification system, a number of categories were re-named, and more than 200 institutions changed categories in U.S. News' 2002 rankings. Whitworth remained in the same category of institutions offering a full range of bachelor's degrees and some master's degrees, but the category name changed from "Regional Universities" to "Universities-Master's."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,000 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Tammy Reid, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, (509) 777-3702 or treid@whitworth.edu.

Fred Pfursich, dean of enrollment services, (509) 777-4348 or fpfursich@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

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