March 30, 2007

U.S. News & World Report survey Rehabilitation, education programs get top rankings

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Rehabilitation counseling and workforce education programs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale received national recognition this week in U.S. News & World Report's annual guide to the country's best graduate schools.

Housed in the Rehabilitation Institute, the counseling program ranked sixth in a field of 18, as assessed by a nationwide survey of academics in the field, averaging 3.7 on a 5-point scale. SIUC's Department of Workforce Education and Development ranked for the second consecutive year as one of the country's 10 top specialty programs in education. Both units are in the College of Education and Human Services.

"The college is particularly pleased to learn that two of our programs are continuing to receive national ranking for quality at the same time the college is nationally ranked sixth in the nation for the production of all minority graduates and second in the nation in the production of African-American graduates," said Patricia B. Elmore, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Services.

SIUC's rehabilitation counseling program received the same peer assessment score as those located at Boston University and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Other universities with programs listed in the top 18 include Michigan State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Iowa.

"The rehabilitation counseling program was the first of its kind in the nation," said James E. Bordieri, who headed the Rehabilitation Institute before becoming interim associate dean in the education college.

"It started over 50 years ago, and it's become one of the largest and most comprehensive training programs available. We offer the traditional vocational rehabilitation program for people with disabilities, and we also offer coursework in aging and substance abuse treatment, which are very hot areas now across the nation."

John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school at SIUC, said the program has a long tradition of success.

"The university has been very proud to say that the rehabilitation counseling program within the Rehabilitation Institute has been ranked among the top programs in the country for as long as I can recall," Koropchak said. "The faculty in that program are national leaders who are innovative and creative and are sure to continue that tradition."

In addition to its master's in rehab counseling, the Rehabilitation Institute has master's programs in behavioral analysis and therapy, communication disorders and sciences, and rehabilitation administration and services, as well as a doctoral program in rehabilitation. Its undergraduate programs confer degrees in communication disorders and sciences and in rehabilitation services. For a more detailed look at all the programs, visit the institute on the Web at

SIUC's workforce education department again ranked with counterparts in such schools as The Ohio State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Penn State in vocational and technical education. Among the largest of its kind in the country, the department offers both undergraduate and graduate programs on campus and off. Visit it on the Web at

"We are thrilled to be recognized again as one of the top graduate programs in the country," said Chair C. Keith Waugh.

"Our department has a long history of providing a quality education experience to students, conducting cutting-edge research that benefits human resource and workforce educators and practitioners in field, and serving the business and education communities nationally and internationally.

"Receiving this recognition by our peer institutions is an affirmation of the tremendous accomplishments achieved by our faculty, staff, students, and graduates."

Koropchak said the rankings are a credit to the college and University.

"Clearly, this ranking is based on the excellent reputation that the faculty and students in the program have developed based on the great things that they do," he said.

The specialty ratings in education come from nominations by education school deans and deans of graduate studies, who can name up to 10 programs in each of 10 categories. The guide lists those with the most votes.

Overall data for this year's graduate school guide came from surveys conducted last fall of more than 1,200 programs and roughly 9,600 academics and other professionals.

The magazine also republished its list of top master of fine arts programs from 2003, which includes SIUC's School of Art and Design. The program ranked 45th in the nation, sharing the honor with Cornell University, University of California-Berkeley and New York University, among others. Those rankings were based on a 2003 survey of deans and department chairs at 213 master of fine arts programs in art and design.

Rankings from the U.S. News & World Report's 2007 "America's Best Graduate Schools" guide appear on the magazine's Web site at The issue hits newsstands April 2.