October 08, 2012

SIU recognized for academics, diversity, research

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Maintaining a spot in U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 public universities rankings is just the latest in a series of accolades for Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The magazine’s Best Colleges 2013 edition, released in September, again lists SIU Carbondale in Tier One of National Universities.

“Rankings are among many sources of information prospective students and families use in making the critical decision about where to go to school,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said.  “Recognition as a top 100 and Tier One university reflects the commitment of our faculty and staff to student success.”

The University’s Graduate School is among the top 90 in the nation, according to U.S. News.

SIU Carbondale also was a Top 100 public university in the 2012 rankings.

The University also earned recognition as one of the Midwest’s best from the Princeton Review in its “2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region.”  The company utilized institutional data directly from schools, prior visits, staff opinions, and recommendations from college counselors and advisers.  It also relied on students’ campus experiences through a survey.

SIU Carbondale was among the Midwestern universities selected primarily because of excellent academic programs, according to the Princeton Review.  The University earned high marks for financial aid and in the “green category,” and was recognized for admissions selectivity.

The Midwest region includes Illinois and 11 other states.

Annual rankings compiled by the magazine “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education,” list SIU Carbondale as second for the number of bachelor’s degrees in education awarded to African American students and sixth for education degrees awarded to all minority students.  The 2012 rankings list the University fourth in the transportation and materials moving category for bachelor’s degrees awarded to all minority students; fifth for degrees awarded to all minority students in health and medical administrative services; and sixth for bachelor’s degrees awarded to all minority students in engineering technologies and engineering-related fields.

In its comparison of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Traditionally White Institutions, “Diverse” ranked SIU Carbondale 56th among its Top 100 degree producers for bachelor’s degrees awarded in all disciplines to African-American students.

“We trace our commitment to diversity and inclusion to the earliest days of this University,” Cheng said.  “We are proud of that legacy, and we are constantly working to build on it.”

The University recently won U.S. Department of Education approval of a five-year continuation of its McNair Scholars program, which prepares underrepresented students to pursue graduate degrees.  This is the third round of funding the University has received since 2003, and it will allow the program to increase the number of undergraduate student participants from 26 to 28.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there were 306 applications for McNair Scholars funding.  Only 149 received grants.

McNair Scholars serves students from two populations: first-generation college students who are low income from all ethnic backgrounds, and underrepresented minorities.  Since 2003, 104 SIU McNair participants earned bachelor’s degrees, 40 program alumni earned master’s degrees, and two former students earned doctoral degrees.  Currently, 17 students are pursuing doctoral degrees and 22 are seeking their master’s degree.

Also this year, the St. Louis Business Journal ranked SIU Carbondale third among Missouri and Southern Illinois research universities based on research funding.  The publication’s list included 11 institutions, with Washington University in St. Louis first, the University of Missouri at Columbia second, and SIU Carbondale third.

Also in 2012, the SIU School of Law earned an “A minus” in the National Jurist’s annual rankings of best law schools.