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NIU up 12 spots in latest ‘Best Colleges’ list

September 10, 2013

USNewsBest CollegesNorthern Illinois University advanced 12 places to No. 177 among “Best National Universities” and moved into the top 100 among national public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges list released Sept. 10.

NIU ranks 98th among public institutions within the national universities category, which consists of 281 American universities which offer a full range of undergraduate majors, master’s and Ph.D. programs, and are “committed to producing groundbreaking research.”

NIU offers baccalaureate, graduate, and professional degrees in 39 academic departments or schools housed in seven degree-granting colleges. It offers 63 undergraduate majors with 73 emphases, 69 minors and 10 pre-professional programs to complement 100 areas of graduate and professional study that include 56 master’s degree programs, 21 doctoral programs, a Juris Doctor program plus several professional certifications.

Douglas D. Baker

Douglas D. Baker

“The numbers bear out that the university is continuing to improve in the benchmark areas U.S. News identifies as important measures of our ability to educate our students. But these numbers only provide a snapshot of our university,” says NIU President Doug Baker. “The NIU experience—the focus on research, engaged learning, student success—is what sets us apart. Students at NIU learn by doing.”

NIU’s academic experience is enriched by opportunities for research, study abroad, themed learning communities, internships and on-campus programs and activities that include Greek life and the University Honors Program.

The strength of NIU’s individual programs are reflected in the rankings. NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology earned high marks at No. 45 on the ‘Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs’ list, up from 69th in the 2013 rankings. The NIU College of Business also made the list of ‘Best Undergraduate Business Programs,” improving 47 places from 166 to 119.

Ray Alden

Ray Alden

Raymond Alden, executive vice president and provost, notes, “The rankings affirm the excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and artistry we are known for at NIU, and it is gratifying to receive recognition from high school counselors and peer institutions in this regard.”

U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on academic quality and excellence, and NIU improved in nearly every factor affecting its rank. These include an undergraduate academic reputation index that is guided by information from high school counselors as well as college and university presidents, provosts and deans. Other factors where NIU improved include faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving.

“We will continue to work on improving the NIU student experience with the ultimate goal of preparing our students for career success as our top priority,” Baker states. “NIU plays an important role in educating the workforce of the state and region, and we will continue to provide a world-class education that prepares our students to be good leaders and citizens.”