Cal edges out Stanford in college ranking

Washington Monthly list measures 'how a school benefits the country'

Cal beat Stanford -- though not by much -- in a new set of rankings aiming to compete with those of U.S. News & World Report.

Since 2005, The Washington Monthly has issued rankings based on its measures of "how much a school is benefiting the country."

The Monthly's 2011 list scrambles U.S. News traditions, with Yale University at 39, Dartmouth College at 74 and Washington University in St. Louis at 112.

Stanford comes in fourth, after University of California's campuses at San Diego, Los Angeles and Berkeley.

In the U.S. News & World Report's 2012 rankings, Stanford places fifth along with Caltech, MIT, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania.

The Monthly's list attempts to quantify how well a school performs as "an engine of social mobility," how well it does in fostering scientific and humanistic research and how well it promotes an ethic of service to the country.

It measures factors like percentage of students receiving federal, need-based Pell Grants, the number of science and engineering PhDs awarded and the number of students or graduates participating in ROTC and the Peace Corps.

Trailing Stanford in the Monthly's top 10 are UC Riverside, Harvard University, Case Western Reserve University, UC Davis, Jackson State University and the University of Michigan.

"Conventional rankings ... are designed to show what colleges can do for you," the Monthly editors wrote in the magazine's September/October issue.

"Since 2005, our rankings have posed a different question: What are colleges doing for the country?

"We all benefit when colleges produce groundbreaking research that drives economic growth, when they offer students from low-income families the path to a better life, and when they shape the character of future leaders. And we all pay for it, through hundreds of billions of dollars in public subsidies. Everyone has a stake in how that money is spent."

Judged according to similar criteria, liberal arts colleges making the Monthly's top 10 list were Berea College (Ky.); Morehouse College (Ga.); Bryn Mawr College (Pa.); Spelman College (Ga.); Swarthmore College (Pa.); Macalester College (Minn.); Amherst College (Mass.); Pomona College (Calif.); Harvey Mudd College (Calif.) and Carlton College (Minn.).

Chris Kenrick

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Like this comment
Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 14, 2011 at 9:26 am

WHO CARES. Are you going to cover every silly ranking? just decided that Harvard should be ranked no. 404 in the country. We must write about it!

Like this comment
Posted by CalRules
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

The top 5 schools "benefiting the country" are all in California. I think this is something for Californians to be proud of.

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

Most are chattering about the 2012 US News & WR rankings which I guess just came out...

Like this comment
Posted by Milan Moravec
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm

I love University of California (UC) having been a student and lecturer. But today I am concerned that at times I do not recognize the UC I love. Like so many Alumni, Donors, Legislators, and Californians I am deeply disappointed by the pervasive failures of UC senior management and regents.
Californians suffers from 19% unemployment (includes those working part time, and those no longer searching), mortgage defaults, loss of unemployment benefits. And those who still have jobs are working longer for less. Chancellor/Faculty wages must reflect California's ability to pay, not what others are paid.
UC Berkeley (Cal) planned pay raises for generously paid Faculty is arrogance. UC Berkeley (ranked # 70 Forbes) tuition increases exceed national average rate of increase. Chancellor Birgeneau’s leadership molded Cal into the most expensive public university in the USA.
Can we do better with a spirit of shared sacrifices by Faculty, Provosts, and Chancellors?
(17,000 earn more than $100,000)
No furloughs.
18 percent decrease UCOP salaries, $50 million budget cut.
18 percent prune chancellors' salaries.
15 percent trim tenured faculty salaries, increase teaching.
10 percent non-tenured faculty pay decrease, increase research, teaching.
100% elimination of Academic Senate, Academic Council budgets.

There is no question the necessary realignments with reality will be painful.

UC Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing can bridge the public trust gap with reassurances salaries reflect depressed California wages. With UC’s shared financial sacrifices, the sky above UC will not fall.

Yours is the voice that can make the difference, email UC Board of Regents

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