What Does America Need From Its Universities?
The Washington Monthly comes with three central criteria for ranking American Universities: "Universities should be engines of social mobility, they should produce the academic minds and scientific research that advance knowledge and drive economic growth, and they should inculcate and encourage an ethic of service."
"...Perhaps the most striking data, however, is found in national service. Our measures here were simple: whether a school devotes a significant part of its federal work study funding to placing students in community service jobs (as the original work study law intended); the percentage of students enrolled in ROTC; and the percentage of graduates currently enrolled in the Peace Corps. All schools, large and small, are capable of excelling in these areas. In fact, we found that while some very small and nationally unknown schools have made an aggressive commitment to national service, most of the highest ranking U.S. News schools have not. The University of Portland, for example, finishes third in national service while Harvard lingers down at #75. Harvard obviously has far more resources than the University of Portland, and there's no question that it could match Portland's remarkable performance on service, if it chose to make a similar commitment to emphasizing that value among its students. But, at least by the criteria we set, it has not."
Thanks to Alternet