A University at the Height of Its Powers


he University approaches the new century as a vibrant, mature
By consistently reexamining and improving programs, the University has emerged as one of the nation's leaders in higher education.
institution, flush with innovative ideas. It is committed to providing the best educational value for citizens of the Commonwealth, while serving as a beacon of knowledge to others around the world.

Although rankings and lists do not determine the full range of an institution's quality, the University's increasing prominence in a growing number of categories confirms its stature as a national university. In its September 1996 issue, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Virginia as the nation's top public institution for the third consecutive year, placing it 21st among 229 public and private national colleges and universities. The University of Virginia was one of only three public universities in the top twenty-five.

In a separate report evaluating the nation's graduate programs, U.S. News ranked the School of Law 9th, the Darden School 11th, the Curry School 17th, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science 40th. The McIntire School placed 5th in the nation in the magazine's analysis of undergraduate business schools. Business Week's annual survey of business schools placed the Darden School 5th in the nation.

The prestigious National Research Council, which evaluates 274 institutions once every decade, placed our graduate programs in English, religious studies, German, Spanish and Portuguese, and physiology among the top ten programs in their fields.

The University has achieved these recognitions even as state support per student has dropped from 28th in the nation in 1990 to 42nd in 1996.

Although state support increased slightly this year, U.S. News & World Report reported that U.Va. spent $14,142 on the education of each student, less than any other top-ranked school and far below the $37,121 average of the private universities on the list. The University ranked 62nd in faculty resources among the 229 national universities surveyed.

The University has been able to provide such exceptional educational value by continuously reexamining programs and seeking innovative ways to make the most of current revenue. On the administrative side, we have introduced electronic forms to eliminate paperwork, improved classroom occupancy rates, and are pursuing the adoption of enterprise-wide software systems to track budgeting and management decisions.

The faculty has also been extraordinarily successful in attracting research funding, securing more than $141 million, up 3 percent over last year, despite sharp cutbacks in funding from traditional sources.

LOOKING INWARD

Central to these innovations is the University's recently completed two-year self-study. The University realizes that excellence can be maintained only through a willingness to examine itself with a critical eye. This comprehensive self-study involved virtually all of the University's operations and more than 850 faculty and students. A visiting evaluation team from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) complimented the effectiveness of the self-study and pointed to areas that deserve further attention.

The team urged the University to address the institution's declining faculty salaries, so it can preserve its most important resource -- teachers and scholars of the highest quality.

The SACS team also pointed out that underfunded graduate programs can discourage the most promising prospective students and threaten our standing as a national university. The University remains committed to allocating its resources wisely while attending to those areas that are vital to educational excellence.

Number 1 Public University

In September 1996, U.S. News & World Report named the University of Virginia the best public institution in the country -- one of only three public institutions in the top twenty-five national universities. This is the third consecutive year the University of Virginia ranked number one. At the same time, Money Magazine ranked the University the nation's third best buy among public colleges and universities for residents of the state.

A critical reason for the University's success during a difficult time for higher education is the continued leadership of our Board of Visitors, pictured below with President Casteen.



Go on to The Support of Alumni and Friends

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