Friday, September 11, 2015

Local master’s programs ranked in top 10 nationwide by Washington Monthly

Story by Gail Fagan

EDINBURG, TEXAS – SEPT. 11, 2015 – For the fourth consecutive year, Washington Monthly has ranked The University of Texas-Pan American – a UTRGV legacy institution – as one of the leading master’s institutions nationwide.



In its 2015 Best Master’s Universities Rankings, released Aug. 24, UTPA ranked No. 10 out of the 673 public and private universities evaluated in this year’s rankings. (UTPA rose from a No. 19 ranking last year among 671 schools evaluated in the 2014 Best Master’s Universities Rankings.)

That push for excellence in higher education now will continue, as UTPA’s programs are part of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s curricula.
Dr. Dave Jackson, interim dean of UTRGV’s Graduate College, said the administration is pleased that Washington Monthly has recognized the university as being one of the best graduate schools in the nation.
“We strive to focus on students in the Rio Grande Valley – an area that has been traditionally underserved – by offering a wide range of graduate programs taught by some of the highest quality faculty,” he said.

UTRGV, which offers 56 master’s and 4 doctoral programs, has among its guiding principles the goal of providing graduate education of the highest quality, while being affordable, accessible and innovative, he said.

“Our students are actively encouraged to give back to their communities through a variety of community-based organizations, and are recognized for scholastic achievements, as well as contributions to the arts and the community in general,” Jackson said.

Graduate student Carlos Molina, 23, says that after getting his bachelor’s degree in mass communication in the advertising and public relations track in 2013 from UTPA, he chose to pursue his master’s degree in communication studies there because of its affordability and supportive faculty.

“I knew the great experience that I had here as an undergraduate would continue,” said Molina, who interned this summer in New York City with McCann Erickson, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies.

“The professors here are very helpful, they are willing to help you outside the classroom,” Molina said. “I also knew UTPA was going to become The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and if I stayed here I would be part of something great.” 

THE RANKING METHODOLOGY

Washington Monthly is a bimonthly magazine based in Washington, D.C., covering politics, government, culture and the media. These annual rankings are intended to measure each school’s contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students); research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and awarding doctoral degrees); and service (encouraging students to give back to their country).
Their survey includes universities’ predicted and annual graduate rates; percentage of low-income students receiving financial aid; the percentage of all students who join the Peace Corps or ROTC or engage in other community service; and the number of faculty receiving significant awards and election to national academies.

“We chuck the U.S. News-validated idea that the ‘best’ schools are the ones that spend the most money, exclude the most students, and impress a small circle of elites … we rank four-year colleges in America on three measures that would make the whole system better. If only schools would compete on them,” the editors wrote in their introduction to this year’s rankings.
Washington Monthly also described the ranked institutions as serving as “workhorse institutions of American higher education, providing affordable degrees with strong ties to regional economies.”

In their issue announcing the 2015 rankings, Washington Monthly states that the methodology used this year to rank higher-education institutions was based on the use of the three most recent years of data, instead of the most recent year of data used previously.
The only other Texas school ranking higher than UTPA was Trinity University. Valparaiso University in Indiana ranked No. 1.


To see a complete list of rankings, go to the 2015 Washington Monthly College Rankings. To learn more about the graduate programs offered at UTRGV, go the Graduate College website