Rankings--A Marketing Tool, Not An Educational One
Rankings are a great way to sell books and magazines, but as an educator for almost 30 years, I believe deeply that the most important aspects of an education, college or otherwise, cannot be quantified, and efforts to do so only trivialize their real value. One can generally determine if a school is good or bad—and even then programs can vary widely--but to try and declare, as our society so often demands we do, which is number one or to try and rank order schools that have distinctive institutional personalities is pure folly. Students should seek to go to the best school for them, the place that offers what they need, that is responsive to who they are and who they want to be. The numbers are about marketing, the education is about teaching and learning. Rankings may impress those on the outside, but have little impact on what goes on inside the campus gates. Yes, one can put a school name on a bumper sticker for all to see—until the time comes when it eventually peels off and fade. Meanwhile the fruits of a quality education reside in the heart and mind of the recipient--forever.