Kudos from “The Economist”

I received an E-mail newsletter today from my alma mater, the University of Washington (UW).  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the University of Washington, based in Seattle, is considered one of the world’s top universities by British-based magazine The Economist.  In its September 8 edition, the magazine listed the university as one of the best insitutions of higher education in the world.  As The Economist is the premier English-language business and economics magazine, that is high praise indeed.  In a survey published by Jiaotong University in Shanghai, China, cited by The Economist, the UW ranks #20 in the list of top 20 universities in the world based on "academic and research performance, including Nobel prizes and articles in respected publications."  Here is the complete list of schools (ranked in order):
  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. University of California, Berkeley
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  6. Californai Institute of Technology
  7. Princeton University
  8. University of Oxford
  9. Columbia University
  10. University of Chicago
  11. Yale University
  12. Cornell University
  13. University of Californa, San Diego
  14. Tokyo University
  15. University of Pennsylvania
  16. University of California, Los Angeles
  17. University of California, San Francisco
  18. University of Wisconsin
  19. University of Michigan
  20. University of Washington

Among the top 20 schools, only Cambridge (Britain), Oxford (Britain), and Tokyo (Japan) are outside the United States.  The article, which can be found at http://www.economist.com/printedition/PrinterFriendly.cfm?Story_ID=4339960, candidly states that the U.S. system of higher education is a model for higher education and that other nations can learn from the U.S. model.  This high praise does not extend to American elementary and secondary education, unfortunately.  Still, I am proud that America’s colleges and universities are among the best in the world.  Granted, The Economist and Jiaotong University provide only one academic ranking.  There are many other university rankings, such as the one that U.S. News & World Report publishes annually (U.S. News ranked the UW #45 nationally).  I also noted that some universities I thought should be on the list are absent, most notably, McGill University and Queen’s University, both Canadian schools, and the University of Melbourne in Australia.  There are many other outstanding universities not listed in this ranking.

Nevertheless, I am very proud to have attended a great university.  Many Americans consider the East Coast to be the premier college destination, but the West Coast also has many excellent schools.  Note that seven of the top 20 schools on the list are located on the U.S. West Coast.  The UW’s secret is that its medical center, along with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, share the honor of being the preeminent medical research and healthcare universities in the United States.  Its engineering programs are also top-notch.  The UW School of Law is highly regarded, and the Business School, where I completed my MBA, is ranked #18 nationally and on the rise.  Perhaps most of all, the UW retains top academics who turn down offers move to more elite schools because they love living in the Pacific Northwest and teaching at the UW.  If you’re looking at colleges, check out the UW.  Not only is it a great school, but you can’t beat living in Seattle.

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