From Dartblog comes word that Dartmouth College is ranked tied for ninth in the new U.S. News & World Report rankings. In the last rankings, according to Dartblog, Dartmouth was rated eleventh. I’m not sure what accounts for this very small boost. Maybe we ran up the score against Skidmore.
Dartmouth is tied with Duke and the University of Chicago. I don’t know many recent Duke students, but I know several from Chicago and plenty from Dartmouth. My strong impression is that you get a more serious and rigorous education at Chicago, but have more fun at Dartmouth.
I don’t think U.S. News’ ratings score colleges for seriousness and rigor. They do score for academic quality and, as I understand it, this score is based in part on what selected faculty members from “peer” colleges think about the school.
For this reason, I’ve long believed that the best evidence of progress at Dartmouth would be a lower ranking from U.S. News. For example, if Dartmouth’s English department were to buck the trend and focus more rigorously on literature rather than on race, gender, class, and sexuality, professors at peer colleges would probably think less of Dartmouth and its ranking would suffer. And that would almost certainly be the case if Dartmouth were to show real seriousness of purpose and get rid of some of the race, gender, class, and sexuality mongers.
But in this scenario, the quality of the English department would be enhanced. And students who love literature, but don’t like having charlatans and ideologues teach it, would no longer be deterred from taking certain English courses.
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