University receives national recognition

For the ninth consecutive year, Gannon University maintained its ranking as a top tier university in the new edition of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges.

The university was ranked No. 61 of Best Colleges in the North, according to the report’s newest edition.

Additionally, the university was ranked No. 12 regionally in the Best Value Schools category.

This marks the seventh consecutive year Gannon has been named in the Best Value Schools list in the northern U.S. Other ranked schools include Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and Villanova University in Pennsylvania.

The best value category, according to the report, takes into account a school’s academic quality, and the 2011-2012 net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid.

“Being named a Best Value for the seventh year and to the top tier for the ninth consecutive year validates our exceptional commitment and sustained success in educating our students to be socially responsible, global citizens,” Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D, said in an October university press release.

In addition, Gannon was named to the guide’s list of “Best in Undergraduate Engineering.” The university was recognized as one of the top colleges and universities offering bachelors and master’s degrees in engineering.

Melanie Hatch, Ph.D, dean of the college of engineering and business, said she was very proud of the college and the recognition it received this year.

Hatch said the U.S. News and World Report rankings are seen nationally as a “stamp of quality” of academic programs.

“To be ranked in it is a very great honor,” Hatch said.

Saad Yaseen, a graduate computer science major, said he learned many skills from the faculty of the engineering department and that he was especially pleased with its faculty and the opportunities they provide him.

“I didn’t know that Gannon’s engineering program was ranked nationally,” Yaseen said. “But from my experience I say that the university is great and is worth it.”

Yong-Kyu Jung, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, said engineering students are at an advantage because they’re at a small university where a lot of faculty-student interaction takes place.

“Students adapt to faculty and faculty adapt to students,” Jung said. “It’s a win-win.

“Students don’t lose anything but gain what they need to get a job with the help of faculty.”

Raad Alkhafaja, a graduate environmental engineering major at Gannon, said he was pleasantly surprised with the university’s latest rankings.

“It makes me feel that I’ve made the right choice leaving home in Iraq and coming to Gannon,” Alkhafaja said.

The report also said that 83.3 percent of Gannon students receive need-based grants, a percent that ranks Gannon at fifth in the region in terms of giving financial aid to students.

Moreover, Gannon’s average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 79.5 percent, a percent equal to Mount St. Mary’s University, which follows Gannon in the best value category in the region  and 9 percentage points less than Fairfield University in Connecticut, which is ranked No. 11 in the Best Value regional list.

According to the report, health professions and related programs are Gannon’s most sought out majors  at a 27 percent enrollment rate. Business, management, marketing, and fitness studies follow with 11 percent. Biological and biomedical sciences come third with 7 percent and education follows at 6 percent.

Five graduate programs at the university were ranked in the newest report. Among these, the nursing-anesthesia program had the highest score as it was ranked No. 42 across the country followed by the graduate physician assistant program, which was ranked No. 54.

“I’m pleased that our continued focus on offering students the very best education at the most affordable price in the region was recognized by U.S. News & World Report,” Taylor said in an October university press release.

 

HIBA ALMASRI

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