UF's business program rebounds in rankings


Published: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 31, 2005 at 11:20 p.m.

The University of Florida's graduate research program in the College of Medicine slid six spots in U.S. News & World Reports' annual rankings of the best graduate schools released Thursday, while UF's MBA program in the Warrington College of Business rebounded considerably from last year's dismal showing.

Richard Moyer, the senior associate dean for research development in the College of Medicine, said he has not seen the results and could not say why the college's graduate research program dropped from 40 to 46 in this year's rankings - the largest decrease of all of UF's graduate programs evaluated. The college's graduate program in primary care, however, popped into the top 50 for the first time in a tie for 48.

"These things are dynamic," Moyer said. "They go up one year and then down the next."

U.S. News & World Report rankings are something higher education administrators around the country love to hate. When the rankings are good, they often take credit for building strong programs. When the scores aren't so hot, many question the criteria U.S. News uses to assess them, which can vary depending on the program.

The biggest mover on the charts for UF was the business school's master of business administration program. When two-thirds of the graduating class couldn't immediately find jobs last summer, the program dropped 26 places into a tie for 53rd.

But by forging new partnerships in the corporate community, committing to a comprehensive recruitment effort and establishing new scholarships, the MBA program jumped 11 spots into a tie for 42nd.

Even so, salaries for those getting jobs upon graduation remain more than $40,000 less than for students with degrees from the top institutions of Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania.

"That's just the never-ending fight of being in the South," said Alex Sevilla, director of UF's MBA program.

UF's pharmacy program and criminology program, only developed last year, pulled in the highest marks. Both graduate programs came in at a tie for 11th, although the rankings were compiled solely from a survey of peer institutions.

Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, chairman of UF's department of criminology, law and society, acknowledged that a scarcity of graduate programs in criminology might have played a role in putting UF in the top tier after only one year. But he added that UF's criminology program is actively pursuing top Ph.D. candidates - and has even begun to compete against the highest ranking programs for students.

"We're good, but there aren't that many either," Lanza-Kaduce said.

The College of Education graduate program slipped one spot from 24 to 25. The College of Engineering's graduate programs moved up a notch to 25.

Graduate programs in the College of Law edged up two spots for the second year in a row landing at 41 - a trend Dean Bob Jerry attributes to a strong faculty. It's tax program is considered No. 2 in the country, second only to New York University.

"I think we are going in the right direction," Jerry said.

The magazine with a full listing of the most recent graduate rankings officially hits newsstands Monday. The magazine's Web site is www.usnews.com.

Janine Young Sikes can be reached at 337-0327 or sikesj@gvillesun.com.

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