Grad school improvements make for a robust UT

3/24/2017

By definition, a great research university has great graduate programs.

The University of Tennessee Knoxville has aspirations of becoming a top 25 public research university, and recent gains in graduate school rankings indicate it is making progress as a new chancellor takes charge.

According to annual rankings by U.S. News & World Report, UT graduate programs in business, law, engineering, information sciences, nursing and education are among the best in the country.

The university’s improving position relative to its peer institutions should help attract better students, and a rising reputation should make UT a more attractive destination for top-flight researchers.

Because UT has such a profound effect on the quality of life in the state, all Tennesseans should cheer this academic progress.

Three graduate programs made significant leaps in the past year.

The Haslam College of Business graduate program moved up five spots among public universities to 29th place. The College of Law also moved up five spots, to No. 31. The Tickle College of Engineering graduate program moved up from 36th to 33rd among public universities.

The College of Nursing graduate program ranks 30th among all public universities and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences graduate program ranks 47th among all public universities.

U.S. News ranks some programs annually and others on varying year-to-year cycles. The School of Art’s graduate printmaking program is second in the nation and its Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is 15th among all public universities.

Those rankings reflect UT’s standing among public universities only. Three graduate concentrations are among the nation’s elite, which includes both public universities and private institutions such as Vanderbilt, Stanford and Duke Universities, as well as the Ivy League schools.

Among both private and public universities, UT’s nuclear engineering program ranks seventh, the Supply chain management concentration ranks eighth and the School of Information Sciences in the College of Communications and Information ranks 17th.

“Having strong graduate programs is key to our success as a top research university,” Chancellor Beverly Davenport said in a statement. “We provide students, across all disciplines, an opportunity to participate in research alongside some of the country’s most recognized faculty who are addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges.”

Faculty and students deserve the lion’s share of the credit for improving academic performance. Leadership, however, also has played a vital role.

Davenport’s predecessor, Jimmy Cheek, should receive the thanks of the university and its supporters for laying a solid foundation capable of upholding a top 25 public research university. Davenport’s duty is to build on that success.

In recent years UT has poured resources into faculty and facilities. That investment should pay off in a highly skilled next generation of researchers, scholars, artists, medical practitioners, legal minds and business leaders.

Graduate programs provide the muscle for a robust research university, and a stronger UT makes for a stronger state of Tennessee.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org

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