Clarkson Explains Why They Said No

The university's president says the rankings help schools evaluate their performance.

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The headline says it all: "Boycotting Rankings Is Not the Answer." In his editorial published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Anthony G. Collins, president of Clarkson University, says he was asked by another college president whether he was going to join the boycott of the peer assessment survey that is part of the annual U.S. News America's Best Colleges rankings, in particular because U.S. News put his school on our list of "A+ Schools for B Students". Collins answered he wasn't joining the boycott because it would be inconsistent with the mission of Clarkson for him to be against the rankings.

Collins's reasoning for being against the boycott in essence should apply to almost all of America's institutions of higher education. Collins says in the article that:

"[C]olleges must help ensure America's future as a competitive nation. Therefore, it makes no sense for us not to let our institutions also be measured and compared. If we accept and teach such premises at Clarkson, then we must be willing to be competitive ourselves and respond to our marketplace. Like the corporations that hire our students, we must be willing to be evaluated against others. Rankings and productivity measures can actually help administrators and trustees benchmark certain common components of a university education. The 15 indicators of excellence used by U.S. News are, in fact, among the metrics that Clarkson and many other institutions use to measure and compare their own progress."

Collins does criticize U.S. News when he says "I think the success of Clarkson alumni and the commercialization of research from our labs are stronger indicators of the quality of my institution than our ranking of No. 124 among national universities reflects, and I don't always agree with how U.S. News's indices are weighted."