Sound Bites: New Rankings Yield Impressive Talking Points for Longwood

So you’re hanging out with some friends whose children also are in college, and the conversation winds its way around to a comparison of the universities your sons and daughters are attending.

Here are some new talking points about Longwood you can have ready to drop into that conversation, just out from U.S. News & World Report and RNCareers.org.

In the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings:
*Longwood ranks No. 6 among the Best Public Universities, South Region, moving up two spots from last year. This continues a steady climb from Longwood’s No. 12 spot in 2013.
*In the South, Longwood is recognized as the “Best Value” among Virginia public universities.
*Longwood ranks No. 13 in Best Universities, South Region (a list including all public and private institutions)—up from No. 25 last year.
*Longwood is included in the ranking of Best Undergraduate Teaching, South Region.

In the national ranking of nursing programs by RNCareers.org:
*Longwood ranks No. 1 in Virginia and among the best in the country. This achievement is thanks to Longwood’s 100 percent licensure pass rate for the last three years—an accomplishment few other schools in the country can claim.

Longwood’s nursing simulation lab gives students practical experience in a controlled setting. Longwood’s nursing program was named the top program in Virginia and among the best in the nation by RNCareers.org.

Here’s how Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley puts the rankings into context:

“Rankings can fluctuate year to year, and they aren’t the focus of our goals at Longwood. But when an institution rises over time, it’s because of a rise in underlying numbers that do matter. Those include survey results on how others view our academic reputation, our success in helping students graduate and continuing to add full-time faculty to keep classes small at a time when most institutions are doing the opposite. All those things count in the formula but they aren’t just numbers—they shape the college experiences and lives of our students.

“I’m especially proud to see the excellent value of a Longwood education recognized,” Reveley said. “We know that our work in recent years to have among the very lowest annual tuition increases in the state—including a freeze this year—makes a real difference to students and families.”

Among the factors that account for Longwood’s sustained rise in the rankings: a graduation rate that exceeds expectations and a strong freshman retention rate—the number of students who return for their sophomore year. Both were points of emphasis in Longwood’s 2015 Strategic Plan.

Also, Longwood continues to invest heavily in full-time, tenure-track faculty— offering students smaller classes taught by professors who are making their career at the institution. Since 2012, Longwood’s ranks of tenured and tenure-track faculty have increased by 43 faculty members, amounting to growth of 25 percent.

That comes as universities across the country have scaled back full-time faculty hiring, relying more on adjuncts, graduate assistants and part-time staff to teach classes. Longwood has capped Civitae core curriculum classes—the general education requirements that make up the foundations of citizen leadership—at 25 students, a far cry from the 100+-seat lecture halls that are common on college campuses.

In its rise in the rankings, Longwood has moved ahead of several well-respected institutions, including the Converse College and University of Mary Washington. On the list of regional public universities in the South, the top three Virginia schools included are James Madison, Christopher Newport and Longwood.

The Best Value ranking system compares overall ranking with total cost, factoring in the amount of need-based aid and the average discount given. Longwood is the only public university ranked in that category this year.

So you can be proud of the university your child selected (with help from you, of course), and you can feel confident that the investment you’re making in your child’s education is a good value.

—Sabrina Brown

 

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