By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University has jumped 10 spots higher in the annual U.S. News and World Report college rankings.
St. Ambrose is now listed 30th in Best Regional Universities in the Midwest, based on rankings released Sept. 10.
John Cooper, St. Ambrose University’s vice president for enrollment management, said the university was ranked 40th last year. “That is a significant jump.”
St. Ambrose’s overall score rose from 52 points to 60 points. Improvements in several areas raised the score, Cooper said.
Gains were seen in freshmen retention rate, average graduation rate and class sizes of 20 or fewer students. The number of incoming students with higher ACT/SAT scores also grew. Incoming freshmen who were in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class rose from 37 percent to 44 percent.
Among other strengths related to St. Ambrose’s high rankings are nationally accredited academic programs in nursing, speech-language pathology, social work, occupational therapy and physical therapy. St. Ambrose offers one of only 52 orthopedic physical therapy clinical residencies nationwide, and an assistive technology solutions house, showcasing adaptations for persons with disabilities.
“St. Ambrose’s high rankings reflect the strength of the university’s academic programs, its talented faculty and dedicated staff,” said Cooper. “In addition, we’ve focused on building state-of-the-art facilities, providing some of the best residence halls in the region, and providing thousands of service hours in the community.”
Statistics are provided by St. Ambrose to U.S. News and World Report each year on forms the magazine distributes.
Cooper said St. Ambrose performs its mission well, bringing in the right students and retaining them. “This is ultimately our goal.”
In addition, this is the ninth year in a row St. Ambrose has been selected by the Princeton Review as one of 155 institutions of higher education given a Best in the Midwest designation. Colleges named regional bests represent about 25 percent of the nation’s four-year colleges. Student opinion data, which led to the designation, referenced small class sizes and accessible and caring professors.
By Anne Marie Amacher