U.S. News & World Report places LeeU in the top 50 “Best Regional Universities” of 2018
U.S. News & World Report ranked Lee University in the top 50 “Best Regional Universities” of 2018 out of 142 ranked schools for the first time in the school’s history.
The #48 spot of colleges in the Southern region of the United States is the highest Lee has ever gotten in the online magazine's official rankings.
Vice President for Enrollment Phil Cook said he believes such achievements are influential to students and faculty.
“It’s important to be in the rankings,” Cook said. “It’s important for people to think it’s an excellent school academically. It’s important for our reputation and for our families and students.”
Sophomore digital media major Jesse Holland said he shares Cook’s opinion on the importance of the ranking to students.
“It makes me feel like the institution is more credible,” Holland said. “When I begin to apply for jobs, it’s nice to know Lee isn’t just a school potential employers will shrug off.”
Holland also said the success of the institution brings together the student body.
“I think school pride isn’t as apparent in college as it is in high school,” Holland said. “So I am glad when things like this happen, so people are more proud of where they go to school.”
Vice President for Student Development Mike Hayes said he agrees that potential students pay attention to achievements such as this.
“I think it’s a great indicator of the quality that we offer students,” Hayes said. “It’s something that has a lot more meaning to prospective students and their families.”
According to U.S. News & World Report, in the Best Colleges ranking, there are several sub-categories in which Lee just moved up.
Cook said that when Lee added the master’s programs, the university entered completely new territory.
“Lee changed to a master’s-level institution. So U.S. News changed how they characterized us,” Cook said. “We have had to work to get our name out to a new group of colleagues. The good news is we’re going up every year.”
Cook said the ranking is heavily influenced by the opinions of other schools. Therefore, entering a new category makes things a little more difficult. For Cook, this aspect gives the process more meaning in the end.
“It complements and supports what the student experience is with an external evaluator,” Cook said. “It’s not just what people say here. It’s not just alums or people in the community. It’s an external assessment that says, ‘Okay, that place is good at what they do.’”