U.S. News lists UMES in 'Top 25' of HBCUs

  • Tuesday, September 9, 2014

    UMES science students work with drones in some of their classes

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD- (Sept. 9, 2014) - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore moved into the "Top 25" of historically black institutions in this year's annual Best Colleges survey by "U.S. News & World Report," an improvement of six places from a year ago.

    UMES has been rated by peers in the top tier of black colleges since the survey's inception in 2007.  This year's survey lists the university 23rd along with Alabama A&M.  Morgan State and Bowie State universities, two other public HBCUs in Maryland, join UMES in the upper tier and are rated 15th and 25th respectively. 

    "I'm pleased with the survey's outcome this year," UMES President Juliette B. Bell said.  "The report reflects advancements made at the university during the 2013-14 academic year and shows how we compare with our peers."

    Among the nation's four-year black colleges, 69 out of 80 qualified for inclusion in the survey.  The publication asks the senior administrators at each institution to rate the academic quality of their peers. Peer assessment, in combination with graduation and retention rates account for a little over half of the weight. 

    The strength of the faculty, student selectivity based on test scores and high school class standing, and the institution's financial resources make up slightly less than the other half.  The same ranking indicators are used in the Best College rankings for regional universities, although weighted slightly different.

    "We are intentionally looking to strengthen the academic profile of incoming cohorts," said Dr. Anthony Jenkins, UMES' vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

    The score for peer assessment for UMES was tied with six schools, and higher than five others ahead of it in the latest survey.  UMES and six other historically black land-grant institutions, led by 5th-rated Tuskegee University, were in the top 25.

    Other indicators taken into consideration for ranking the institutions include graduation rates, full-time faculty, class size and alumni giving.  UMES' student-to-faculty ratio is 14-to-1, and more than half of the classes the university offers have fewer than 20 students.

    UMES broke ground a year ago on a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics building and plays host next month to a national education and science forum co-sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center.

    Also a year ago, the university's physician assistant program transitioned from the bachelor's level to the master's level.  Undergraduates at UMES can select from 38 degree programs, while graduate students can choose from among 13 master's and seven doctoral programs.  There is also increased emphasis on developing online degree programs to broaden accessibility to educational opportunities.

    U.S News describes HBCUs as "an appealing option for applicants of all races."  Two-thirds of UMES' student body was African-American during the latest survey period, according to the university's institutional research office.

    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations,410-651-7580.