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U.S. News lists UMES in top tier of black colleges

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    Chef Whittingham and studentsPRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Sept. 10, 2013) - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is again rated in the top tier of America's historically black institutions by "U.S. News & World Report" for the seventh consecutive year. 

    The 2013 survey released today lists UMES 29th along with Norfolk (Va.) State, Alcorn State in Mississippi and Philander Smith College in Arkansas. UMES was ranked 33rd a year ago. 

    "I am delighted that we continue to be ranked among the top HBCUs in the country," UMES President Juliette B. Bell said. "This survey gives UMES a snapshot of where we stand among our peers and where we would like this university to go." 

    UMES is joined in the upper tier again this year by Morgan State and Bowie State universities, two public HBCUs in Maryland rated 18th and 25th respectively. UMES' "peer assessment" score was better than four institutions ahead of it in the latest survey, which also takes into account such factors as graduation rates, full-time faculty, class size and alumni giving. 

    Since the 2013 survey was conducted, UMES received notice its undergraduate engineering and doctorate in pharmacy programs earned accreditation credentials signifying the university is preparing qualified graduates for their professional fields. UMES now has 28 accredited academic programs, a number that has grown exponentially from just a handful a decade ago. 

    UMES awarded 724 degrees during the 2012-13 academic year, including 30 doctorates in the largest class to graduate from its physical therapy program. 

    Bell, who became UMES president in July 2012, said the annual U.S. News survey can be a motivational tool to inspire everyone at the university to work toward the pursuit of "eminence," the watchword of her presidency. 

    "We've made important strides in that direction in my first year as president," she said. "We acknowledge there is still plenty of work to do. UMES is capable of achieving our goals. I know our university is committed to doing so." 

    U.S. News continues to describe the nation's historically black colleges as an appealing post-secondary school option for students of all races.  UMES' student body consistently is comprised of about 75 percent African-Americans.  The publication asks presidents, provosts and admissions deans at each of this year's 70 HBCUs listed in the rankings to rate the academic quality of their peers. 

    Peer assessment accounts for 25 percent of the equation with equal weight given to graduation and retention rates.  The strength of the faculty, student selectivity - high school class standing and test scores - and the institution's financial resources make up the other half.  The same formula is used in the "Best College" rankings for regional universities. 

    Undergraduates at UMES have 35 degrees to select from, while graduate students can choose from among 12 master's degrees and seven doctoral programs.  UMES' student-to-faculty ratio is 16-to-1, and more than half of the university's classes have fewer than 20 students.