JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 12, 2011 – Union University has maintained its standing among the top 15 regional universities in the South, according to the annual rankings of colleges and universities by U.S.News & World Report released Sept. 13.
Union was tied for the 15th spot in the “Best Regional Universities – South” category, holding the same position it held last year. The position is the highest ever for Union and marks the 15th straight year for the publication to list Union among the best universities in the South.
A regional university, according to U.S.News & World Report, is one that provides a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s degree programs, while also offering a few doctoral programs. The category includes 626 universities ranked with four geographic areas – North, South, Midwest and West. Other categories the publication uses are national universities, national liberal arts colleges and regional colleges.
“We are certainly grateful for the overall strong affirmation of the Union University academic community represented in the U.S.News & World Report rankings,” Union University President David S. Dockery said. “The specific recognitions regarding Union's quality students and great teaching faculty will underscore for many the strength of Union's academic offerings. I offer my heartiest congratulations to the faculty, staff, and students of Union University.”
For the third straight year, Union ranked highly for its strong commitment to teaching. Among all regional universities in the South, Union ranked in the top five for institutions “where the faculty has an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.” Joining Union in recognition among regional universities in the South were Elon University, Rollins College, Belmont University, James Madison University and the College of Charleston.
Only 56 schools in the nation earned this description.
For the fourth straight year, the magazine ranked Union as one of the top “Up-and-Coming Schools” in the nation. Union ranked third in the South in the “Regional Universities” category of schools that “have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus, or facilities.” Only 46 schools in the nation were designated as “Up-and-Coming Schools.”
Also for the fourth straight year, Union was selected as one of 19 “A-Plus Schools for B Students” in the South. Union’s freshman retention rate of 88 percent was third highest among regional universities in the South.
Overall, other West Tennessee institutions ranked in the top tier of the “regional universities” category were Christian Brothers University (24th), Freed-Hardeman University (39th) and the University of Tennessee-Martin (49th).
Among other institutions in the Gulf South Conference (in addition to Christian Brothers) in the top tier of the “regional universities” category were the University of North Alabama (56th) Delta State University (68th), Valdosta State University (71st) and the University of West Alabama (89th).