April 16, 2009
by Kerry M. King ('85)
Richard Vedder, a professor of economics at Ohio University, is developing a new ranking system for Forbes magazine. The Forbes ranking focuses more on student preferences and outcome measurements than U.S. News, he said.
He gave an impassioned defense of rankings: Colleges are in a losing battle fighting against rankings. “It’s anti-American to be anti-ranking,” he said. He admitted shortcomings with the rankings, but placed much of the blame on the colleges themselves for refusing to provide enough information. “Many college leaders are afraid that their school will be exposed,” he said.
He favors a “do-it-yourself” system where students can decide what is most important to them and then have access to that data and compare it to what other colleges offer.