KATHERINE ROHLOFF ’19
Earlier this week, Trinity College’s US News and World Report ranking fell six positions from its spot at number 38 in 2017 to 44 for the 2018 school. This is a significant change, especially because Union College, which was tied for the 38 position last year, rose 2 ranks to 36 for the 2018 school year among other college rank upsets. Trinity College administrators argue that the rankings are not an accurate reflection of Trinity’s academic program. US News and World Report uses a variety of factors that determine a school’s ranking. Part of the formula includes faculty resources, money, the number of students in classes, selectivity and reputational ranking. However, Angel Perez, vice president of Enrollment and Student Success, isn’t worried about the drop in ranking. “It’s important for people to know that Trinity does not plan around ranking systems that are fundamentally broken,” Perez said. “Only 7% of high school counselors returned the form that US News submitted about reputation last year so the system to a certain extent is deeply flawed.”
Timothy Cresswell, Dean of Faculty and President for Academic Affairs, agreed, “It costs money to climb the rankings! That fact, in itself, points to some of the flaws in the ranking system.” As a system predominantly revolved around opinions, Perez is also asked to rank hundred other colleges that he does not have expert knowledge about. As a result, it would not be a fair evaluation that he could provide for that school which is another flaw to the system when the reputation among other colleges is weighted at 22.5% in US News’s ranking indicators. Perez believes that the drop in ranking can be contributed to faculty resources. Faculty resources include number of class size data points and faculty compensation. However, Trinity did improve its scores in reputation among Presidents, Provosts, Deans of Faculty and High School admissions counselors. “Reputation is scientific and rates of return are very low,” said Cresswell as he explained the two 22.5% weighted categories that predominantly determine a college’s reputation. “However, the reputation score is the hardest to change and it is encouraging that our reputation has improved,” said Cresswell.
However, the college will continue to look for ways to improve its educational experience for students despite what a ranking says about Trinity. “I believe our reputation should continue to improve as we have more stability in leadership and a consistent vision shared by as many people as possible,” said Cresswell. “That is what we are working on with our strategic planning – we would like our faculty to be fairly and competitively compensated and that factors into the resources equation.” Although the measure of certain factors correlates to a college’s wealth, both Perez and Cresswell are un-phased about what it says about Trinity’s educational experience. “[US News and World Report] has a deeply flawed system that parents, students and international students use in deciding colleges,” said Perez. “We are going to make decisions for Trinity that provide the best experience for students and we won’t let a magazine decide [that].”
KATHERINE ROHLOFF ’19