February 14, 2007 — College rankings are often criticized by administrators and prospective students as unscientific and nothing more than popularity contests. However, the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, now in its second year, is being touted as a much more fair way to judge institutions of higher education. The new ranking system rates faculty members’ scholarly output at nearly 7,300 doctoral programs around the country and, according to its results, the University of Utah is the state’s top school.
The recently released index, based on data from 2005, examines the number of book and journal articles published by each program’s faculty, as well as journal citations, awards, honors, and grants received. The data has been tabulated and then organized into rankings in 104 disciplines. The index is partly financed by the State University of New York at Stony Brook and produced by Academic Analytics, a for-profit company. The public can access the top ten programs in all disciples free of charge through the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Web site at www.chronicle.com/stats/productivity/page.php.
The University of Utah appears in five categories of top ten programs. No other college in Utah appears more than once. The U of U ranked 3rd in the nation in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicinal Chemistry, 7th for Special Education, 8th for Anatomy, and 9th for both Bioengineering and Educational Psychology.
The Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index ranks 7,294 individual doctoral programs in 104 disciplines at 354 institutions. It also ranks institutions in broader categories, like the humanities and biological sciences, as well as institutions as a whole.
The productivity of each named faculty member is measured, although the data are aggregated before being published. Faculty members can be judged on as many as three factors, depending on the most important variables in the given discipline: publications, which can include the number of books and journal articles published as well as citations of journal articles; federal-grant dollars awarded; and honors and awards.