Last Modified: Friday, September 13, 2013 1:38 PM
For the second consecutive year, McNeese State University is ranked in Tier One in the Best Regional Universities-South category in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”
McNeese was one of only two Louisiana public universities in the top-tier ranking of the annual publication, which was released Tuesday.
McNeese was also ranked in the top 50 among the top public schools in the Southern region.
The rankings for the 621 public and private regional universities are based on information collected from several sources and weigh a number of factors, including acceptance rates, retention and graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, alumni giving and a peer assessment score.
“McNeese has received a lot of national attention lately, and I cannot think of a better way to launch our 2014 yearlong 75th anniversary celebration,” said McNeese President Philip Williams.
Candace Townsend, McNeese’s public information and communications director, said the recognition is important because the publication is “widely sought by parents and prospective students.” She said McNeese is in a category of universities that offer a wide range of undergraduate degrees and a limited number of master’s degrees.
“They are looking at colleges nationwide,” she said. “To be listed gives us visibility that is very hard to attain on a national level. We are listed with our colleagues and our competitors.”
Williams said the spring announcement that Adam Johnson, a 1996 graduate of the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program who won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, may have contributed to the MFA program moving up to No. 22 nationally. It has been nationally ranked among the top 25 programs in the nation for two years.
“McNeese is also recognized nationally as one of the top public institutions for offering affordable tuition and high average salary earnings for its graduates,” Williams said.
He said McNeese is one of two universities in the nation offering courses in the Innovation Engineering Management System, which teaches students in all majors how to be flexible and adapt to changing business environments.
The recently opened SEED Center is home to the university’s student business and idea incubator and high-tech interactive Innovation Lab.
According to Williams, with the relocation of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance to the SEED Center, McNeese may be the only university in the country with a regional chamber of commerce on its campus.
Townsend said the SEED Center will provide more internship opportunities for students and could likely gain the attention of major industrial companies that are planning projects in Southwest Louisiana.
Staff Writer John Guidroz contributed to this report.