Thursday, July 31, 2008

University of Kentucky drops in national ranking

The University of Kentucky dropped in U. S. News and World Report's national college rankings from 112th in 2007 to 122nd in the 2008 rankings and was near the bottom of top-tier schools in the percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students. This is one more indication that President Lee Todd and those running the university may not have their priorities in order.

When UK was challenged on its attempt to implement health benefits for the live-in partners of its staff last year, the university defended itself by saying that it needed such a program to pursue top-20 status, prompting The Family Foundation to point out other, more important factors such as class size and lagging faculty salaries that were being ignored in favor of special interest social policy.

Looks like UK needs to figure out whether it is there to serve students who have to foot rising tuition bills or whether it is going to continue dabbling in special interest politics through its employee benefits policies and its increasing emphasis on social and political activism in some of its departments. If it started putting first things first maybe it would begin rising in the rankings instead of falling.

The U. S. News and World Report College Rankings are the most well-known college rankings.

UPDATE: This information came across my Google Reader and I assumed it was new. In fact, thanks to a little sleuthing on the part of Art Jester at the Herald-Leader, we determined that the content is entirely accurate, but the report was originally issued in August of 2007. In fact, the 2009 rankings are going to be released this month.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Martin. Do you have any figures to defend your implication that if UK didn't provide domestic partner benefits it could afford to keep class sizes low and give the faculty bigger raises? I doubt the benefit is that expensive. I think the problem has more to do with the Senate's determination-under David Williams' leadership-that cheap smokes is Kentucky's #1 priority.

Anonymous said...

1) #1 (2008) Princeton offers same sex health benefits (*).

2) In 2001 "[a]t least 59 of the US News and World Report top 50 universities and top 50 liberal arts colleges offer the benefits"(**).

I've never been to Kentucky (although two of our more popular professors are from there), but I am at a top 10 school. I suspect the poor ranking of UK is more likely attributable to a local culture in which Mr Cothran, with his pro-authoritarian-pronouncement and anti-science outlook, can be considered an intellectual luminary.



Anonymous said...


Martin Cothran said...


Is Princeton #1 because they have health benefits for live-in partners? UK's argument was that this would help them gain Top 20 status. That was what I was arguing against. Do you agree with UK's argument? If you do, maybe you could point me to any ranking that takes domestic partner benefits into account in its ratings.

Anonymous said...

No, providing live-in health benefits is not the sole reason Princeton is number 1.

Do you disagree with live-in health benefits primarily because you think there are better ways to spend that amount of money to improve UK or because you disapprove of live-in and homosexual partners?

Perhaps a better way to improve UK would be to spend less on athletics and more on scholastics (a much larger sum of money involved here)?