Useful overview article on college rankings.

Railing against the rankings will not make them go away; competition, the need to benchmark, and indeed the inevitable logic of globalization make them a lasting part of the academic landscape of the 21st century. The challenge is to understand the nuances and the uses — and misuses — of the rankings.

Correct. It is critically important that Williams maintain and strengthen its #1 position in the US News Rankings. Suggestions for doing so? My favorites include:

1) Decreasing the number of large class sections. No class at Williams should have more than 19 students. This is a good idea pedagogically, and will help the rankings since US News penalizes colleges for having large classes.

2) Decrease the number of students. A Williams with 540 students in each class is a little too large. We are a small liberal arts college, not Dartmouth. Dropping back to 500 or so, would both improve various ratios (student-faculty, endowment-per-student) and significantly improve the quality of student life by allowing Williams to eliminate doubles.

No more lectures and singles for all who want them. Although these changes would be expensive, a Williams with them (and need-aware admissions for all applicants, not just internationals) would be better than a Williams without them (and need-blind admissions).

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