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Shepherd gets good marks in college ratings

August 24, 2009

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Shepherd University was named the top-ranked West Virginia public baccalaureate institution for the second year, earning the 40th spot among Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the South in the 2010 edition of America's Best Colleges, published by U.S. News Media Group.

Shepherd's peer assessment score increased this year to 3.1, up from 3.0 in 2008 and 2.9 in 2007. This assessment, which accounts for 25 percent of the U.S. News ranking score, consists of the opinions of presidents, provosts, and deans of admissions about peer schools' academic programs. Other criteria used in the rankings include graduation and retention rates (25 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (15 percent), financial resources (10 percent), and alumni giving rates (5 percent).

"We are pleased to see how our reputation is growing," Shepherd University President Suzanne Shipley said in a news release.

"This has been a banner year for Shepherd. We were accepted into the prestigious 26-member Council of Public Liberal Arts College (COPLAC) in June and recognized by the Princeton Review as a Best College in the Southeast for the fifth year in a row in July," Shipley said in the release.

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"Our academic recognition is increasing due to successful efforts by Shepherd's faculty and staff," she said.

U.S. News, which has published the rankings for 26 years, groups schools based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. There are 319 colleges and universities in the Best Baccalaureate Colleges category which is divided into four geographic regions with the south category representing the largest number of schools with 96. Baccalaureate colleges are defined by U.S. News as institutions which focus on undergraduate education and offer a range of degree programs in the liberal arts, which account for fewer than half of their bachelor's degrees, and in professional fields such as business, nursing, and education.

The rankings are available in the September issue of the U.S. News and World Report magazine.

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