Pitt Ranks Highly in Washington Monthly

Issue Date: 
September 14, 2009

Billing itself as “A Different Kind of College Ranking,” Washington Monthly’s College Guide has listed Pitt among the top 25 U.S. public universities and among the top 50 of all U.S. universities, public and private, in its 2009 national university ranking, which, according to the ranking’s preamble, “rates schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).”

Pitt’s ranking—24th among public universities and 43rd among all U.S. universities, with the same overall score as Dartmouth, USC, and Columbia— places it ahead of numerous other fine Association of American Universities peer institutions, among them Arizona, Brandeis, Carnegie Mellon, Colorado, Emory, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, NYU, Penn, Purdue, Rice, Rochester, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tulane, and Washington University in St. Louis.

In an introductory essay, the ranking’s editors write that its aim is to provide “a measure of not just what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. … In our eyes, America’s best colleges are those that work hardest to help economically disadvantaged students earn the credentials that the job market demands. They’re the institutions that contribute new scientific discoveries and highly trained PhDs. They’re the colleges that emphasize the obligations students have to serve their communities and the nation at large. … By giving credit where it’s due to colleges that are truly fulfilling their public obligations, we hope to make life a little easier for college leaders who are trying to do the right thing—and to give elected officials reasons to reward those deserving campuses with more public funding and support.”