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UW-Madison School of Education shines in latest U.S. News ‘Best Graduate Schools’ rankings

March 19, 2018

Several programs within UW-Madison’s School of Education are once again ranked among the very best in the nation in the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Education Graduate Schools” report.

The latest ratings compiled by U.S. News reveal that the School is home to three No. 1-ranked programs in the “education specialties” of Curriculum/Instruction, Educational Psychology and Administration/Supervision. In addition, the School of Education is home to eight different graduate programs that are ranked among the Top 10 in the nation: Counseling/Personnel Services (No. 3); Education Policy (No. 3); Elementary Education (No. 4); Secondary Education (No. 6); and Special Education (No. 10).

Moreover, in U.S. News’ 2019 Best Education Graduate Schools ratings released late Monday night, the UW-Madison School of Education is ranked No. 2 overall. According to this index, the University of California-Los Angeles is No. 1, with UW-Madison and Harvard University tied for second. Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania are tied for fourth.

School's rankings according to U.S. NewsThis marks the 19th time in the past 20 years that UW-Madison, which was tied for No. 3 last year, has maintained a top-10 ranking among all schools of education. UW-Madison is the only Big Ten Conference institution to crack the top 10 in the U.S. News rankings each year since 2010.

“It is fabulous to again be recognized as one of the leading schools of education in the United States,” says UW-Madison School of Education Dean Diana Hess, the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education. “Our excellence is rooted in our very talented, committed and accomplished faculty and staff, outstanding students, engaged alumni and backing from leadership across UW-Madison that provides us the support to do our best work.”

In U.S. News’ education specialty ratings, UW-Madison’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction has been home to the No. 1-ranked Curriculum/Instruction program every year since 2001.

Professor John Rudolph, who chairs the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, says the program’s consistently high ranking is due, in large part, to dedicated faculty members with a long tradition of intellectual creativity that’s made possible due to ongoing institutional support.

“This recognition says a lot about the sustained, high-quality work that goes on in the department,” says Rudolph. “More importantly, it suggests that there’s something unique about UW-Madison, the School of Education, the city of Madison and the state as places that cultivate and support excellence and engaged scholarship. Even as the faculty changes over the years, the department continues to thrive as a result.”

In U.S. News’ Educational Psychology rankings, UW-Madison has now housed the top-ranked program seven times in the past eight years.

Professor Bradford Brown, who chairs the Department of Educational Psychology, explains that this reputation is built on the faculty's skill in conducting sophisticated and meaningful research –- inquiry that has strong theoretical foundations, advanced research designs and practical implications for educational practice.

Education Building
The UW-Madison School of Education has been ranked
among the top 10 schools of education in 19 of the past 20
years, according to U.S. News and World Report's annual
graduate schools rankings.
“We are grateful for and humbled by this recognition,” Brown says of the U.S. News ranking. “The rich intellectual environment and the presence of outstanding colleagues throughout the university inspire Department of Educational Psychology faculty members to tackle the most important educational issues of our day.”

Brown notes that faculty members are involved in a diverse range of research on critical issues in education, including: studies of bullying; the fundamentals of math learning; use of technology to assist in learning and instruction; programs to inspire early reading; elements of successful family-school partnerships in rural areas; instruction for youths with autism; and the adjustment of ethnic minority students to predominantly white college environments. In addition, faculty members are assisted by colleagues who are world renowned for their innovations in test design and quantitative measurement, enhancing the sophistication of the research the department conducts.

U.S. News also ranked UW-Madison’s program in Administration/Supervision, which is housed within the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, No. 1.

“We are thrilled with this recognition of the important work our students, faculty and alumni do,” says Professor Julie Mead, the School’s associate dean for education and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA).

Mead explains that leadership, and the specialty area of Administration/Supervision, is an important aspect of school success. Students and ELPA faculty members, Mead notes, are known for producing high-quality work that examines leadership from a variety of perspectives.

“We have faculty well known for their research on school leadership, organizational theory, education law, school finance, policy, teacher workforce, race, homelessness, and equity -– all with a common goal of working with leaders in the field to construct more equitable schools for all students,” says Mead.

To calculate its overall 2019 Best Graduate School rankings, U.S. News explains that it sent surveys to 385 institutions granting doctoral degrees, with 267 providing data the publication used to calculate rankings based on a series of measures. Some of these measures include: quality assessments based on surveys filled out by education school deans and deans of graduate studies; student selectivity measures, such as GRE scores and acceptance rates; faculty resource measures; and research activity. Ratings of programs were also provided by K-12 superintendents, people who hire graduates and other education experts. (View details about U.S. News' methodology.)

Dean Diana Hess
“I am often asked what the U.S. News rankings actually mean,” says Hess. “It’s important to understand that our peers in other schools of education across the United States rank us, as we do them, on a range of factors. But it’s also relevant to note how education leaders outside of universities are asked to weigh in on which schools of education in the nation are of exceptional quality. Although we recognize these rankings are just one measure among many, we are honored to be recognized as one of the leading schools of education in the country for graduate education.”

U.S. News explains that the program specialty rankings are “based solely on nominations by education school deans and education school deans of graduate studies from the list of schools surveyed.” Those participating could select up to 10 top programs in each area.

Not all graduate programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report each year.

For example, the School of Education’s Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education remains No. 1 in Rehabilitation Counseling, while the School’s Art Department is still home to the top-ranked printmaking program (as voted on by deans and department chairs in the fine arts). But those marks are from past years, as U.S. News did not re-rank those specialty programs this year.

Similarly, in other specialty programs that were not re-ranked by U.S. News this year, the School of Education remains home to the No. 14 Occupational Therapy program (as voted on by program directors and faculty in health disciplines) and the No. 15 Fine Arts program (as voted on by deans and department chairs in the fine arts).

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