Bennington College may opt out of ranking

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(Host) Bennington College may consider opting out of the widely read US News and World Report rankings.

The school is among a growing number of colleges that say a simple ranking list does a disservice to both parents and students.

Elizabeth Coleman is President of Bennington College. She says she will strongly urge the Board of Trustees to consider not participating in the annual ranking. Coleman says the ranking process requires college presidents to rate roughly 200 other institutions on questions such as size of classes. She says often it’s difficult to really know a school well enough to rate some of the questions.

(Coleman) “Another huge question is: is this an institution that tends to put least experienced faculty with freshmen, and the most experienced faculty with primarily upperclassmen? Those are the kind of penetrating questions that, by and large, we just don’t know. Nor are we in a position to spend our time doing the kind of analysis of other institutions that it would require. So, it’s at best an honest, superficial effort, and more likely we can’t help but let prejudices of one kind or another enter in, that make it even worse.”

(Host) Bennington College is part of the Annapolis Group, an association of liberal arts colleges. At a recent meeting, a majority of the 80 college Presidents said they will not participate in the US News and World Report ranking.

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