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The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville rose one spot to 63rd among 132 public universities listed in the U.S. News & World Report rankings released Tuesday.

UA tied with Louisiana State University, Rutgers University-Newark, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Kentucky. UA ranked 133rd out of 311 "national universities" listed, tied with those schools plus Mercer University, located in Georgia, and The New School, in New York. Last year, UA ranked 135th.

The rankings at one time explicitly factored into UA's campus goals. Former Chancellor G. David Gearhart in 2012 began stating a goal for UA to become a top 50 public research university by 2021.

But there is less emphasis on national rankings under Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz, who took over in January 2016.

Steinmetz, in a statement to the Democrat-Gazette, said rankings are used by parents and students to gain insight into a school but "only tell part of the story."

"Our mission is to serve a wide range of students from a variety of financial backgrounds and high school experiences. We can't lose sight of that, or the real impact a student gains through learning, problem solving and creativity, civic leadership and service," Steinmetz said.

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The rankings, first published in 1983, are based in part on peer assessment surveys filled out by university presidents, provosts and deans of admission, according to the rankings' website. Data such as student graduation rates are among other information considered in the rankings.

Steinmetz said that while the rankings may reflect how UA is perceived by its peers, the university is focused on strategic measures of improvement.

"I am confident our rankings will rise because we are paying attention to retention, graduation rates and other measures of student success, which are where our priorities lie, and which also comprise a significant part of the rankings," Steinmetz said.

The University of the Ozarks in Clarksville ranked third among 110 schools listed in the Best Regional Colleges-South category.

Princeton University ranked first among national universities, while the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-Los Angeles tied for first among public schools.

Public university rankings for nearby schools showed Texas A&M University ranked in a tie for 25th, the University of Oklahoma ranked in a tie for 41st and the University of Missouri ranked 57th. The University of Mississippi ranked in a tie for 73rd.

In the U.S. News & World Report category of national liberal arts colleges, Hendrix College tied for 76th, down four spots from last year.

John Brown University in Siloam Springs ranked in a tie for 17th in the regional university category among Southern schools, up one spot from last year.

Other schools ranked among 149 regional universities listed were: Harding University (tied for 23rd); Arkansas State University (tied for 68th); University of Central Arkansas (72nd); Henderson State University (tied for 95th) and Arkansas Tech University (tied for 104th).

Metro on 09/13/2017

Print Headline: UA inches up in magazine's rankings

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