Jan 30, 2023 - News

UW School of Medicine joins ranking revolt

Illustration of a ball and chain replacing the tassel of a graduation cap, with the chains breaking.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The University of Washington School of Medicine and the UW School of Law will no longer participate in U.S. News & World Report's once prestigious university rankings.

Why it matters: With the pullout of both its medical school — announced last week — and law school announced late last year, UW joins a widening revolt against the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

  • The rebellion was spurred in November when the dean of Yale Law School, Heather K. Gerken, announced the end of her school's participation in the “profoundly flawed” system. Gerken said the rankings disincentivized programs supporting public-interest careers and need-based financial aid, among other things.
  • Since then, many of the nation's most prestigious law and medical schools, including those of Stanford, Harvard and Columbia, have announced their intention not to submit data for consideration in the annual ranking.
  • Last week, the law schools at Gonzaga University in Spokane and Seattle University also announced they're pulling out, ensuring that none of Washington's law schools will be part of the ratings.

What they're saying: "The U.S. News ranking process does not align with our goals of creating an inclusive learning environment and developing a diverse and culturally humble workforce," Timothy H. Dellit, interim CEO of UW Medicine said in an online statement.

What we're watching: In response to the backlash, U.S. News scrambled to revamp its criteria, saying it would give more credit to schools whose graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees or lower-waged public-service jobs and would no longer consider indicators of student debt in its rankings.

  • But those measures have not, so far, lured schools back and some observers say the relevance of such lists may be dimming.

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