Graduate programs place on ‘best’ list

Law, nursing, business among ranked progams

By Jade Mardirosian
Staff Writer

Several Baylor programs were ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

Baylor Law School was among the graduate programs ranked, moving up eight places to 56th on a list of top schools in the nation for 2012, tying with the University of Connecticut, University of Houston and University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Specialty program rankings were also included in this list, and Baylor’s trial advocacy program was ranked third.

Baylor Law School was also rated 50th in the U.S. News survey that graded programs based on surveys of recruiters and hiring partners at some of the nation’s top law firms. The ranking is based solely on the results of a fall 2010 reputation survey that asked respondents to rate the academic quality of each law school.

Brad Toben, dean of the Law School, said the school had been optimistic that it would move up in this year’s rankings. Toben said prospective students and applicants study a school’s ranking and in that regard, he said it is important for the school to be well ranked.

“This current year we had over 5,000 applications for about 165 seats and I anticipate that the demand for Baylor Law School’s seats is going to continue to be very high,” Toben said. “And the trial advocacy ranking is something that attracts many of our students.”

Toben described the trial advocacy program as exceptionally rigorous and said he believes the school is known for developing high-quality lawyers.

“The curriculum and our teaching and with all that we do, we are trying to prepare students to be professional,” Toben said. “That is something the students appreciate.”

Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business ranked 60th, tying with two other schools in the report, which rated the top 69 master’s programs in business, accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing was also ranked for its master’s degree program in nursing, which moved up eight places to 64, tying with 14 other national programs.

Dr. Mary Brucker, interim graduate program director at the School of Nursing, said the school was delighted to learn of its rankings and said she believes being on the list benefits the faculty and students of the school.

“It is a reflection of what our peer schools think of us and therefore brings us good publicity and gets our name out, so that more students recognize us and think about coming to us,” Brucker said. “I think that [these rankings] should help future enrollment because the savvy prospective grad wants to go to a school that has an excellent reputation like Baylor.”

Brucker said the school has been making many changes in recent years to improve its national reputation and standing.

“We have added our doctorate in nursing and doctorate of nursing practice degree and also the nurse midwifery program,” Brucker said. “We have new dynamic faculty with active research agendas and have simply grown in terms of number of students.”

The Louise Herrington School of Nursing is also ranked in the top 10 of faith-based schools, and top three among Protestant schools in the country.

The Baylor-U.S. Army master’s degree program in health administration also moved up in the 2012 rankings by nine places to 11th, tied with two other programs. Baylor-U.S. Army health programs are operated at the Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

U.S. News & World Report annually ranks graduate school programs in business, education, engineering, law and medicine. Rankings are based on data based on expert opinions about programs and statistical indicators that compare the value of the school’s faculty, research and students. Data is collected from surveys done in late 2010 and early 2011.