The UF College of Education is now No. 21 among public education colleges after rocketing up nine spots in U.S. News and World Report’s newest ranking.
The college was previously ranked No. 30 among all graduate schools — both public and private — in the education category.
It remains the highest-ranked education school in Florida and in the Southeastern Conference.
Several of UF’s College of Education specializations remain highly ranked as well.
Special education and counselor education programs jumped to No. 5 nationwide, while elementary education — No. 16 — and curriculum and instruction — No. 18 — both remained ranked in the top 20.
UF met qualifications in overall research funding, average funding per faculty member, faculty-student ratio, student selectivity and peer assessments, among others, to attain its rating, said Tom Dana, UF College of Education assistant dean of academic affairs.
Dana said he believes the latest ranking is a reflection of a five-year effort to move forward in research funding.
The UF College of Education has put a stronger emphasis on obtaining external research grants at both the national and local levels. The college has revamped an office specifically designed for writing and submitting grant proposals and managing grants, Dana said.
“We have increased our research funding for six consecutive years,” Dana said. “That’s something we are really proud of.”
But Dana said an area that could be improved is the faculty-student ratio.
“We are already conducting searches for those faculty,” Dana said.
Stephanie Dhue, a UF graduate student studying special education, agreed the ratio could be improved.
“Having graduate students teach us is sometimes frustrating,” she said. “But our small class sizes give us a lot of opportunity for group projects and collaboration, so it works.”
Dana said he thinks UF can also improve the selectivity of doctoral students, which is based off acceptance rates and average GRE scores.
“Our selectivity is not as high as peers around us,” Dana said. “This could improve our rankings, but looking at the whole student is more important to us. We look for a diverse array of accomplishments, not just GRE scores.”
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 3/18/2014 under the headline "UF education college jumps up nine ranks"]