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Appalachian remains one of region’s best universities according to U.S. News & World Report

BOONE—Appalachian State University jumped two places to the No. 10 spot in the “Best Universities-Master’s in the South” category in U.S. News & World Report’s 2008 America’s Best Colleges Guide. The university retained its fifth-place ranking among the South’s top public master-degree granting universities.

Appalachian has placed among the top 15 southern universities since the rankings first appeared in 1986.

Appalachian also is listed 14th in the South in the magazine’s “Great Schools, Great Prices” master’s-degree granting universities category, and its first-year experiences and learning communities programs are included in the “Programs to Look For” listings.

“It is gratifying that Appalachian’s continued commitment to academic excellence is once again receiving national attention,” said Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock. “The commitment of our faculty members and staff to strengthen our academic programs—from the undergraduate core curriculum to our new degree offerings—indicates Appalachian’s dedication to preparing well-trained graduates to serve the needs of the state and nation.”

The magazine gathers data from each college for up to 15 indicators of academic excellence, such as graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and student selectivity. Each factor is assigned a weight that reflects the editors’ judgment about how much a measure matters. Finally, the colleges in each category are ranked against their peers, based on their composite weighted score.

The magazine’s editors wrote that the rankings provide a starting point for students considering their college options. Other factors, such as academic offerings, location and the feel of a campus should be considered as well.

The master’s category comprises degree-granting institutions that offer a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs, but few if any doctoral programs, according to the magazine.

“This ranking and approbation we receive routinely from other national publications is a result of the commitment of everyone at Appalachian who teach, mentor, and serve our students,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Stan Aeschleman. “This commitment to our students is reflected in the continuous increase in the number of students seeking admission to Appalachian, as well as the university’s high retention and graduation rates. In addition, the recognition of our programs for first-year students is another indication of the dedication the faculty and staff have toward ensuring the academic success of students enrolling at Appalachian.”

Twenty-four schools were recognized for their learning communities programs. Appalachian and Elon University were the only N.C. schools included in this category.

Forty schools were cited for their first-year seminar programs that connect freshmen to the college experience. North Carolina schools included in the category in addition to Appalachian were Brevard College, Elon University, N.C. State University and UNC Chapel Hill.

Placing in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Universities-Master’s in the South were:

1. Rollins College

2. Elon University

3. Stetson University

4. James Madison University

5. The Citadel

6. Loyola University

7. Mercer University

8. College of Charleston

9. University of Mary Washington

10. Appalachian State University

11. Belmont University

12. Spring Hill College

13. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

14. Converse College, Murray State University and UNC Wilmington (tied)Highlights of college rankings are scheduled for publication in the magazine’s Aug. 27 issue, which will be available for newsstand purchase Aug. 20. An abridged copy of the report will be available at