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U-Md. vs. U-Va.: Bring it on!

In my article Tuesday about the resignation of University of Maryland President C.D. (Dan) Mote, I offered the observation that he had helped the school climb into the first tier of public research universities, "not far behind the University of Virginia and the University of California at Berkeley in academic pedigree."

My assessment drew this reply from a reader, whose name I will omit because I didn't ask him permission to publish it:

Not far behind Berkeley and U-Va. Right! Get a grip and show some journalistic integrity. Yes, Maryland is not as pitiful as it was (and it was really bad). But except for non-teaching research faculty who want to live in the DC metro area, it is a joke. It has always been a safety for smart kids and it still is. Saying it is almost at Berkeley or UVA level is myopic. Thirty to 40% of entering freshmen at UMD could not get get into Cal or UVA. Don't get so carried away.


So, how do the schools compare?

Here are a few stats to chew on.

1. U.S. News. On the mother of all collegiate rankings, U-Md. has gained ground, but U-Va. is already on the mountaintop. Virginia is tied for second among public universities, with UCLA, just below Berkeley. Maryland is 18th. By my count, a dozen other states have at least one public university that ranks higher than U-Md. Then again, that means 37 states do not.

2. Global rankings. On the British Times Higher Education rankings, U-Md. ranks higher (122nd) than U-Va. (128th). U-Va. rates relatively low on such measures as international staff and students, which matter in this survey.

3. Selectivity. University of Maryland admits 39 percent of freshman applicants, U-Va 32 percent, according to the most recent published data.

4. SATs. The mid-range of SAT scores at U-Va. (from the 25th percentile of the class to the 75th) is 1250 to 1430, out of a possible 1600 points, in reading and math. At U-Md., it's 1240 to 1380.

Are these schools in the same league? I'd welcome your comments.

Here, on a related topic, are some comments on Mote's exit that did not make it into yesterday's story. They are general comments on his tenure, not at all related to the slugfest above.

From John T. Casteen III, president of the University of Virginia: "We have talked often about issues that arise because the two universities are similar in programs, and because we compete both for students (many apply to both universities) and in athletics. Dan has carried his weight and more in representing the interests of research universities on Capitol Hill. He had a central role in the work that led to Congress's action to designate ARRA funds for research -- and in the process to make a direct investment in a more durable recovery than would have occurred otherwise. One result of working toward common goals has been a strong and abiding friendship grounded in respect for the work that colleagues at College Park have done."

From Linda Mabbs, a music professor at U-Md.: "Dan was a breath of fresh air when he arrived on our campus. He invited kids over to the President's house for pizza, loved to go to football, basketball games and has always been active, continually interfacing with students and faculty. I'm going to miss him a great deal."

From Darryll J. Pines, dean of the U-Md. engineering school: "President Mote has always said that great research universities must solve the problems that face society. He has stated that we must work on the great problems of our time, including energy, healthcare, the environment and security. His engineering colleagues took this literally, and they have worked hard toward the goal of being great. This can be seen in the creation of a University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC) with the participation of five colleges on campus, and in the launching of the Fischell Bioengineering Department four years ago."

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By Daniel de Vise  |  February 17, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Administration , Admissions , Publics , Rankings , Research  | Tags: U-Md, U-Va, admissions, rankings  
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Next: Colleges playing themselves -- or not


As a Maryland alum, it really doesn't matter what ranking your school is unless like you're applying to grad/bus./law school or trying to be an academic.

In academia, rankings matter. Academia acts like an insecure person and cares so much what others think of it and what their image is.

You don't find a REAL job by what school you went to (or its ranking), you find a real job by networking and interviewing.

Enough about rankings and status because in reality I could've learned what I did at U-Md. on my own by checking out books from a library and studying by myself.

Posted by: BaltimoreRepublicanExaminer | February 18, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Maryland is a fine school and has increased its stature; however, I doubt many would turn down Virginia for Maryland.

#22 Virginia $2,556,732,000
#96 Maryland $608,040,000

US News Ranking:
#24 Virginia
#53 Maryland

US News Law School Ranking:
#10 Virginia
#43 Maryland

US News Business (MBA) School Ranking:
#15 Virginia
#40 Maryland

Posted by: starbucks1 | February 18, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Also, Virginia could easily raise its standards if the General Assembly would back off, but they have a different agenda.

"The university could raise its average standardized test scores for in-coming students appreciably if it was willing to take a disproportionately large number of students from wealthy Fairfax County, "But that's not what we ought to do," he says."

Leonard W. Sandridge, U.Va.'s chief operating officer

Posted by: starbucks1 | February 18, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

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