By: Bryant Lopez, Follow South Jersey Intern
GLASSBORO, N.J. — Rowan University jumped up 30 places overall to 163 from 193 the previous year in the U.S. News & World Report national college rankings. The ranking had Rowan making several jumps in multiple categories. The ranking was released on Sept. 18.
Rowan made an 11-spot change to 88 from 99 last year in Top Public Schools in the country. In the category of Best Value Schools, Rowan went to 104 from 122. In Best Colleges for Veterans, Rowan moved 18 spots to 113 from 131. Rowan’s biggest jump came in Social Mobility with a 116 spot change, to 91 from 201.
Social Mobility gauges how well a college or university provides affordable education to students from lower-income families and helps them secure well-paying jobs after graduation.
The U.S. News editors noted that for the report, around 1,500 colleges and universities were reviewed. The U.S. News altered its method of how it ranks by eliminating five established criteria and giving more prominence to factors such as student graduation, social mobility and peer assessment.
“So there’s not, there’s not one thing to say, ‘Hey, we did this.’ And look, there was this big jump because we did this one thing,” said Joe Cardona, Vice President for University Relations and University spokesperson.
Cordona states that it is nice to be acknowledged but that at the end of the day, Rowan is trying to do what is best for their students.
“So we focus on things that help students graduate, help them get them careers,” said Cordona. “And if you continue to do that and mark yourself against others and are flexible and creative and committed to projects, long-term initiatives, then you get recognized at the end for things that you’re doing well.”
One of the things that Cardona believes makes Rowan stand out is the high-quality programs that are affordable prices. This is what made Rowan, Brianna Reagan’s top choice in her senior year as this is her first year that she had to take out a loan.
“Rowan was my first pick because I have a fair understanding of finances, not only when it comes to society, but when it comes to my family,” said Reagan “I understood the debt that I could be in that either myself or my family would be able to take care of after I got my college education. And thank god that only this year was the first year that I’d had to take out a loan.”
Reagan is a senior majoring in journalism broadcast at Rowan University and the Student Government Association (SGA) President. Reagan loves what Rowan is investing in when it comes to their infrastructure such as Rowan recently announced that they will be building a veterinarian school, the first school for veterinarians in New Jersey. But Reagan feels that students and community are a big factor in the jump in the rankings.
“It makes me feel really good that they’re expanding architecturally, but it also makes me feel like there’s a lot of work that needs to happen on the inside with the students so that we can continue to help people understand that being at Rowan should not only be the buildings, but it should be the culture,” said Reagan.
Cordona states that the jump in the rankings isn’t just good for the school but also for the community. Cordona sees a ripple effect across the entire region as Rowan’s reputation grows, attracts more people, and attracts more businesses.
“So there’s this ripple effect as you grow as a university, as your reputation grows, you attract more companies that wanna partner with you, you attract more people that wanna invest in the communities around you,” said Cardona. “And that has this tremendous ripple effect across the region and the entire economy of the state.”
Lakshman Kalasapudi is a fourth-year medical student attending Cooper Medical School at Rowan University. Kalasapudi is an adjunct professor of anthropology at Rowan University. Kalaspudi chose Cooper due to it being community-oriented focusing on community activities focused on underserved communities.
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University is a mission-based public medical school in Camden, New Jersey. In an earlier report, U.S. News ranked Cooper Medical School of Rowan University #50 for Best Medical Schools in the nation.
“Like you’re not just a building in a neighborhood,” said Kalasapudi.” You are a part of the community. And so they say Camden is our home. To large degrees, they take that seriously. So you do see Cooper students volunteering throughout the Camden community. It just shows like a particular orientation of the people who work there. Like when the leadership says that we care about the community and they actually follow through with it, that shows that they’re kind of ethically guided. And that resonates with me.”
As a student, Kalasapudi has had a really good experience as he feels Cooper is attentive to most students’ needs while getting the education that they need. As a professor, Kalasapudi has enjoyed his time at Rowan as he feels Rowan has been very supportive and responsive.
Even though Kalasapudi likes the jump in the ranking for Rowan and all the new infrastructure that they are building, he hopes this doesn’t cause students to pay more at Rowan.
“I think it’s important for Rowan to stay competitive, to not increase tuition for students,” said Kalasapudi.
Along with their new rankings, Rowan is also celebrating their centennial year. To Reagan, what makes Rowan special is their history.
“So it’s like in seeing to see how much growth there is or how much growth there can be in the future in higher education and being able to actually visualize us being in a lower rank and then coming up three levels in a higher rank so that we’re actually seeing the progress of our work,” said Reagan. “So I’m gonna say the history of Rowan and like how the history of Rowan can affect the future that we all hold and endure in our hands because it’s really up to us. We are the future.”
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