The medical schools at Columbia University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and Icahn Medical School of Mount Sinai have all announced that they will no longer participate in the US News & World Report rankings. They were then followed by the medical schools of Cornell University, Duke University, and the Universities of Chicago and Washington.
The announcements followed a Harvard University medical school earlier this month. While other medical schools have dropped from the rankings in the past, Harvard ranks first in the 2023 Research Medical School Rankings, and Columbia, Mount Sinai, Penn, and Stanford also rank highly.
Some had speculated that the timing would discourage many medical schools from joining Harvard that year. The deadline for submitting information for the Medical School Rankings was Friday, January 26th. But Harvard is clearly not alone in its criticism. There could be a protest to match the law school uprising led by the Yale University Law School.
“The USNWR Medical School Rankings continue a narrow and elitist perspective on medical education,” wrote Katrina Armstrong, dean of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, in a letter to the medical school’s students and faculty members. “Their emphasis is on self-reinforcing criteria such as reputation and institutional wealth, rather than measuring a school’s success in educating a diverse and well-educated cohort of physicians capable of transforming medicine for the better and meeting the needs of society.” fulfill. Her focus on standardized test scores comes at a time when it is widely understood that prioritizing those scores rewards well-equipped applicants, without regard to selecting those individuals who can best meet the future demands of a diverse and changing world. “
That was quite a change from what she said back in March when the latest rankings were released.
“The ranking reflects the hard work that goes on every day to prevent and treat disease, educate the next generation of health professionals and scientists, and ensure our excellence reaches those who need us in our neighborhoods and around the world ‘ she said at the time.
Lloyd Minor, dean of Stanford School of Medicine, issued a statement saying, “We believe the methodology [of U.S. News]as it stands does not capture the full extent of what constitutes an exceptional learning environment.”
Stanford plans to produce new metrics on March 1 to, among other things, help people evaluate where to apply to medical school.
“Our metrics will reflect and evaluate our faculty’s efforts and achievements in education, research and patient care, as well as faculty and trainee innovation and impact on biomedicine and its role in developing the leaders of tomorrow,” Minor said in the statement. “Our reporting will also present our tripartite mission and key priorities that our students have identified as important to their educational experience, including access to comprehensive patient care and research opportunities. Additionally, our process will reflect our core values by emphasizing diversity, equity and inclusion and ensuring our metrics are measurable, auditable and transparent. We welcome opportunities to discuss our metrics with key stakeholders once they are finalized.”
And J. Larry Jameson, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, wrote: “USNWR policies encourage student acceptance based on the highest grades and test scores. However, we strive to identify and attract students with a variety of promising attributes. The careers of transformative physicians, scientists, and leaders demonstrate the importance of other personal qualities, including creativity, passion, resilience, and empathy.”
Dennis S. Charney, Dean of Mount Sinai, and David Muller, Chair of Medical Education there, issued a statement saying, “The integrity of the research is an important factor in our decision. The ranking reduces our scientific innovation, discoveries, entrepreneurship and clinical impact to one number: our total federal funding. This does not adequately represent the hard work, dedication, creativity and benefit to humanity of our research company and the many novel diagnostics and therapeutics it has produced.”
US News responded to the statements by saying that it still stands by the statement made by Eric Gertler, its Executive Chairman and CEO, when Harvard withdrew.
“Our mission is to help prospective students make the best decisions for their educational future,” he said. “Where students go to school and how they use their education are some of the most important decisions of their lives, and as admissions become more competitive and less transparent, and tuition fees become more expensive, we believe students deserve access to all data and information that are required to do this right decision.”
Some observers of higher education have speculated that the steps taken by medical schools after the steps taken by leading law schools will spell a death knell for the rankings in general. However, undergraduate (and other) rankings differ from those of law and medical schools.
US News also published its ranking of online programs on January 24. And colleges that ranked highly responded with the usual bragging about their performance. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte boasted in a press release that it was ranked #4 for online bachelor’s degrees. Purdue University has touted its second place in online engineering for graduate students. And Lees-McRae College announced that it ranked 42nd in the rankings US News Best Online Bachelor Degrees List for 2023, 80 spots better than 2022 college ranking of 122.
Meanwhile, the law schools at Gonzaga University, Seattle University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison announced that they will not participate in the law school rankings.
Wisconsin Dean Dan Tokaji said, “The ranking goes against UW Law’s mission to provide excellent legal education at an affordable price so our graduates can pursue whatever career path they choose.” and “The ranking undermines the core value of.” UW Law, equal access to the legal profession by penalizing schools in states that allow admission without the bar exam.
Jacob H. Rooksby, Dean of Gonzaga, said, “The Gonzaga Law School is just one of many that have come to conclusions similar to ours. Additionally, as fewer schools choose to enter the USNWR competition, the usefulness of the ranking system will be undermined and pressure will mount to change the system as it should.”
Also last week, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh gave a lecture at the University of Notre Dame Law School in which he echoed the criticism, CNN reported.
“I think these reviews are very problematic. I think they’re based on things that, as far as I know, are very amorphous, very subjective, very oral. Factors that don’t correlate well with the education you actually receive,” Kavanaugh said.
“And I find them highly problematic. The reputation value, that’s a joke, isn’t it? I mean, that’s – who has the knowledge of all the different scores being judged to even come close to providing a good analysis of it? added Kavanaugh.