OUR VIEW: Cheers for GGC's academic ranking

It’s been a good week to be a Georgia Gwinnett College Grizzly. On the sports side, the local university picked up it’s first men’s soccer win over a ranked opponent, posting a 1-0 win over Auburn-Montgomery, which held the No. 16 spot in the NAIA rankings.

But it was another ranking received this week by GGC that really deserves some cheers, maybe even a standing ovation. In just its seventh year of existence, the school was recognized by U.S. News and World Report magazine’s with a No. 5 ranking among Southern public regional colleges.

It was the highest ranking of any Georgia instituion in that category, and one spot higher than GGC was ranked last year. Hooray, indeed.

Judged against similar institutions, the young college showed well. In its grouping, which was described as public colleges and universities, running the gamut from small liberal arts colleges to large research institutions, GGC scored particularly high in academic peer assessment.

According to the magazine, it gives significant weight to this area of judgement. The academic peer survey, it said, allows top academics, including presidents, provosts and deans of admission, to account for intangibles at peer instituions. Scoring so highly in this area was particularly gratifying to the school, showing it has earned the respect of fellow schools.

“We are particularly excited that the score placing us so high was academic peer assessment, which represents GGC’s academic standing,” said Dr. Lois C. Richardson, acting senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and provost. “This is unheard of for an access institution, and an achievement of which our faculty, staff and students, as well as the University System of Georgia, can be very proud.”

The rankings used several assessments in addition to the academic peer assessment, including freshman retention rate, graduation rate, percentage of classes under 20 and over 50 seats, student/faculty ratio, SAT/ACT percentile data, freshmen’s high school rankings, acceptance rate and alumni giving rate.

The school’s freshmen retention rate of 71 percent also stood out. The report also lauded GGC because of small class sizes and a productive faculty-to-student ratio. The magazine also put GGC on its 2014 list of Military Friendly schools and named it a College of Distinction.

As sports fans well know, rankings can sometimes be arbitrary. But for a young institution like GGC, rising so quickly in the rankngs speaks volumes. And is deserving of a cheer.

Go Grizzlies!

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