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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 5, 1998)
Faculty says rankings
don’t tell whole story
RANKINGS from page 1
Reputation data was gathered by a
survey distributed to law school
administrators around die country. The
surveys asked administrators to rank
each of the about 175 law schools in
the United States.
“I probably know as much about a
number of law schools as anyone in
Nebraska,” Perlman said, “yet I proba
bly only know 10 or 12 schools well
enough to say anything about them.”
John Bernthal, chairman of the
Special Education and
Communication Disorders depart
ments, said die rankings were nothing
more than a “beauty contest”
“Itfe very difficult to get any objec
tive data in terms of why people rate
institutions or programs higher than
another,” he said.
Audiology and speech and lan
guage pathology master’s and doctor
ate programs in Bernthal’s department
were ranked 28th and 18th, respective
uut or more man zmj similar pro
grams in the country, Bemthal said it
was difficult to judge what programs
were better than others.
But Bemthal said he was pleased
with the rankings because his faculty
was much smaller than that of other
Often, larger programs at better
known schools are ranked higher than
smaller programs, he said.
Robert Egbert, UNL professor of
educational curriculum and instruc
tion, said universities that have
impressive academic reputations tend
to score well in programs where they
might not be as good as universities
with less-impressive credentials.
UNL’s doctorate programs in ele
mentary education ranked 16th in the
survey, doctorate programs in educa
tional psychology ranked 24th and
doctorate programs in vocational and
technical education ranked 24th.
In comparison, Harvard
University has a strong academic rep
utation, Egbert said, so its elementary
program was ranked third, although
UNL prepares better teachers, he said.
Richard Durst, dean of the college
of fine and performing arts, said he
knew of one survey in which profes
sors around the nation ranked
Princeton University’s law school
among the top programs in the nation.
The only problem, Durst said, was
that Princeton doesn’t have a law
This kind of anecdotal evidence
proves that prospective students must
examine reputation-based surveys
with skepticism, he said.
UNL’s master’s program of fine
arts ranked 89th in the survey, and the
drama master’s program ranked 48th.
“I would hate to see people use
these rankings as some kind of a qual
itative indicator of an academic pro
gram,” Durst said. “If people simply
look at the rankings one to 100 without
looking at the qualifiers - what made
the ranking what it is - they’re selling
Durst said choosing a graduate
school by using just the U.S. News
rankings was like someone buying a
car based solely on what’s written in
“There’s no substitute for coming
to campus and seeing what the envi
ronment is for yourself,” Durst said.
Students need to test-drive an
academic program, much like a car
buyer needs to take an automobile for
a spin around the block, he said.
It’s important for prospective stu
dents to talk to faculty members and
examine the curriculum and facilities
at universities they’re interested in.
“You can have the most highly
ranked program, and it may not be the
place you want to be,” Durst said.
On the list of top-ranked programs
is exactly where UNL’s physics pro
grams should be, said Roger Kirby,
chairman of the physics and astrono
my department The program is 83rd
out of 88 programs.
“Of course everybody will com
plain that there are some injustices,”
Kilby said, “and indeed there are, but
the schools at the top will be better at
research than the schools at the bot
r Kirby said anyone who looks at the
U.S. News survey should use the rank
ings only for a general guide.
“You should just take them for
what they are,” Kirby said. “They’re a
list of some of the top schools in the
“And I think we’re one of them, but
you shouldn’t say number 72 is better
than number 73. They’re just meant to
be general guidelines.
“You shouldn’t take them too seri
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Food, music, cultures
shared at union event
BAZAAR from page 1
were cheap - about $ 1 per serving
- for mouth-watering cuisine.
Each student association paid
$30 for a table at the bazaar and
kept the profits from the items
The Thailand booth was deter
mined best by two of three judges
because it included live music
with its food and souvenirs.
“It’s great. I’d come here
every week if they had it,” said
Darrel Harmon, a university visi
A long line of those wanting
Mehndi, or temporary tattoos,
formed near Mehndi artist
“There’s lots of new things,
even for folks who’ve been
around before,” said Judy
Wendorff, an international affairs
adviser, who was wearing one of
Rathi’s temporary tattoos.
Mehndi designs are made by
applying henna - a dye extracted
from the leaves of a henna plant -
on the skin in intricate patterns.
“We wanted to bring everyone
together, no matter what their cul
tural background,” said Amruta
Kshatriya, vice president of pro
grams and activities for ISO.
“That’s what the bazaar is all
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