Spokane-based Gonzaga and Whitworth universities rank high

Both rank in the top ten of top of  the Western U.S. region subset according to the latest US News rankings. See Regional University West Rankings | Top Regional Universities West | US News Best Colleges.

Gonzaga placed #3, Whitworth at #9 and Eastern Washington University at #63.

The western region covers roughly the western half of the U.S.

In the category of national universities (as compared to regional), the UW ranks #42 and WSU places #115 out of about 280 universities.

When I looked into college rankings in the distant past, the pay earned by graduating students was often a major contributor to the ranking (such as 25% of the result). This tends to favor universities in major coastal cities with booming economies. It can also favor universities whose students tend to move outside the area upon graduation.

Second, within a given university, you may find individual programs that rank in the top 10 or 20 in the world, even though the university itself is further down the list.

Third, the biggest factor is personal success is not the university but the individual. Some of the elite universities predominately admit those from wealthy, elite families, or families where one or both parents graduated from elite universities, which gives them an edge from the get go.

Rankings are interesting but do not take them too seriously.

In terms of impact on science and engineering for an innovation-based economy, at Gonzaga, 10% of students study engineering; sciences not shown among top majors. At Whitworth, engineering does not exist and science is not shown in the top majors. EWU has a small (new and very good) engineering program, but neither the sciences nor engineering are among the top majors according to the US News rankings.

As I have written in the past, innovation is not only about science and engineering capabilities. Innovation applies to processes, procedures, concepts and the creative culture experience. But science and engineering are critical components to turning innovation in to building useful things.


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