College rankings are often met with a mixture of eagerness, nervousness and disdain by U.S. higher education institutions. Depending on how the data is collected and evaluated, the ranking of colleges and universities can vary widely. What’s more, rankings often don’t account for institutional differences in mission and student population. And, of course, no matter how high or low, no ranking can accurately predict or describe the individual educational experiences of our students.
For a unique institution like Dunwoody — the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest — traditional college rankings are especially a double-edged sword. They often reward institutional activity that the College simply isn’t going to engage in because of its specific educational philosophy and mission. Which is why a recent report by the Brooking Institution was a pleasant surprise. Titled Using earnings data to rank colleges: A value-added approach updated with College Scorecard data, the report focuses on earnings of graduates plus other indicators that are likely to lead to a high value-added education for students.
The report is based on the Obama administration’s College Scorecard database as well as other data sources and assigns colleges a score based on “Value-added to median student earnings 10 years after enrollment of 2001-02” with the top score possible being 100.
Dunwoody College of Technology received a score of 94 out of 100 — the highest of any college or university in Minnesota.
In general, technical colleges scored well in this particular ranking, which is not a surprise considering that an applied education generally leads into a specific, often well-paying career path. But as report author Jonathan Rothwell notes, “there will always be serious imperfections to any effort to assess college quality. People are not randomly assigned to colleges and differ in important ways that will remain unobservable to any researcher.”
Those unobservable differences are exactly why we talk about our accomplished alumni so much and why we understand that Dunwoody’s rigorous, industry-focused, applied education is not for every student.
Since 1914, Dunwoody’s pioneering hands-on, applied education has provided students with the skills they need to have a rewarding career. It will continue to do so while it also works to improve in all areas of its mission to changes lives by building opportunities for graduates to have successful careers, to develop into leaders and entrepreneurs, and to engage in “the better performance of life’s duties.” (Quote is from the Last Will and Testament of William Hood Dunwoody)
The best way to understand Dunwoody is to visit our campus, meet our faculty and staff, and tour our classrooms, labs, shops and studios. Call us at 612-374-5800 to arrange a campus tour or RSVP for one of our monthly open houses.