As we have reported in many stories here at tBBC, including Ken’s excellent updates on things going on at the James, Ohio State does exceptional things in the classrooms and research labs as well as on the field and court. However, awareness of OSU’s academic and research excellence isn’t as widespread as its reputation for athletic achievement, often leading to people view Ohio State as an athletics factory where education comes second; see for example numerous comments made across the internet by Cal fans last week as well as an insulting column that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. While Buckeyes know that this reputation isn’t correct, it does speak to the need for the university to do a better job of spreading the message about how good the academic side of OSU is; in fact most of the Big Ten needs to do this better. To help with this, let’s take a look at how OSU and the rest of the Big Ten stack up in terms of some academic metrics.
There are numerous rankings of universities out there that all employ different methodologies, none of which can completely reflect a university, and it would take forever to look through all of them so we will use two of the most cited and respected ones. First let’s take a look at how the Big Ten compares to the rest of the US using the US News and World Report ranking of American universities. In the 2013 edition of the rankings, Ohio State comes in 52nd among National Universities and 16th among public universities.
Ohio State isn’t the only Big Ten school to be highly ranked by the US News and World Report. Northwestern is ranked 12th nationally, Michigan is 28th nationally (4th among public schools), Penn State is 37th (8th), Illinois and Wisconsin are tied at 41st (11th), Purdue is 68th (24th), Minnesota is 68th (25th), Michigan State and Iowa are tied at 73rd (29th), and Indiana is 75th (31st). That means that 11 of the 12 Big Ten universities are ranked in the top 100 in the country which speaks highly to the quality of education available in the conference. Thanks to the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the academic side of the Big Ten, OSU students and researchers benefit from the overall strength of the Big Ten due to collaboration and sharing of resources and expertise that go on between the member schools. Conference expansion will only strengthen the Big Ten academically as Maryland is ranked 62nd nationally (21st) and Rutgers is 69th (25th).
Maybe you aren’t convinced by the US News and World Report rankings, well how about we take a look at the World University Rankings published by Times Higher Education. According to the rankings, Ohio State ranks as the 53rd best university in the world, pretty damn impressive. The Big Ten is also well represented in these rankings with Northwestern ranking 19th, Michigan 20th, Wisconsin 31st, Illinois 33rd, Minnesota 47th, Penn State 61st, Purdue 69th, and Michigan State 94th; future members Maryland is 97th and Rutgers is 99th). Currently 9 Big Ten universities are in the top 100 in the world, that is more than the many entire countries, including Australia (6 ranked in the top 100), Canada (5), Germany (4), and France (4) and is only one less than the United Kingdom and it’s amazing history of universities.
Ohio State has many outstanding programs, some of which have earned the distinction of being nationally ranked. Among undergraduate programs, the US News & World Report ranks OSU’s accounting program 10th nationally, supply chain management/logistics 4th, and biological/agricultural engineering 10th. There are many other outstanding and prestigious programs at OSU, these are just the ones that easily show up in widely read rankings.
Ohio State’s academic excellence doesn’t just stop at the undergraduate level, it also continues to the grad school level. OSU’s Fisher College of Business is ranked as the 27th best business school in the country and has nationally ranked specializations in accounting, finance, part-time MBA (8th), production/operations, and supply chain/logistics (4th). The Moritz College of Law is ranked 36th nationally and is ranked 4th in dispute resolution. In addition to the excellent work being carried out at the James Cancer Hospital, as Ken has repeatedly pointed out, the OSU College of Medicine is ranked 38th in terms of best research and 24th in best primary care while also being ranked in family medicine and women’s health; numerous other healthcare programs are also ranked. The OSU College of Engineering is ranked 29th overall and has 12 ranked specialties which is too many to type out, just go to the link. In the physical and mathematical sciences, OSU is ranked in biology (46), chemistry (26), computer science (28), earth science (39), math (30), physics (23), and statistics (27). The College of Education is ranked 16th and has 9 ranked specialties and in the social sciences the economics (27), English (26), history (24), political science (15), psychology (21), and sociology (17) programs are ranked.
Ohio State isn’t just strong in the classrooms, they leverage the talented faculty and students into cutting edge research on a massive scale. According to the National Science Foundation, in 2006 OSU spent $652 million on research which place the university at 11th nationally in terms of research spending, 7th among public schools. Research at OSU is diverse ranging from trying to find cures and treatments for cancer to studying climate change to attempting to find planets orbiting other stars. The outstanding research of OSU has been recognized in a variety of ways including prestigious international prizes and fellowships. OSU has nearly 200 faculty members who have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and from at least 2002-2009 OSU has been either first or second each year in terms of number of faculty elected to the AAAS.
As can be seen from the various rankings, while Ohio State has a reputation as a jock school, it has very strong academics and research that Buckeyes everywhere should be proud of. The fact that OSU’s reputation as a jock school persists suggests that the university needs to do a better job getting the message out about the academic side of Ohio State. As fans, we can help; next time someone comes up to you and comments that OSU football/basketball/volleyball/other sport is very good, tell them that Buckeyes are good in the classroom and the lab as well and give them an example or two. Sure, it may sound kind of lame but we can help change the view people have of Ohio State from being a university that excels at athletics to being a university that excels at everything.