Ranked Number One: How Did We Do It?

What a fun day! I’ve had the great fortune of receiving a day of accolades for the School of Education’s rapid ascent to the #1 ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools of Education.  It is incredibly gratifying, but we all know that this recognition belongs to all of the hard working faculty, staff, students, and supporters of the school.

Congratulatory offerings from people outside of our JHU education family are often followed by, “Amazing, how did you guys manage such a feat in such a short period of time?”  My joking response is usually, “It’s a secret and if I tell you it wouldn’t be a secret any longer.”  The reality is, it’s not a big secret, and we are willing to share our strategy as well as how the ranking indicators align with our long term priorities and aspirations.

We simply focused on improving the metrics that matter most to our two pronged mission of a) attracting the best and brightest into education and b) giving them tools that work.  As we improved in these areas, our overall reputation began to climb.

When we created a new Ph.D. program to focus more exclusively on research and scholarship, we were able to recruit students with some of the strongest academic backgrounds in the country. This is evidenced by some of the highest GRE scores reported.  These students are undoubtedly among the best and brightest in the profession.

Johns Hopkins University is among the most entrepreneurial institutions in the country with more federal research funding than any other institution.  The School of Education took a lesson from our peer divisions within the university and has been successful in securing extraordinary levels of competitively awarded research support for our faculty. Like the University at large, our per faculty research funding is at the top of the rankings.  The majority of this funding is expended in development of the evidence-based tools and programs that allow our best and brightest to thrive in academic settings. These are tools that work.

The JHU School of Education has rapidly assembled an extraordinary group of faculty, staff, students, and alumni and is fortunate to compete extremely well for external support.   This exceptional human capital combined with dedicated research funding has begun turning the heads of our peers. While we must admit that we do not share the absolute highest rankings from our peers (the Deans of other schools of education,) our peer reputation has been climbing each year and is at its highest point.  These peer rankings are often lagging indicators of success on other metrics and I am confident that they will continue to improve.

While holding the #1 ranking is unbelievably rewarding, the relationships developed over the course of the journey are even more rewarding.  The work is no fun without trusted and likable colleagues.  Similarly, the recognition is no fun without being shared with these same folks.

Thanks to all who focused on what mattered, made it fun, and helped get us to the pinnacle.


One Response to Ranked Number One: How Did We Do It?

  1. Chris Aldrich March 11, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Kudos everyone on 100+ years of hard work! I presume that David will also unleash some of his teaching tips in his upcoming free online Coursera course “University Teaching 101″ https://www.coursera.org/course/univteaching101

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