University listed among best regional colleges


The university is recognized as one of the Southern Region’s best colleges for its distinctive academic reputation

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

Francis Marion University (FMU) was recently ranked among the Southern Region’s best universities by the U. S. News and World Report magazine.  The achievement has earned FMU a position in the 2014 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” published by the U.S. News Media Group.

Tucker Mitchell, executive director of Public Affairs, began working at FMU in July. According to Mitchell, this is the thirteenth year that FMU has been chosen as a recipient of this award.

“When people think of this award, they usually associate it with schools with bigger names,” Mitchell said. “So, we’re tickled that we have had it so many consecutive years.”

Using data from 15 indicators of academic success, U.S. News categorizes colleges and universities first by mission and then by region.  The indicators used to determine academic quality are divided into six categories: academic reputation through peer assessment, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni contribution.  Of the categories, academic reputation is weighed most heavily.

President Fred Carter, PhD., said he was proud that FMU attracted the attention of the award for so many consecutive years. Carter said he believes it is primarily the faculty of FMU that has led to the university’s success.

“This award is truly a tribute to the faculty, their research and their overall qualities,” Carter said. “A lot of people do not realize the quality people we have working here.”

Changes in ranking style last year resulted in new category names for Best Colleges.  Now, schools are designated as national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities and regional Colleges.  As a regional university, FMU is listed among schools that have a range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.

U.S. News and World Report was once a weekly published magazine, like the former magazine Newsweek.  About 20 years ago, the magazine started rating colleges, and the Southern Region’s Best Universities Award recognized as an official accolade.