April 2, 2004

Good Morning:

U.S. News and World Report announced its annual rankings of "America's Best Graduate Schools" today. The A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University is ranked 47th in the nation, down from its 42nd
ranking last year, and the Tulane Law School is ranked 56th, down from its 45th ranking last year. The Environmental Law program is ranked 4th in the nation, up from its 5th ranking last year.

I am pleased that our schools of business and law continue to be ranked in the highest categories of the U.S. News & World Report graduate school rankings, which include the top 50 business schools and the top 100 law schools. This type of recognition is one indication of the overall strength and quality of the business and law schools, as well as the entire university.

But despite the fact that we continue to be counted among the best, both the law school and the business school slipped in this year's rankings. The deans of both schools are analyzing the rankings data to determine how we can improve in those areas which are within our control and which are consistent with each school's strategic plan. In those areas in which we can make positive changes consistent with our strategic plan, we will do so.

It is also important to remember, however, that these rankings, while popular with external constituencies, are imprecise measures of the quality of an institution and need to be viewed in the context of the positive progress made by each school. For example, our business school just celebrated the completion of the $26 million Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II expansion, enjoyed a solid year in faculty recruiting and witnessed continued success in its academic programs in New Orleans as well as its Executive MBA programs in Houston, Santiago, Shanghai and Taipei. Our law school's undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores, acceptance rates, bar passage rates and international reputation are as good or better than they have ever been. In the case of both schools, there is only a fraction of a difference between their rankings and those ranked several spots higher.

I am convinced that if we continue to focus on our strategic vision we will transform Tulane University from a very good institution of higher education to one of the preeminent research universities in the country and the rankings will take care of themselves.

By the way, I was interviewed by CNN this week on the topic of college rankings. Portions of the interview will air today and I think you will find my comments consistent with the views on this topic I have shared with you in the past.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638