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UA (non-sports) reputation


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Just got a sneak peek at the new US News rankings for 2021: Albany is at 160—tied with Hofstra, Mercer, UMBC, and others. One spot ahead of Adelphi.

Binghamton, Buffalo, and SBU are all tied (oddly) at 88—right behind Michigan St, NC State, and others.

When I was applying to schools in the 90s, long before the Nanotech debacle, Albany was #2 with a bullet, right behind Binghamton as the best SUNY. What happened? What can we do—or are we doing—to get some mojo back? Back in the day, we felt like we were competing (academically) with UMass and Maryland—not Hofstra and Adelphi. 

I know we've added engineering and some other important research components in recent years, but it doesn't seem to be moving the dial at all. And as someone who works in higher ed, I can say that these rankings do matter.

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So here are the 8 categories US news uses.  Graduation and retention rates,  social mobility, faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence, alumni giving.

So if UA wants to improve our score they need to

1.  graduate more students okay seems reasonable.  Quick Google search 66% graduate on time.  83% was the retention rate. Get those GR up to mid 70s and we will be where SBU ranks.

2  social mobility measures graduate students who receive Pell grants.  We do well hear we are 4th in NY, 27th in US.

3.  Faculty resources no idea how they get this rating but it probably is tied to endowment which is again quick Google search 75.1 million 2019.  So increase giving and get some good ROI.  

4.  Expert opinions grease some pockets lol.  

5.  Student excellence have our students apply and win some more awards.  

6.  Financial resources raise our endowment.

7.  Alumni giving self explanatory.

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Of course,  every school studies these metrics and aims to improve them not just for rankings purposes but also for student/faculty recruitment and retention. The point is, Albany is not succeeding in any of these areas, at least in relation to its peers. Many years ago, I believe we topped out around a ranking of 120, and I was hopeful we'd crack the top 100. Northeastern U., as an example, used to be below us but has skyrocketed to #49. But at this rate, we're heading closer to the third tier rather than the first.

This is more disappointing than anything we do/don't achieve in sports.

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#3,6 & 7 are all based on increasing the endowment.  Remember UA started as a college for teachers.  UB, Binghamton were private colleges with a variety of degrees.  SBU started much later, is on Long Island which demands high pay and results in ability to give.  As a retired teacher I donate in the 4 figures but not all the old-timers can do that.  When those who graduated with non-teaching degrees become older maybe they can build up the endowment.  UA is indeed a young University and we suffer for it.

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Ultimately we have a better chance of raising in the ranks because of our affordability.  Most net worth millionaires according to the book put out by Chris Hogan went to either JUCO or Public institutions.  Food for thought the largest single donation to an athletic department was to Oklahoma State University.  So cheer up I know not having sports to talk about sucks but things are going to get better.  This is coming from a stay at home dad with three pups under 6 who is closing in on being home for six months straight.  

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Don't know about anyone else but I'm damn proud of my UAlbany education. I have the UA FB team as my cover photo on FB and a picture of Casey Stadium as my cover on LinkedIn where you can see 'ALBANY' on the seats. I really miss the school and the classes (not necessarily the homework though lol - I got my degree 100% at night so some days I'd leave home at 8AM for my day job and get home at 11PM after classes) and you can often find me on nice summer evenings strolling around Collins Circle or the Lecture Center Podium with my wife. Or, you will see a green Kawasaki Vulcan S cruising around the loop during nice summer evenings as well :).

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