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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU launches first ranking website

New website to provide data on WSU in comparison to other universities
This+website+will+showcase+data+on+WSU+in+relation+to+other+universities+nationwide
KYRIE ROLLINS
This website will showcase data on WSU in relation to other universities nationwide

The Office of Strategy, Planning and Analysis (OSPA) has launched a new ranking website that aims to provide transparency about WSU in relation to other universities.

Featuring global and national data, the website focuses on how rankings are determined for WSU and gives viewers a better picture of how WSU compares to universities across the globe. The website published in the fall so it would coincide with the return of students to campus.

Information on the website comes from data reported to the federal government by WSU such as enrollment numbers, graduation rates and faculty information at the university. Other information that goes into the ranking website comes from research journals, alumni information, and financial aid services, said Stephanie Kane, interim executive director of Institutional Research within the OSPA.

“We are taking a real strategic approach to how we want to elevate the use of data and information at the institution to ensure that what we do is used at its highest and most strategic value,” Chris Hoyt, vice president of OSPA said. “We’re using good data to make excellent decisions that actually will lead to the best improvement outcomes.”

Students use rankings as a fact finding mission to learn more about colleges, Hoyt said. Prospective students and parents want to find information that illustrates the quality of the programs WSU offers, she said. 

“We’re trying to provide families with accurate and expansive levels of information in order to kind of help them make their decision,” Kane said. “It’s not just numbers, it’s also data and information about things that are available to students.”

Compiling all of this data onto the ranking website is a huge task, Kane said. Steven Selk, a data consultant within institutional research, is the person who manually enters all the data into the website, which then gets checked by multiple sets of eyes, Kane said. 

The genesis of the ranking website began with a conversation with then chair of the faculty senate, Christine Horne, Hoyt said. They both agreed that a website compiling data and facts about the university was a great way to provide transparency in one single spot.

Good information about the university plays a role in why rankings are important to illustrate transparency, Hoyt said. However, the mission of this website is to focus more on the issue of who WSU is as an institution and the quality/excellence of students and communities that WSU serves.

As part of a land grant mission, WSU focuses on education, research and extension services, she said. Ranking comes into play with all of three aspects of the land grant mission as teaching education relates directly to graduation rates as well as retention rates of students on campus. Accessibility of information relating to the land grant is a big feature of what the website aims to do, she said. 

“Use [the rankings] in a way to help you do better and to serve people and to improve who is in your cohort of institutions,”  Hoyt said. “When you look at something like the U.S. News rankings, there is no solid evidence that that helps you measure the quality of your institution.”

As new rankings come in each year, the ranking website will be reevaluated with updated information, Kane said. Information comes in at different points in time, so those visiting the site should recognize that some rankings are newer or older than others, she said. 

“I see this place [website] as sort of a foundational basis for conversation in terms of helping people to be able to access information in one spot,” Hoyt said.

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About the Contributor
KYRIE ROLLINS, Evergreen illustrator
Kyrie Rollins is a graphic illustrator for the Daily Evergreen. They are in their third year at Washington State University double majoring in Digital Technology & Culture and Fine Arts. They’re born and raised in Pullman and are ready to represent this town!