After spending 15 years in the top 100, TU fell to 121 this year, but it won’t necessarily stay there.
The University of Tulsa has long been crowned by various ranking sites, such as niche.com, collegesimply.com and bestcolleges.com, as one of Oklahoma’s best colleges. The University of Tulsa has also consistently ranked well on U.S. News’s yearly ranking list. This year TU took a plunge in the rankings, currently resting at #121 in National Universities. When the 2018 report was released, TU celebrated its 15th year of being in the Top 100.
From there, things went downhill. The report for 2019 and 2020 saw us fall to the current resting point. This is no mere coincidence, and it even happens to collide with “True Commitment,” which is deeply rooted in “The Strategic Plan.” This plan was drawn up in in the early spring and summer of 2017 after countless strategy meetings.
The implementation of this plan has been a divisive topic around campus and potentially could be a direct factor of the drop in rankings. According to the university website and its news section, Dr. Gerard Clancy even acknowledges this himself: “Our research guided us to a five-year plan that focused our effort less on rankings and more on the long-term needs of our students, the university and Tulsa’s economic vitality.”
While it may be a nice sentiment, this statement seems to contradict itself rather heavily. After all, focusing on the needs of the students and the needs of the university will, or should, infallibly lead to higher rankings. Yet it has had quite the opposite effect, seeing as our scores have plummeted.
The overall “score” of the university according to U.S. News is 49 out of 100. This brings even more confusion to the scene, especially when one considers the fact that TU is well known for being one of the best, if not the best, engineering schools in Oklahoma. Yet, TU is ranked #170 in best undergraduate engineering programs for 2020. This puts the spotlight back on “True Commitment,” which seems to favor engineering and natural science students unfairly, as many around campus have called out.
The contradiction lies in the fact that this reorganization shifts focus towards ENS (Engineering & Natural Sciences) but the engineering ranking is far from the university ranking, which suggests that the program isn’t as much of a defining feature of the university as some thought. On the other hand, this shift in commitment could raise the placement of both rankings, but that can only be seen with time.
Regardless of where one stands in regards to the True Commitment, it comes as a shock to many that the university’s rank plummeted to such a degree. Only time and hard work will allow TU to rise in the rankings once more, granted it is possible after the implementation of the reorganization.