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U.S. News Ranks ODU Darden College of Education Among Nation’s Best Graduate Schools

Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education is ranked 65th in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report's 2014 edition of Best Graduate Schools.

The rankings were released Tuesday, March 12.

Each year, U.S. News ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law and medicine. The rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research and students. The data come from surveys of administrators at more than 1,250 programs and over 13,000 academics and professionals, conducted during the fall of 2012 and early 2013.

"The Darden College of Education is delighted to have its work recognized as 65th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report's graduate school rankings. Our faculty and graduate students engage in research and grant work that addresses the major issues challenging our communities, schools, clinics and businesses," said Linda Irwin-DeVitis, the dean of ODU's education college.

The college improved in most categories, but jumped dramatically in external grant funding and funding average per faculty member. Among the factors in the college's latest ranking was its $33.7 million in funded research in 2012, which came to an average of $366,200 per faculty member. In addition to its fourfold increase in grant funding, the Darden College improved its U.S. News ratings in peer assessment, superintendent assessment and doctorates awarded per faculty.

"The impressive and important work of The Center for Educational Partnerships, under the direction of Dr. John Nunnery, provided the biggest boost to our national ranking. TCEP's $26 million i3 (Investing in Innovation) grant from the U.S. Department of Education shattered our previous record for a single grant," Irwin-DeVitis said.

The i3 project, "A Technology-facilitated Scale-up of a Proven Model of Mathematics Instruction in High Needs Schools," focuses on providing students in high-need middle schools with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) via scaled-up implementation of a proven cooperative learning model in mathematics instruction, called STAD-Math.

Over the past year, the Darden College was awarded more than $33 million in external funding. DeVitis credits this impressive progress "to a cadre of highly regarded, nationally and internationally known scholars, our commitment to hiring first-rate younger scholars, and the exemplary work of our doctoral students and their mentors and dissertation committees.

"None of this would be possible without the support of President John Broderick and Provost Carol Simpson and the excellent work of the ODU Research Foundation," she added.

ODU tied for the 65th spot in the latest U.S. News rankings with Fordham University, Marquette University, San Diego State University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Hawaii-Manoa, the University of Oklahoma (Rainbolt), the University of Utah and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

U.S. News also recognized the work of the education college's graduate program in counseling as 18th in the nation in 2012. The Darden College prepares professionals and graduate students in a wide variety non-teaching fields, including instructional design and technology, occupational and technical studies, communication disorders, exercise physiology, sport management and higher education, as well as offers programs in teacher education, educational leadership and school counseling.

"We are proud to note the Virginia Teacher of the Year for 2013, Kathryn B. Galford, has two degrees from the Darden College," Irwin-DeVitis said.

The dean credits the college's faculty, who work to mentor graduate students in rigorous research, best practices and leadership in their disciplines, for helping students succeed in the classroom and in their professions after graduation.

"Many of our professors do joint research and publication with their graduate students. Working with partners from business and industry, school divisions, clinics and nonprofits, and recreation and wellness sites, our students apply their knowledge and research skills with the support of practitioners and faculty. This collaboration is a key factor in our students' success," Irwin-DeVitis said.

Graduate students from the college can also find rich opportunities for research on the campus through the Oral Preschool for students with cochlear implants, the Speech and Hearing Clinic, or ODU's Center for Early Learning and Research, the Industrial and Scientific Research Center, and the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center.

"This U.S. News ranking confirms what I already know. Darden College has faculty who are dedicated student mentors, exceptional researchers and talented grant writers. When you add our amazing students, the result is a great metropolitan college of education," Irwin-DeVitis said.

Graduate programs at 278 schools granting doctoral degrees were surveyed for the latest U.S. News rankings; 239 responded, and 235 provided data needed to calculate rankings based on 10 measures, including quality assessment, student selectivity, faculty resources, research activity, overall rank and specialty rankings.

All graduate school rankings are available on USNews.com Tuesday, March 12.

The Best Graduate Schools 2014 guidebook will be available on April 9.

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