Biola ranked an “Up-and-Coming School” for second consecutive year

Biola is one of only two schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities to be ranked an “Up-and-Coming School” by U.S. News & World Report.

Melanie Morales, Writer

Biola University secured its placement in three college rankings conducted by the U.S. News & World Report, nabbing the title of an “Up-and-Coming School” for the second consecutive year.

Biola also boasts a coveted top-tier spot on the national university rankings, which ranks universities across the nation based on the range of undergraduate and graduate degrees that are offered as well as commitment to groundbreaking research. The report ranked Biola 170th in this category as well as in the A-Plus Schools for B Students list, and 16th in the Up and Coming ranking alongside Azusa Pacific University in all three lists.

Only two CCCU schools ranked

APU is the only other school in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities ranked by U.S. News; and Irene Neller, vice president of University Communications and Marketing, finds a reason to celebrate.

“Let’s celebrate the fact that there are two CCCU schools in these lists,” Neller said. “I really want to look at it as an opportunity for Biola and APU to partner and say it is time that the world and the United States recognizes Christian universities can rise to the top.”

Based on a two-tier system

The national university rankings are based on a two-tier system; the first tier consists of the top 75 percent of schools and the second tier is the bottom 25 percent. This two-tier system, which was formerly divided in four tiers — each of which represented 25 percent — was introduced for the 2011 rankings and has been used this year as well. Featured in the magazine’s list of national universities for more than 20 years, last year was Biola’s first year achieving its highest ranking earning a spot in the top tier of the Best National Universities.

New strategies to publicize ranking

Unlike other schools on the ranking site, Biola has not been part of any marketing campaigns to obtain a higher ranking in the U.S News & World Report lists, according to Neller. However, this year, efforts are under way to publicize Biola’s recognition that will gain exposure throughout the school as well as toward the general public.

“One of the things we are going to do that we didn’t do last year is actually to purchase rights to [use] the U.S News & World report logo,” Neller said. “So that is a very tactical, visual change that you’ll see from last year to this year.”

She further elaborated that this will allow Biola to use the rankings in print pieces and publish it on the website, which she hopes will attract external and internal audiences to become more familiarized with Biola’s ranking.

Growth in facilities a driving force in Biola’s ranking

Neller said that all the construction initiatives have played a role in the higher recognition Biola has been getting.

“The nomination reflects on schools who have made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus or facilities,” Neller said. “We have Talbot, we have the new parking structure; the reason we have the new parking structure is because we have grown exponentially as well, over the last several years just with student enrollment. When you couple all that together it’s a story that is resonating.”

Greg Vaughan, vice president for enrollment management and alumnus, agreed with Neller that the long-term growth of Biola in many areas has been a driving force.

“We have a whole new approach to chapels and a new emphasis on spiritual formation in our student development area. So I think what I’ve seen is we’ve expanded our academic base but at the same time developed spiritual component to be strong in both areas,” Vaughan said. “I think a lot of schools can say the same, but we can back it up with a lot of examples of how we’ve proactively done it.”

Students have also started to recognize more readily that their institute is making a difference in the nation. Sophomore transfer Rebecca Todd said being ranked does not come as a surprise to her.

“Biola is a really unique school in that it integrates our Christian worldview into our academics. I think as we do more things getting out into the community we are really making a name for ourselves,” Todd said. “A lot of people from all over the nation are wanting to come here and I think that we’ll see a lot of positive changes going through Biola.”

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