The University of Texas-Pan American is ranked as the top public master's university in Texas in the 2012 rankings published Aug. 27 by the national magazine Washington Monthly. The University was also 16th overall out of 682 public and private master's institutions assessed nationwide.
Washington Monthly is a bimonthly nonprofit magazine in Washington, D.C., focused on United States politics and government. Its rankings are based on each institution's contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). All three categories are weighted equally when calculating an institution's overall score. UTPA's overall score was 87 out of the top possible score of 100.
"We are especially pleased that Washington Monthly recognized UT Pan American for providing a quality education for a reasonable cost while also excelling in research and in our engagement with the community to improve the quality of life in the Rio Grande Valley," said UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen. "We intend to remain committed to higher education accessibility and producing graduates who become productive members of the workforce and service-oriented citizens."
UTPA was assessed in the master's university listing of institutions rather than the national university or liberal arts college categories based on its classification designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which encompasses schools that offer a range of undergraduate and some master's level programs but a limited number of doctoral programs.
Social mobility factors assessed include the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants and the predicted rate of graduation based on SAT and ACT scores versus the actual rate of graduation. This year, the magazine's editors indicated in their guide to the rankings that the social mobility measure that rewards colleges with better-than-expected graduation rates had been improved to account for college prices.
"Colleges that are both effective and inexpensive get the highest marks," the magazine's editors wrote.
In its assessment of research, Washington Monthly examines the number of dollars in total research expenditures and the university's ranking in the number of bachelor's degree recipients who go on to receive their Ph.D.s relative to the school size.
In ranking service, the publication looks at the number of alumni serving in the Peace Corps and students who are in ROTC; the percentage of federal work-study money that goes to community service, the number of students participating in community service and the number of service hours they perform; and the combined measure of the number of staff supporting community service, the number of academic courses that incorporate service, and whether the institution provides scholarships for community service.
Other public schools ranked in the top 20 of master's universities were California State University-Dominguez Hills (5), Truman State University in Missouri (6), New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (7), California State University-Fresno (10), California State University-Los Angeles (11), Mary Washington University in Virginia (12), California State University-Fullerton (14), Mississippi University for Women (15), and SUNY at Geneseo (17).
See a complete list of Washington Monthly's master's universities rankings here.