UGa Not on Report's 10 Best Schools on Diversity; Officials Criticize List for Emphasizing Percentages, Disregarding Other Factors

By Basinger, Brian | The Florida Times Union, December 3, 2003 | Go to article overview

UGa Not on Report's 10 Best Schools on Diversity; Officials Criticize List for Emphasizing Percentages, Disregarding Other Factors


Basinger, Brian, The Florida Times Union


Byline: BRIAN BASINGER, The Times-Union

ATLANTA -- Despite a majority-female enrollment and increasing popularity among minorities, the University of Georgia is not among the top schools in Georgia for diversity according to a new report that is raising questions throughout the state's higher education community.

The Women and Diversity College Enrollment Report, released Monday, determined the state's top schools by looking at the percentages of female and minority students on campuses statewide.

The University of Georgia, where female students made up 56.1 percent of the school's 24,983 undergraduates in 2002, did not make the report's top 10 list.

Spelman College, an all-female private school in Atlanta, was No. 1. On Tuesday, officials criticized the report's in-state rankings for focusing entirely on raw percentages of students, and not on factors like course offerings, faculty achievements and institutional resources.

"With no disrespect to the schools named, it's a study of percentages, not a study of quality," said Tom Jackson, spokesman for the University of Georgia, which was not ranked as a top-10 school for women or minorities.

The report was prepared by Diversity Best Practices, a private company based in Washington, D.C., which has sold the report for the last three years.

The cost of the 2003 report, the first edition to numerically rank the nation's top schools, is $495.

"The target audience we are looking to sell it to is both corporations, as well as colleges and universities," said Brian Weiss, spokesman for Diversity Best Practices.

Weiss said the report can be used by companies looking to pursue diversity when searching for new employees.

Ali Bracken, a 2001 University of Georgia graduate who works for UNICEF, said she believes her alma mater produces top-caliber female and minority employees, even though it isn't on Diversity Best Practices list.

"I think the leadership programs at UGa are outstanding and they're really great for developing people outside the classroom," said Bracken, who is now the southern regional coordinator for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and Community Alliances.

Some of the state's larger universities questioned how they could compete for a ranking against Georgia's small, historically black schools.

"Obviously, your historically black colleges and universities are going to be much higher than those from the general population," said Mike Sullivan, spokesman for Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

Among the report's top 10 Georgia schools for minorities, four are private schools that traditionally enroll black students: Spelman College, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College. …

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