January 17, 2007 | By: Laura Skillman

A new ranking of universities nationally, based on faculty scholarly activity, places the University of Kentucky among the Top 20 public research universities. Helping to lead the way to this honor are the Department of Plant Pathology and Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture.

The 2005 Faculty Scholarly Activity Index, unveiled last week by the Chronicle of Higher Education, ranked UK in the No. 19 spot with the University of California – Davis.

The index ranked two UK doctoral programs as No. 1 among programs at large research universities, with a total of seven UK programs ranked in the top 10 in their respective areas.

The College of Agriculture’s Department of Plant Pathology ranked first compared to doctorate-granting programs in the same field at large research universities nationwide, while the entomology department was ranked at No. 10 compared to peer programs.

UK’s Department of Hispanic Studies also received a No. 1 ranking. Anatomy and neurobiology was ranked at No. 3, nursing as well as counseling psychology at No. 9, and educational psychology at No. 10 compared to peer programs.

"This new methodology for ranking institutions of higher learning underscores the importance of faculty scholarship and demonstrates the breadth and depth of quality at the faculty and departmental levels at the University of Kentucky," said UK Provost Kumble Subbaswamy.

"At the same time, faculty scholarship and productivity – while important ingredients in building a top public research institution – are not the only factors we are utilizing in our push for Top 20 status,” he said. “We must also continue to be focused on building the quality of our student body, improving graduation rates and lowering student faculty ratios. In other words, being a Top 20 public institution requires being Top 20 in everything that we do.”

The index is created by Academic Analytics, a company partially owned by the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and ranks 7,294 individual doctoral programs in 104 disciplines at 354 institutions. Institutions are categorized as large research universities (those with 15 or more Ph.D. programs) and small research universities. For a program to be included in the 2005 index, it must have 10 or more faculty members, or, if it has fewer, it must have one-half the median number of faculty members for a program in that discipline.

The productivity of faculty members is measured based on as many as three factors, with the preponderance of weight given to the most important variable(s) in each discipline. Categories examined included: publications, including books and journal articles published as well as citations of journal articles; federal grant dollars awarded; and honors and awards.


Allison Elliott, 859-257-1754