A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) ranks the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication among the top five communication doctoral programs in the nation.
Compiling data from 5,000 doctoral programs in 62 fields of study at 212 universities, the NRC placed Annenberg “one to five” in overall quality among the 83 Communication doctoral programs included in the assessment. Annenberg also emerged at or near the top on a second measure of overall quality produced by the NRC. Both summary measures were based on 21 specific indicators of the quality and impact of faculty research, student support and outcomes, and faculty and student diversity, including such things as faculty publications, citations and awards; student funding and the percentage of students to complete the program; and the percentage of female and non-white faculty and students in the program. A full report can be found at the web site of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The NRC did not rank programs in a straightforward numerical fashion, much like the well-known U.S. News & World Report college rankings. The NRC felt simple ranking by numbers implied an unrealistic level of precision, so they elected to try a different approach, involving ranges. By that measure, Annenberg was in the top “1 to 5” range.
“We are pleased but not surprised that an independent party has recognized what we are so proud of here at Annenberg – that we have a world-class Ph.D. program,” said Annenberg Dean Michael X. Delli Carpini. “We have assembled the ideal components of such a program: internationally-recognized faculty members; a diverse group of exceptionally talented students; and the financial, cultural, and academic resources necessary to support them.”
The NRC report was covered extensively by The Chronicle. The story noted the age of the data used in the report, saying “many of those data points have surely gone stale, because the NRC conducted its surveys back in 2006-2007.
“No assessment is perfect,” noted Dean Delli Carpini. “We have some issues with the accuracy of some of the data ourselves. In the end the best measure of our program is and always has been the quality of our faculty as scholars and teachers, and the success of our students both at Annenberg and in their subsequent careers. On these scores I have no doubt Annenberg is the best Communication program in the world.” Underscoring this point, at this June’s International Communication Association’s annual conference Annenberg faculty and students presented over 45 papers and received a half dozen awards for their scholarship. In addition Annenberg professors Joseph Turow and Robert Hornik were elected “ICA Fellows,” bringing to eight the number of faculty members who have received this prestigious distinction. A full report of the work, honors, and recognition of Annenberg’s faculty and students from the ICA conference can be found here.