The academic reputation of this campus continues to gleam among its counterparts in this country and around the globe, according to recent independent assessments.

The 2009 Academic Ranking of World Universities, compiled by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, rates UC Berkeley number three in the world (after Harvard and Stanford, respectively). The ranking compared 1,200 higher education institutions worldwide, public and private. It used a variety of indicators of academic or research performance, including:

  • Nobel Prizes and other international awards won by alumni and faculty or staff;
  • Highly-cited researchers in 21 broad subject categories;
  • Articles published in selected top journals and noted in major citation indexes.

The first multi-indicator ranking of global universities, the ARWU has been conducted since 2003. Shanghai Jiao Tong University published the ranking in November.

U.S. News and World Report logoWithin the United States, the Berkeley campus was ranked the number-one public university for the tenth time in as many years in U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 guide to “America’s Best Colleges.” U.S. News & World Report also rated institutions on their graduate-level disciplines. In the Social Sciences and Humanities viewed by departmental reputation, Berkeley came away with new first place rankings for its departments of English, History, Psychology, and Sociology. The campus maintained its previous levels in the rankings of its programs in Engineering (third), Law (sixth), Business (seventh), and Education (seventh). For its undergraduate programs, among all 262 public and private institutions, Berkeley came in 21st, with its undergraduate programs in engineering and business ranked second and third, respectively. The U.S. News rankings, published in August, were calculated using seven measures:

  • peer assessment;
  • faculty resources;
  • graduation and retention;
  • student selectivity;
  • financial resources;
  • graduation-rate performance; and
  • alumni giving rate.

In another annual guide with rankings, UC Berkeley came in first among 258 U.S. universities. The editors of Washington Monthly say their guide “asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country.” Berkeley topped the scale in its “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).” A pleased Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said, “It is as if the Washington Monthly editors were quoting directly from our mission.” Washington Monthly, which has published its rankings since 2005 and issued this year’s in September, describes itself as an independent voice, “listened to by insiders and willing to take on sacred cows — liberal and conservative.”

Institutions are also being ranked these days on an increasingly important aspect: their environmental records. UC Berkeley aced two different evaluations in that category this year. At the end of July, it was named one of only 15 colleges in the country to earn the top score for environmentally friendly policies in The Princeton Review’s “Green Ratings” of 697 colleges and universities. And a few weeks later, the Sierra Club’s national magazine Sierra gave Berkeley 96 out of 100 and a top-ten placement in its third annual “Cool Schools” ranking, judged on its performance in eight categories: energy, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, waste management, transportation, and administration.