By Kimberlee Hauss
Graduating with a degree from Union University is now more prestigious than ever after U.S. News and World Report ranked Union No. 15 this year among universities in the South.
“Consumers shop U.S. News and World Report,” said Carla Sanderson, provost and executive vice president and chief operating officer. “It is extremely significant for us to be No. 15 in our region in that publication because that gets people to come look deeper into who we are.”
This ranking is Union’s highest ever and is the 14th straight year the annual publication has ranked Union among the best in the South.
“The market may not know us as well, so this raises awareness for employers of the kind of graduates that are coming,” Sanderson said.
Brad Boswell, senior Christian ethics and economics double major, said he has thought about the significance of the U.S. News and World Report ranking as he approaches graduation.
“With Union becoming more prominent even on the national scale, having a degree from Union University is meaning more and more,” Boswell said.
“The further up in the rankings we go, the more heads will turn and the more people will say, ‘Oh, I know that school, I’m impressed with that school.’”
While some graduating seniors are beginning the job search, others are applying to graduate schools.
“I’m hoping … that it will help me out as I’m looking at graduate schools because of the recognition,” Boswell said of Union’s ranking. “It’s going to be drawing in good students and sending out well-prepared students. All of that will be helpful for people in my situation, looking for grad school.”
This ranking will also recruit students who are looking for a challenging and healthy environment for their college experience. Sanderson said one of the biggest transformations she is seeing at the university is the caliber of students and faculty applying to be a part of what is taking place on campus.
“These days, there’s momentum building,” Sanderson said. “The academic profile we have gets better every year. Your excellence breeds our applicant pool, and the same is true on the faculty side.”
When Sanderson first arrived at Union, the school was attracting good faculty, but mostly those just beginning their career. Now it is attracting veterans who “see the excellence of Union and … want to be a part of it,” Sanderson said.
In addition to being ranked No. 15 in the region, the university was also named as one of 68 up-and-coming universities in America and ranked in the top-86 teaching institutions in the United States. Union joins Elon University and Belmont University as the only institutions named in Tennessee.
The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities ranked Union fourth behind Wheaton College, Baylor University and Taylor University. It was also named as one of four colleges of distinction in Tennessee and one of only four in the state to be ranked by the Princeton Review.