DATE:  August 27, 2004
CONTACT: Dr. Sandra Harper, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, (361) 825-2722;Jorge A. Ramirez, Assistant Vice President for Communications, (361) 825-2427
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi makes U.S. News & World Report’s Annual list of Nation’s Best Colleges

For the fifth time in the past seven years U.S. News & World Report has placed Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on its list of America’s Best Colleges. The national magazine also recognized the University’s first-year student experiences program and named A&M-Corpus Christi one of the top 60 schools in the Master’s Comprehensive Public Universities ranking in the Western United States.

In its just released special edition on “America’s Best Colleges,” the national magazine listed 40 colleges and universities that go beyond mere student orientation and “build into their curriculum first-year seminars or other academic programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis.” Texas A&M University (at College Station) was the only other Texas university to make the prestigious list.

"We are delighted that the U.S. News and World Report continues to recognize the quality of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi academic program and the innovative nature of the first year experience on our campus," said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sandra Harper.

During their first two semesters at A&M-Corpus Christi all first-year students are enrolled in the First-Year Learning Communities Program, which is comprised of selected groups of three (Triads) or four classes (Tetrads). These groups allow students and their professors to form learning communities that work and learn together. All the Triads and Tetrads, which consist of 25 or fewer students, include a First-Year Seminar, a First Year Writing class and one or two large lecture classes such as history and sociology.

This is the third year that U.S. News has published its list of schools with outstanding academic programs that lead to student success. After identifying eight types of programs, the publication asked college presidents, chief academic officers, and deans of students to nominate a maximum of 10 institutions that excel in each category.

The University’s first-year learning experience also received the 2001 Texas Star Award from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; in 2002 A&M-Corpus Christi was recognized as a National Institution of Excellence (one of only 13 in the country) and in 2003 was the only public University in Texas to be named a Founding Institution of Excellence in the First College Year. Both honors were designated by the national Policy Center on the First Year of College.

In ranking the master’s programs regional universities, the publication reviewed the curriculum at 572 universities in the northern, eastern, southern and western United States. Like the national universities, these universities provide a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs. Other factors in the ranking system are academic reputation, freshman retention rate, student/faculty ratios, graduation rates, average SAT scores and high school class rank of entering freshman students.