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W&M ranks high in Princeton Review survey

  • Time to celebrate
    Time to celebrate  William & Mary's faculty, libraries and undergraduate happiness rank among the best in the country, according to the latest survey by Princeton Review.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Best college library
    Best college library  Princeton Review ranks Swem Library 7th in the nation.  
  • Happy undergrads
    Happy undergrads  Princeton Review concluded that William & Mary students are among the happiest in the country, ranking it 14th among the top 20.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Green rating
    Green rating  William & Mary's green rating jumped from 84 to 90 in this year's Princeton Review survey.  
  • World-class faculty
    World-class faculty  The college is ranked eighth in the "Professors get high marks" category in the 2010 Princeton Review.  
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William & Mary’s faculty, libraries and undergraduate happiness rank among the best in the country, according to the latest survey by Princeton Review. The College’s “green rating” also improved, increasing from a score of 84 last year to 90 (on a scale from 60-99) in the Princeton Review’s latest review of environmental sustainability efforts at colleges and universities.

The rankings list William & Mary seventh in the category of “Best College Library,” which is up from the eighth spot a year ago. The College is ranked eighth in the category of “Professors Get High Marks,” and 14th in the “Happiest Students” category. William & Mary was not listed in the top 20 of those categories last year.

“Whether the focus is on libraries, professors or students, it’s always refreshing to have William & Mary’s excellence recognized,” said President Taylor Reveley. “It’s also satisfying to see recognition of our environmental progress, thanks to the green fee and our hard working Sustainability Committee.”

The Best 371 CollegesThe rankings are part of the Princeton Review’s 2010 version of its annual guidebook, the “Best 371 Colleges,” which includes William & Mary. The Princeton Review rankings are based on surveys of more than 122,000 undergraduates across the country. Though the Princeton Review does not rank the schools individually (from 1 to 371), each one is profiled in the guidebook and surveys are used to rank top 20 schools in 62 individual categories. In addition to the green rating, William & Mary’s academic and admissions scores improved one point each to 92 and 98, respectively.

The Princeton Review “Best College Library” continues a run of success for William & Mary’s main campus library, the Earl Gregg Swem Library. Last month, the library announced its best fundraising year ever with more than $5.2 million raised in cash receipts, gifts in-kind, pledges and realized estate provisions. In 2005, the library completed an extensive renovation and expansion that transformed the 1965 168,000-square-foot building into a state-of-the-art university library facility totaling more than 268,000 square feet.

William & Mary faculty also rate very high in the Princeton Review list. According to one geology major quoted in the College’s profile,

“Professors are better than I could have imagined. They are the best teachers I have ever had. They are passionate about what they teach.” Whether it’s a large lecture class or a small seminar, the profile states, “teachers teach in the exact same manner, so it seems like all my classes are in an intimate setting.”

“In just a few short weeks at the College I have already seen why William & Mary's world-class faculty are so respected,” said William & Mary Provost Michael R. Halleran. “They care about our students and provide them the kind of individualized education that does not go unnoticed. It's great to see that students recognize this commitment to teaching and also that they appreciate the improvements and enhancements we've made to our libraries.”

The guidebook also concluded that William & Mary students are among the happiest in the country, ranking it 14th among the top 20. The College’s green grade will likely increase that level of happiness for coming year. William & Mary received a score of 84 in the guidebook’s inaugural green ratings. That number increased to 90 following a campus-wide initiative launched a year ago to improve environmental sustainability at William & Mary. In Spring 2008, students elected to charge themselves a “Green Fee” that would go toward facility improvements, student grants for research on environmental issues and a “Green Endowment.” Last fall, President Reveley appointed a Committee on Sustainability (COS) to administer the fee, which raises more than $200,000 annually. Today, the committee is one of the largest on campus and includes more than 100 staff, faculty, students and administrators in three subcommittees and 10 working groups. Efforts to date include an academic audit of sustainability in the College’s curriculum, improved environmental procurement standards, and the funding of numerous “green” facilities upgrades and student research, including HVAC upgrades in Washington and Tyler Hall and funding for undergraduate research in solar cell production in the physics department.