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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “To attract the top students, brag more”

    The UA Department of Communication may be derided as a catchall for Eller College of Management rejects, but according to the National Communication Association, its doctoral programs rank as high as No. 10 in the nation. Who knew?

    Also relatively unknown: The UA philosophy department is “”generally recognized among the best philosophy programs in the country,”” according to the department’s Web site. The Philosophical Gourmet’s annual report ranks the UA’s department at No. 13 in the country, ahead of such institutions as Brown University, Yale University and Cornell University.

    Of course, you wouldn’t be accused of gross ignorance for missing the fact; no one says anything about it.

    Essentially, while Eller crows at every distinction (Eller’s MBA program most recently came in at No. 34 in The Financial Times’ global MBA rankings) – and everyone knows the astronomy, optics and planetary sciences programs at the UA are trail-blazing cash-generators – the rest of the university seems utterly indifferent to bragging about its achievements.

    Pick up a UA Viewbook, the UA’s foremost sales pitch to prospective students, and you won’t even find a table of undergraduate and graduate programs’ national rankings. Instead, we get this rather bizarre inquiry: “”What is the most exciting part about attending college for the first time? The freedom!”” (Read: Get ready to party, folks!)

    Academic excellence, program rankings, faculty awards, the value of a UA degree, why the UA is superior to the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan or even Arizona State University – these things are left by the wayside for platitudes about students’ “”freedom to explore.””

    The University of California at Los Angeles, by contrast, wastes no time in making itself attractive to elite students. “”You feel it on the first day,”” its viewbook declares in enormous, eye-catching font. “”You’re in an amazing place – a great research university, one of the nation’s truly elite institutions, with everything in Extra Large.””

    The UA Viewbook, by comparison, seems confused. “”Discover your own path to success,”” the UA Viewbook urges us, even as it gives no guidance as to which departments and colleges are preparing students for that “”path to success.””

    In an increasingly competitive environment for the brightest minds, the UA isn’t selling itself as an academic hotspot deserving of your tuitiondollars. And thus, more often than not, the UA is undeservedly written off as a sub-standard academic institution.

    As the university heads into the middle of the spring semester – and the apex of the admissions and recruiting season – the UA should take some advice in brand management from its No. 21 marketing program: Brag more. Not about the weather or the “”freedom”” to party or “”building community,”” but about the things that really matter to high-achieving students: rankings, opportunities and the value of a UA degree.

    The UA is an elite institution. It’s time for it to start acting like one.

    Opinions Board
    Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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