Our region’s four-year colleges and universities fared well in the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report — yet another indication that over the long haul, the tri-county region’s economy is likely to be stable and that our tradition of successful entrepreneurship remains intact.
For the record, five of the region’s four-year institutions of higher education are among the top 100 in the nation in their respective categories, according to the latest rankings from U.S. News. The magazine’s annual survey is the nation’s leading authority on these highly subjective matters.
U.S. News ranks schools separately according to whether they’re considered research universities or liberal arts colleges and whether they’re national or regional in scope. UC Santa Barbara placed 39th on the list of national universities, tied with its sister campus at UC Davis.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was tied for sixth on the list of regional universities for the western United States. California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks was 18th on that list — an impressive showing by the region’s largest private university.
The region is also home to two of U.S. News’ top 100 national liberal arts colleges: Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula was No. 71, and Westmont College was No. 99.
We have no doubt that as it expands and gains a longer track record of success, CSU Channel Islands will also edge its way into the regional rankings.
The graduates of these institutions will be the civic and business leaders of the future and we expect that many of them will choose to live in the region, or perhaps establish businesses here after their careers flourish elsewhere.
There’s another lesson here as well — in a time of state budget cuts and constrained fundraising from the private sector, these institutions simply cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Colleges and universities must continue to attract talent, invest, build new facilities and change with the times in order to remain at the cutting edge.