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U.S. News & World Report ranks UW-Eau Claire as the top public regional university in Wisconsin

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo caption: UW-Eau Claire is the top-ranked public comprehensive university in Wisconsin, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Colleges report. The report also recognizes UW-Eau Claire’s excellence in numerous other specialty rankings and lists, including for innovation, teaching, value and undergraduate research. (Photo by Shane Opatz)

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is the top-ranked public comprehensive university in Wisconsin, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Colleges report.

In its report released today, U.S. News ranks UW-Eau Claire first among public regional universities in the state, seventh among public schools in the Midwest and in the top two of public regional universities in Wisconsin and Minnesota. This is the 28th consecutive year U.S. News has named UW-Eau Claire a top Midwestern public university.

This year, UW-Eau Claire also earned high rankings on most of U.S. News’ specialty lists, including “Most Innovative,” “Top Performers for Social Mobility” and “Best Value Schools.” Several UW-Eau Claire academic programs also are recognized in this year’s rankings, as is the university’s undergraduate research program.

“I’m proud that year after year U.S. News recognizes that UW-Eau Claire is among the very best of the colleges and universities in the Midwest,” Chancellor James Schmidt says. “This year’s overall and specialty rankings highlight the extraordinary work our faculty and staff do to ensure that every Blugold has the knowledge and experiences they need to excel in college and in their careers and lives after they graduate.”

Schmidt says he’s especially excited to see UW-Eau Claire ranked ninth on the list of “Most Innovative Schools” in the Midwest. It’s one of just four public schools to make the list, which includes 19 Midwestern institutions.

Schools on the “Most Innovative” list are universities the “public should be watching because of cutting-edge changes the colleges are making on their campuses,” according to the U.S. News website.

“Our innovative approach to teaching and learning is literally changing the lives of our students and the lives of people living in communities throughout western Wisconsin,” Schmidt says. “UW-Eau Claire’s willingness to think creatively is reflected in everything from our research collaboration with Mayo Clinic Health System to our Workforce Innovation Grant project, which is helping to address teaching, nursing, small business development and other critical needs in rural areas throughout the region.”

UW-Eau Claire’s innovative spirit also is reflected in its inclusion in the report’s “Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects” list, Schmidt says. The university is one of just 62 public and private colleges and universities from across the U.S. to make this year’s list.

UW-Eau Claire is one of three schools from Minnesota or Wisconsin — and the only public institution from either state — to make the list that highlights excellence in undergraduate research.

“It’s even more impressive when you see that the short list of schools includes many internationally known schools like MIT, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke and Stanford,” Schmidt says. “So, we are in exceptionally good company — which is right where we belong given the incredible undergraduate research our faculty and students do every day.”

UW-Eau Claire’s nationally recognized undergraduate research program will gain even more attention next spring when the university hosts the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, an event that will bring about 4,000 undergraduate researchers and their faculty mentors to campus.

The 2023 U.S. News rankings also acknowledge the work UW-Eau Claire is doing to help close the opportunity and equity gap for low-income, first-generation college students by ensuring they have the financial and other support they need to gain access to and graduate from college, Schmidt says.

U.S. News included UW-Eau Claire on its “Best Value Schools” and “Top Performers on Social Mobility” lists, rankings that consider, among other things, the amount of financial support made available to students with need and the extent schools enroll and graduate students who receive Pell Grants, most of whom come from households with family incomes below $20,000.

UW-Eau Claire also is ranked 15th among regional Midwestern universities that made the “Best Colleges for Veterans” list, and it is one of 27 Midwestern schools included on the “A+ Schools for B students” list, which includes schools that admit a meaningful number of students who don't have perfect grades in high school.

“We provide motivated students from many backgrounds with an opportunity to get a quality college education that won’t leave them with significant debt,” Schmidt says. “Our hope is that every Blugold will have the financial and academic support they need to graduate with a degree that will help them achieve their career and life goals after college.”

UW-Eau Claire also ranks eighth in the Midwest on the “Undergraduate Teaching” list that recognizes the value of quality teaching at the undergraduate level. Just 34 schools made the Midwest list, and UW-Eau Claire is one of two public universities included in the top 10 schools on the list.

“Everything we accomplish as a university is because of our talented faculty and staff who put student learning first in all that they do,” Schmidt says. “They’re eager to share their knowledge and expertise with students, whether they are leading a spirited discussion in the classroom, solving a real-world problem through research or mentoring students during an immersion in another part of the world.”

U.S. News also recognized several UW-Eau Claire academic programs in its 2023 rankings, including:

  • Best Undergraduate Engineering. UW-Eau Claire ranks 87th on a list of 230 schools from across the country that offer undergraduate engineering programs but not doctoral programs.
  • Best Undergraduate Nursing. UW-Eau Claire’s undergraduate nursing program ranks 93rd out of 680 universities from across the U.S.
  • Best of Business. UW-Eau Claire is ranked 283rd out of 515 U.S. colleges and universities on the report’s main business rankings list. It’s among the top eight public or private schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota on the list.

“Taken together, all of these 2023 U.S. News & World Report rankings and lists tell a wonderful story of a public regional university accomplishing extraordinary things,” Schmidt says. “While this report is just one measure of our success, our students, faculty, staff and alumni should be proud that the work we are doing together to change lives and communities is being recognized in this way.”