Date:         Sun, 9 Sep 2001 12:28:54 -0400
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
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Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen

From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
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               TOURBUS Volume 7, Number 14 -- 9 Sep 2001
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    More College Rankings / This Old Browser
Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from beautiful Tuscaloosa,
Alabama, a small, moustache-looking fish often used as a pizza
topping.  :P
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  PLEASE
take a moment to thank each of our sponsors for keeping our little bus
of Internet happiness on the road week after week.
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On with the show ...
More College Rankings
A couple of weeks ago I told you about the Princeton Review's rankings
of 331 of the United States' major colleges and universities
[at ], warning that the
rankings were extraordinarily unscientific.  Princeton Review's
rankings are certainly entertaining, but few people -- and even fewer
colleges and universities -- take these rankings seriously.
The rankings list that everyone *DOES* take seriously -- or at least
the list that generates the most attention both inside and outside the
higher education community -- is US News & World Report's annual list
of America's Best Colleges.  This year's list was recently posted
online at .
US News & World Report uses seven indicators to generate each school's
      1. Academic Reputation - how the presidents, provosts, and deans
         of admissions from rival institutions rate the reputation of
         that school.
      2. Retention - the school's freshman and six-year retention
      3. Faculty Resources - average class sizes, faculty salaries, and
         so on.
      4. Student Selectivity - how difficult it is for students to gain
         admission to that school.
      5. Financial Resources - how much the school spends per student.
      6. Graduation Rate Performance - the difference between the
         school's predicted graduation rate and the actual graduation
      7. Alumni Giving Rate - supposedly a measure of alumni
One thing that may confuse you is that instead of creating one big
list of the rankings of every US college and university, US News &
World Report created several lists ranging from "National Universities
- Doctoral" to "Comprehensive Colleges - Bachelor's."  Here is what
all of this means in English:
      - National universitiesdoctoral are schools like Princeton,
        University of Chicago, and the University of Alabama (ROLL
        TIDE!) -- research institutions that offer degrees all the way
        up to the PhD level.
      - Liberal arts collegesbachelor's are smaller schools like
        Amherst, Vassar, and Washington and Lee -- schools that
        primarily emphasize undergraduate education.
      - Universities-master's are regional schools like The Citadel,
        Xavier, and UNC Charlotte -- schools that offer undergraduate
        and masters degrees but few PhDs.
      - Comprehensive colleges-bachelor's are small schools that focus
        primarily on undergraduate education.
US News & World Report's annual list of America's Best Colleges is an
interesting read but, like the Princeton Review's rankings, it has
generated a great deal of controversy.  Amy Graham, the former
director of data research for US News & World Report, writes in the
current issue of The Washington Monthly magazine that US News & World
Report's annual list "pays scant attention to measures of learning or
good educational practices."  You can read Graham's article, titled
"Broken Ranks," at .
The New York Times editorial page has also raised some questions about
the validity of US News' rankings.  You can read the Times' comments
online at .
I think the Times' sums this whole problem up quite nicely:
      Does anyone really choose a college just by looking at U.S. News
      & World Report's annual rankings? Probably not, but universities
      still take them very much to heart.
Something to think about.  :)
This Old Browser
With all of the attention that Microsoft has received over the past
couple of weeks, it is easy to forget that there is a small but vocal
minority of Web users who would rather defrag their hard drive with a
sledge hammer than use Internet Explorer.  For the die hard Netscape
fans out there, our friends at CNET have written a wonderful guide
that shows you, step-by-step, how to tune up your old Netscape browser
without upgrading to Netscape 6 (BARF!) or succumbing to the power of
dark side (IE).  You can find the article, titled "This Old Browser:
Update and Rennovate Netscape 4.X," at .
And, if you are really nostalgic for the early days of the Web, our
friends at Netscape have an archive of all of their browsers since
version 2.0 at 
and Antony Shen has an archive that goes all the way back to Netscape
0.9B (remember *THAT*?) at .
That's it for today.  Have a safe and happy week ... and stay away
from the anchovies!  :P
    More College Rankings / This Old Browser
JAPE (noun).  A general purpose military vehicle manufactured by
American Motors during WW2 and by DaimlerChrysler today.
Usage: "You see that new Jape Liberty?  It looks like a BUG!"
[Special thanks to Dick Linder for today's wurd]
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
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