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Few topics in social work are as contentious as graduate program rankings. If history is any guide, publication of the 2012 U.S. News & World Report rankings will lead to a predictable set of behaviors on the part of social work schools and departments. Top-ranked programs will trumpet their rankings far and wide while schools with low rankings grouse about the methodological inadequacies and sheer absurdity of the rankings enterprise or ignore them altogether. Schools with mediocre rankings will reframe them as stellar achievements, declaring, for example, that they are the "tenth-ranked public school of social work in the western U.S. region." Although they may disdain them, it is clear from these reactions that many social work deans, directors, and faculty members consider rankings influential. Rankings of social work graduate programs were first published by Margulies and Blau (1973) and Jarayatne (1979). Since that time, programs have been ranked with regard to the publishing prowess of their faculties (for example, Lignon, Jackson, & Thyer, 2007), student selectivity (Kirk, Kil, & Corcoran, 2009), academic reputation (for example, Green, Baskind, Fassler, & Jordan, 2006), and other purported indicants of scholarly productivity, influence, arid excellence (for example, Feldman, 2006).The most prominent of these efforts are the U.S. News & World Report rankings, which were first published in 1994 and have been published subsequently in 2000, 2004, and 2008 (data collection is underway for the 2012 rankings). In 2008, the five top-ranked programs (of more than 200 Council on Social Work Education [CSWE]-accredited graduate programs) were, in descending order, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Michigan, University of Chicago, Columbia University, and University of Washington (the latter two schools tied for fourth).

December 1
National Association of Social Workers
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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