May 14, 2009
Rankings and Drinking
Over at Paul Caron's blog, I noticed his analysis of the Law School Party Rankings (in which Arizona State is #1, somehow edging out Tulane). Tulane's Alan Childress, in turn, ignores this anomoly and makes a fascinating observation: Sloppy as this ranking may have been, isn't there some validity in polling the consumers of our product in creating a ranking of schools? Certainly, I wish the questions in such a survey weren't about beer availability (especially since I work at Baylor), but there is the grain of an excellent idea there-- to measure consumer satisfaction in creating rankings. To be fair, I think it would be best to measure that satisfaction both among current students and alums, since we do not realize the full value of our education until we are using it in the market.
As Childress points out, the U.S. News method of polling deans and hiring chairs at the law schools which are being ranked is too often like letting the Pepsi executives rank Coke-- there is little chance of objectivity there.
It is a sad commentary to say that simply considering the satisfaction of our customers would be innovative, but I think that at too many schools that would be a fair characterization.
-- Mark Osler