Delaware State University lands at No. 3 public and No. 9 overall HBCU in the country

Delaware's only HBCU remained among the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities ranked by U.S. News and World Report this week.

On Monday, Delaware State University shared its position as the No. 3 public and No. 9 overall among more than 100 HBCUs across the country. Though falling one position in both sections — from No. 2 and No. 8 last year — it remains the third consecutive year Delaware State has landed in the top 10 overall, and the ninth within the public rankings' top 5.

"This year’s ranking demonstrates our continued commitment to excellence in academic programming and student support services. I am proud of the work of our faculty and staff who continue to place the success of our students as their No. 1 priority,” said Provost Saundra DeLauder in a statement. “We will continue to strive to become the most diverse, contemporary HBCU in the country.”

Spelman College, Howard University and Florida A&M University secured the three top spots among private and public.

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How these fellow HBCUs — or institutions established before the Civil Rights Act aiming to foster African American students — value each other in peer evaluation, alongside a six-year graduation rate, are two significant categories in the ranking system, Delaware State said Monday. The university now shares its No. 9 spot at a tie with Claflin University in South Carolina.

Delaware State hopes to pair these rankings with continued expansion of its research portfolio and increased recruitment of male students in education. This follows growth in the Aviation Program, adding helicopter training to its roster, the launching of an Early Childhood Innovation Center, and the successful integration of Wesley College, now the home of College of Health and Behavioral Sciences at DSU Downtown.

What the university deemed "most notable" in its rankings this year were momentum in retention and graduation, social mobility — or success in graduating students from low-resource communities — innovation and leadership in undergraduate teaching.

The HBCU also unveiled some new logos last month, updating both its academic emblem and the hornet logo for university athletics. Refreshed branding was meant to capture DelState's growth over the last decade.

Students line up for move-in as upperclassmen return to campus and University Village housing at Delaware State University in Dover, Saturday, August 26, 2023.
Students line up for move-in as upperclassmen return to campus and University Village housing at Delaware State University in Dover, Saturday, August 26, 2023.

The university has also battled some student unrest on campus since winter 2023, when students protested for improved campus safety and handling of sexual assault cases. University response is reportedly ongoing, as a Safe Space Coalition formed under President Tony Allen, alongside funding for a "Safe Space Project” to be housed at DSU Downtown to assist in its sexual assault response and prevention program.

Lynda Murray-Jackson, Delaware State's associate vice president of institutional effectiveness, said the strong ranking isn't about the trials — but "is a testament to the consistent ability of our faculty and staff to deliver a quality education to our students, to achieve strong levels of student persistence, and to expand the ever-increasing profile of the institution."

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Across institutions, U.S. News general methodology has come under fire as of late. More than a dozen medical schools and more than 40 law schools ranked in the span of a few months announced earlier this year they would no longer provide information to the outlet, which has ranked such programs since 1983.

Here are the top placements of public and private HBCUs across the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2023-2024 Best Colleges rankings:

  • No. 1: Spelman College, private

  • No. 2: Howard University, private

  • No. 3: Florida A&M University, public

  • No. 4: Tuskegee University, private

  • No. 5: Morehouse College, private

  • No. 6: Xavier University of Louisiana, private

  • No. 7: Hampton University, private

  • No. 7 North Carolina A&T University, public

  • No. 9: Claflin University, private

  • No. 9: Delaware State University, public

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This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Delaware State University lands among the top 10 HBCUs in the country