dem wrote:After reading about the March ASW, I am really intrigued by the rude question and the great response thing to which everyone refers. Is anyone willing to share with us what was asked and was was said? I doubt the April ASW's Q&A will be as controversial. Plus it'd be nice to hear what the dean had to say.
The question was basically "how do you explain UMich's consistent decline in the rankings?"
The main gist of Dean Caminker's cavalcade of criticisms toward the USNWR rankings is that they're not indicative of the quality of the schools. He went to bat for Harvard, saying that it was ridiculous to think that they're only 92% as good as Yale (The "scores" on USNWR are 100 for Yale and 92 for Harvard). He also went to bat for Boalt saying that nothing significant happened to put Boalt down into the low teens and then back up to 6, that they're the same, high-quality school.
He also pointed out that 10% of the USNWR score is dollars spent/student, and not even dollars spent toward improving education for students (the infamous "doilies" remark )--also not indicative of overall school quality. This explained the small private school bias inherent in the USNWR very effectively (more money spent/fewer students). The jab toward NU was well-deserved, saying that dramatically overhauling your school's program to milk the rankings shows that you're either:
1) In desperate need of improvement
2) Going way out of your depth, and compromising the quality of your education, to go up a few spots in some magazine's rankings
Basically he, and everyone else during the weekend, was saying that if a school is t10, they're not going to do you wrong, and that you should choose a school based on your own personal fit. During the academia/clerkship panel, the faculty advisor even flat out said go to Harvard or Yale if you want to clerk/go into academia and that's what's most important to you.