Engineering program named 44th by US News
By Clark Mindock
Earlier this month, Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) engineering department was ranked 44th within the top 50 schools in the country that do not offer graduate studies by US News, one of the oldest college ranking guides
in the country. The engineering department at NAU is no stranger to being ranked, but
hasn’t had the honor since 2008.
Prior to the 2008-2012 dry spell, NAU Engineering had been ranked five years in a row by the publication. Other NAU programs that US News has also ranked include
the graduate programs in history,nursing,biological sciences and business.
“I think that NAU [Engineering] offers some distinct advantages,” said Gabriel Murray, a senior environmental engineering major and president of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society at NAU. “I’m satisfied. We have a fairly diverse teaching staff [and] diverse faculty. They cover quite a broad range of engineering disciplines.” Other merits mentioned were the quality of professors and “up until recently, small class sizes.”
US News began ranking colleges in 1983 and has been dubbed the “granddaddy of U.S. college rankings” because of the influence the organization has had on other ranking services and for its high standards of operation. This notoriety has a practical effect on schools as well: a one-rank improvement for a school generally leads to a 0.9 percent increase in applicants for the program the next year.
“We are very proud of the recognition that our engineering program has received from US News & World Report,” said Paul Jagodzinski, dean of the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences, to Inside NAU. “The strength of our program lies in the dedication of the faculty to providing personal attention to our students and to the faculty constantly revising the curricula so that our students are well-positioned to be productive employees when they enter the workforce.”
While the idea of ranking large institutions such as universities and colleges may sound like an arbitrary process, the approach to rankings is fairly straight forward. To determine rankings, information is generally gathered in two ways — a broadly dispersed survey and a look at the school’s website. Opinion surveys of faculty and administrators from other universities are often considered as well.