AEM doctoral program placed fourth in nation in NRC assessment
The Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics’ aerospace engineering doctoral program has been placed fourth in the nation overall in the recently released 2010 National Research Council (NRC) Assessment of Doctoral Research Programs. The program was also second in the specific categories of Research Activity and Student Support.
AEM Department Head, Prof. Gary Balas, reflects on the survey: “I am ecstatic with the very high standing of our aerospace engineering program in the recent NRC assessment. These results recognize what we have known; we have outstanding faculty and students who are international leaders in their areas.”
Provost Thomas E. Sullivan also praised the accomplishments of the Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics faculty. "At the University, we are very proud of the significant progress in national reputation that we have seen for the Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Department. This recognizes our outstanding faculty and the contributions they have made to the field of aerospace engineering and mechanics. The new NRC ranking reinforces the outstanding research and teaching that are core to the department. I congratulate our colleagues on this wonderful recognition and achievement.”
The NRC assessment survey focuses on three metrics: research activity, student support and diversity. The metrics associated with research activity include publications, citations, grants and awards. Additionally, our high placement in the evaluation of Student Support recognizes the department’s commitment to financially support all of our students throughout their academic career and also on the students’ degree completion and job placement statistics.
College of Science and Engineering Dean Steven Crouch remarked on the overall results for programs in the college, "The 2010 NRC assessment showed that nearly half of the College of Science and Engineering's Ph.D. programs rank as high as within the upper 10 per cent of their respective peer groups. Aerospace engineering is among these highly ranked programs -- a clear testament to years of hard work and dedication by the faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics.”
Many consider the NRC rankings to be the best rankings of doctorate programs available. The last NRC assessment of Doctoral programs was conducted in 1993 and released in 1995. The results were based on peer assessment of faculty quality. In contrast, the 2010 assessment is considered to be more data-driven. Institutions, doctoral programs, faculty, and students completed separate questionnaires that solicited various data elements not included in the previous assessment (e.g. time-to-degree, student financial support). Balas comments that while these questionnaires were solicited in 2005, the data for the department has only improved since then, further indicating the department’s continued growth and success. “The College and University share the credit for their support and investment to keep our program strong,” said Balas.
The NRC is one of the four organizations that make up the United States National Academies.
For full results and the University’s report, click here.