‘Nova Engineering ranked No. 10 in nation

Kate Carrubba

The College of Engineering was ranked No. 10 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s annual America’s Best College Rankings.

The ranking came in the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs category, which ranks schools without doctorate programs.

Villanova dropped down from last year’s rankings, in which the University was tied for No. 9. Dr. Gary Gabriele, dean of the College of Engineering, cites the addition of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (located in Needham, Mass.) to the list as the reason for the drop.

Villanova was also ranked according to engineering specialties. The University was in a three-way tie for No. 8 in civil engineering and a four-way tie for No. 10 in mechanical engineering.

According to U.S. News & World Report’s Web site, the rankings “are based solely on the judgments of deans and senior faculty who rated each program they are familiar with on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). Engineering school deans and faculty members (two at each engineering program) were surveyed in spring 2008.”

“It’s nice to have that recognition,” Gabriele said. He went on to say that the rankings show the quality of Villanova’s faculty and students, as well as the respect shown by its peers.

Student reactions were mostly positive.

“The fact that Villanova was ranked No. 9 was one of the main reasons that I came to Villanova,” said sophomore computer engineer Tyler Young, who said he is slightly disappointed about the drop but is still happy that the engineering school is still ranked in the top 10.

Sophomore civil engineer Dan Love was not upset by the drop in the rankings and said he is proud to be a student at such a highly ranked university. He said he was also happy about Villanova’s inclusion in the civil engineering rankings and saw them as a verification of how hard the students and professors work.

Despite Villanova’s inclusion in the rankings, Gabriele said he is still working to improve the College of Engineering.

“Engineering never sits still,” he said.

Because of this, he has formed a strategic plan to improve three areas of the engineering program.

Gabriele said he is looking to improve the diversity of faculty and students, to improve the undergraduate program to attract even more high-quality students and to build the graduate program to rival those at better-known engineering schools.

The doctoral program in the College of Engineering is too new to warrant Villanova’s inclusion in the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (with doctorate programs) category.

The program is 3 years old and has produced two graduates. It is research-based and generally takes 4 – 6 years to complete. Because the doctoral program is so small, it had no direct effect on Villanova’s current rankings.

Compared to the other schools in the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (without doctorate programs) category, Gabriele said that Villanova is one of the bigger schools, with around 900 students in the engineering program. The other top 10 schools are mostly smaller schools or service academies.

The College of Engineering features five disciplines of engineering in chemical, civil and environmental, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering. All of the engineering programs are accredited. The programs are revised using a combination of internal data and feedback from students, alumni and members of the engineering industry.