University’s Engineering program ranked number four in the world

By Fatima Farha

One of the largest engineering colleges in the nation, the College of Engineering here at the University is also one of the best. In the past few years, it has made it to the list of top 10 engineering schools in the nation, according to the college’s website.

Recently, it was recognized as number four on the list of top 25 engineering schools in the world, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

“I think it’s wonderful to be able to see an institution be recognized the way it has, the way it should be,” said Stephen Boppart, professor of bioengineering. “I think that this is a very special place. I think the people here, the faculty and the staff, the students, really have the goals to change the world and make our lives for the better.”

Boppart, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Engineering at the University, said he believes this program is unique because of how collaborative and collegial it is.

He said the ability of the various schools within the college to collaborate, not just with the other engineering programs but also other departments in other colleges, gives the engineers here an advantage over others.

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“While we have different departments and different colleges, we have very low boundaries,” Boppart said.

Boppart said collaborations that take place between faculty and students from different departments is not only the reason why engineering is such a high quality program, but also the reason why many initiatives have been made possible throughout the years.

Rohit Bhargava, professor of bioengineering, said such collaborative efforts, where different disciplines can come together to make an idea even better, made the newly established College of Medicine a reality. This new addition to the University’s graduate programs will combine engineering and medicine for a new direction in the study of medicine.

“We have reached a point where doing health care without engineering approaches is unsustainable going forward,” Bhargava said. “It’s both a challenge for engineering to handle something that complex. It’s also something that is absolutely needed in medicine for us to have good medical care in the future.”

Andrew Bower, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, said opportunities to work with students from other departments provides different perspectives on the various research and initiatives taking place.

“I see a lot of individual, one on one interaction that I never thought I would see at such a large institution,” Bower said. “This is a big reason why I knew this was such a great program when I got here, it’s because of all the amount of devotion and time and effort for the students.”

Joanne Li, graduate student in bioengineering, said professors are open to many different kinds of ideas, and are always willing to listen to what students want to study.

“You can have crazy ideas and likely you will find a professor here agreeing with you and saying, ‘Let’s try these crazy ideas,’” Li said.

Spencer Norwick, freshman in mechanical engineering, said this ranking “speaks volumes in itself” and showed him that he made the right decision when he chose to attend the University.

The professors, students, resources and facilities here, Norwick said, will give him an “unbelievable” experience.

“Its status as such a prominent research university is going to draw more skilled and more experienced faculty,” he said. “So I will be taking classes under professors that people around the world did their research with and look up to.”

Bill Bell, executive director for communications and marketing in the College of Engineering, said while the ranking is important and something the program is happy with, it really reflects just how much the students and faculty have worked to make it here today.

Bell said the college’s large community gives it another advantage over other schools because it is able to produce more engineers and have more professors to educate and work with students. However, he said it also allows the students to work together and foster the collaborative community it is so well known for.

“And with any of these rankings, I think the important thing to keep in mind is that we’re always very excited and happy to be featured on these lists,” Bell said. “But what it really reflects in the more important part is the success, the education and the experiences that are given to the students and the leadership that our faculty has in teaching and in research.”

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