Lafayette engineering department moves up in this year’s college rankings

William Gordon

Lafayette’s engineering department jumped 16 places in this year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings.

The college moved from 30 to 14 in the past year according to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Undergraduate Engineering Program Rankings. Also ranked 14 with Lafayette were Aeronautical University in Prescott, Kettering University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Santa Clara University, Swarthmore College, Union College, University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, and University of San Diego.

“I think what we’re doing is telling our story quite a bit more effectively,” Director of the Engineering Division Scott Hummel said.

Some of the ways Lafayette’s engineering department is telling their story are the faculty’s participation in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), faculty research, and Hummel traveling off-campus to talk about the engineering program.

The rankings are based on surveys given to the directors of the engineering programs of colleges in the undergraduate engineering peer group, which is a group of colleges that do not offer a Ph.D. in engineering. Respondents were instructed to rate each of the engineering programs of the colleges they are acquainted with from one to five, with five being the best.

“Many people question the science behind the U.S. News Report because it’s just based on reputation, it’s not based on anything really quantitative,” Hummel said.

Still, he acknowledges the importance of the U.S. News ranking system.

“People question the validity of the results, but one can’t question [the ranking system’s] wide use,” Hummel said.