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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Academics & Research

National council recognizes numerous UH programs

Comparing UH to Rice University is common on-campus, even when it comes to their chemical engineering doctoral programs.

The highly regarded National Research Council recently released rankings assessing the quality of doctoral programs. The NRC, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, ranked 5,000 doctoral programs in 62 fields at 212 institutions.

The UH chemical engineering doctoral program placed better than Rice and Texas A&M in the most recent research. UH ranked in the top 20 percent, while Rice and Texas A&M only in the top 50 percent.

In other programs, UH has eight doctoral programs in the top 50 percent, which is more than all the other emerging Texas universities combined. UH didn’t fall far behind flagship Texas universities such as Texas A&M and University of Texas at Austin.

“This success is especially remarkable given that we have significantly less resources than typical private or land-grant flagship universities,” professor of electrical and computer engineering Haluk Ogmen said.

UH also has a significant lead amongst other emerging research Texas universities such as Texas Tech, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas El Paso and University of Texas at San Antonio.

“The NRC report provides another confirmation that UH has solid research programs and is nationally competitive in many areas,” Ogmen said.

In Electrical Engineering, UT Austin and Texas A&M ranked in the 33 and 39 percentile, respectively, while UH was not far behind in the 41 percentile. Similarly, in Biochemistry, Texas A&M ranked in 53 percentile, while UH was in the 58 percentile.

The most recent survey data was collected in 2005 and 2006. Although this information is dated, the last rankings were issued 15 years ago in 1995. The delay in releasing the new rankings was due in part to the complexity of how the rankings were derived and the amount of data collected.

The data, collected through 20 key variables, include publications, citations, percent faculty with grants and awards per faculty.

Weights are placed on the variables by two different methods. One approach was a survey-based method in which hundreds of randomly chosen faculty in each field rated the importance of the variables in reflecting the quality of doctoral programs. The second approach relied on a direct rating of a relatively small sample of programs. It reflects mainly the subjective reputation and size of the doctoral programs.

The NRC assessment of doctoral programs was published based on a 5 and 95 percentile. The data collected serves as an affirmation of the program’s success and quality.

The rankings also serve to attract quality faculty and students and to achieving flagship status.

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