Report ranks College of Engineering as 20th in nation among public schools


Hoover Hall and Black Engineering Building were temporarily evacuated Thursday because a 2-inch natural gas line was ruptured by a contractor doing excavation work.

Katie Grunewald

Iowa State’s College of Engineering has been ranked 20th among public universities.

U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 “America’s Best Colleges” ranking have been announced, and the College of Engineering moved up from 22nd to 20th among other public universities who offer a doctorate degree in the highest level.

“There are a ton of rankings published, and there are two different rankings that we really pay attention to,” said Ann Wilson, director of engineering college relations. “The undergraduate rankings that come out in September, and the graduate rankings that come out in March.”

When compared to all of the national universities, U.S. News ranks Iowa State’s undergraduate engineering program 35th overall — an eight-way tie — an improvement from 39th last year.

Wilson explained the process of getting these rankings together and published consists of other deans and college leaders voting. U.S. News takes all of the numbers and rankings and puts them together to establish the rankings

“Some people will say these rankings don’t really matter, and some people say it’s great,” Wilson said. “Look at our numbers this year. We hit a record. Anytime there is a ranking, you obviously want to be ranked high.”

In biological and agricultural engineering, Iowa State is ranked fourth among all national universities and fourth among public universities. In materials engineering, Iowa State is ranked ninth among public universities and 15th among all national universities.

Gary Mirka, associate dean of undergraduate and graduate educations for the used when recruiting prospective students.

“We will boast that we have a high quality undergraduate program that is just not from the state of Iowa, but a regional school that also has a high international student population,” Mirka said. “When we have a publication like U.S. News that’s able to publicize to the world the quality of our college to the world, its an important recruiting tool.”

Wilson agreed, but thinks there are several other tools the college can use when it comes to recruiting new students. 

“We do a lot of recruiting, and we have this information on our college website, we put that up right away,” Wilson said. “Sometimes, we quote these ranking in our recruitment materials. It’s always something that we’re proud of, but it’s not something that we rely on to promote our college.”

When asked what the other deans and other college leaders saw in Iowa State’s engineering program, Wilson described what the college itself was most proud.

“We’re really proud of our international reputation, the academics that we offer our students and the 95 percent career placement rate that we have when students when they graduate,” Wilson said.

The College of Engineering is not the only ISU college ranked by U.S. News, and the university as a whole has been ranked in the top 50.

“This is a really nice recognition of a culmination of hard work by faculty and students,” Mirka said. “This was also demonstrated in the fantastic career fair that just ended [Tuesday] where there was a record number of companies and a record number of students who participated; it shows that it all goes full circle.”