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Longitudinal Study Of U.S. News Rankings Of Engineering Programs In Institutions Without Doctoral Programs In Engineering

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Curriculum Innovation

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.901.1 - 11.901.19



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Paper Authors


James Farison Baylor University

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Dr. Jim Farison is currently professor and chair of the ECE Department at Baylor University, and is also administratively responsible for Baylor's B.S. in Engineering program. He currently serves as chair of ASEE's Multidisciplinary Engineering Division, and is a member of the ASEE Accreditation Activities Committee. He received his B.S.E.E. from the University of Toledo and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, before returning to serve on the faculty at UT in the EE and then the Bioengineering departments, and including 10 years as dean of engineering in between, before moving to Baylor in 1998. He is a senior member of IEEE and holds PE registration in Ohio and Texas.

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Carmen Li Shen Baylor University

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Ms. Carmen C. Li Shen is currently a senior engineering student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University, Waco, TX. She is a member of the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical and Computer Engineering national honor society and of Golden Key honor society, and serves as the SWE chapter webmaster and the IEEE Student Branch historian at Baylor. Carmen was born in Ecuador and came to the United States in 2002. She is planning on graduate school after her May 2006 graduation.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Longitudinal Study of U.S. News Rankings of Engineering Programs in Institutions without Doctoral Programs in Engineering


One of the questions engineering educators are often asked by their various constituencies is “How does your program rank nationally?” For the subject group of engineering programs (those without doctoral programs in engineering at their institution), the highly publicized annual U.S. News rankings are often cited—or rationalized—depending on the most recent rankings. In the U.S. News survey, each respondent is asked to rate the listed programs from 5 (highest) to 1 (lowest). In this paper, the authors explore the variability of the U.S. News ratings and rankings of bachelor’s degree programs in engineering in institutions that do not offer doctoral programs in engineering. Specifically, this paper explores the variation of these annual ratings and rankings from year to year, institution by institution (but without specific institutional identification, which is not the purpose of the paper) and provides graphical data that illustrates the amount and a discussion that indicates the reason for some of this variability.


The context for this study is provided by the following paragraph quoted from a 2005 ASEE Annual Conference paper:

“Figure 1 shows the U.S. News & World Report ranking (with average ratings from 4.4 to 2.6) for the 53 top-rated engineering programs, according to the 2004 survey results. Institutions are not identified, but are represented by their respective ranking. With the relative flatness of the curve, one can easily see that a small change in rating could mean a considerable change in ranking. Indeed, since the rating is based on the average to one decimal, a one-hundredth difference in the average of the participants’ ratings could mean a one-tenth change in rating. This, in turn, could mean no change or a jump of up to nine positions in the resulting ranking (e.g., from 30 to 21, or vice versa).” 1

The current paper explores that observation with a longitudinal (temporal) analysis, with both temporal graphs and statistical measures of the rating and ranking results over a four-year period. The results illustrate the considerable variability of these ratings and rankings of engineering programs from year to year. If one grants the premise that the quality of most baccalaureate programs in engineering do not vary significantly from year to year, then much of this annual variability could be attributed to the method by which the rankings are determined. This perspective would then be important in the inferences, interpretations and judgments of the various constituencies that use these rankings.

This analysis may be of particular interest to those institutions that offer a multidisciplinary engineering baccalaureate program in engineering, general engineering, engineering physics, or engineering science, as many of these are institutions that do not offer doctoral programs in engineering and are therefore included in this list.

Farison, J., & Li Shen, C. (2006, June), Longitudinal Study Of U.S. News Rankings Of Engineering Programs In Institutions Without Doctoral Programs In Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--199

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015