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UD doctoral programs rank among nation’s best

11:18 a.m., Feb. 27, 2007--In a new, quantitative analysis of the quality of doctoral programs at research universities across the nation, the University of Delaware ranks in the top 10 in four major disciplines.

Academic Analytics' 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity (FSP) Index places UD ninth in animal science and 10th in both soil science and in kinesiology and exercise science.

UD was also ranked fifth in horticulture, a field in which UD is known for its Longwood Graduate Program in public horticulture, which offers a master's degree.

Additionally, UD ranks 14th nationwide in the index's top 20 schools of agricultural sciences.

Using a statistical set of algorithms developed by faculty at Stony Brook University, the FSP Index measures the scholarly productivity of faculty based on the journal articles and books they publish, as well as their journal citations, federal research grants, and awards and honors received. Rankings are based on the cumulative scoring of a program's faculty using these measures compared against national standards within disciplines.

The latest index reviewed 177,816 faculty at 354 universities across the United States. Scopus and Amazon.com were used for identifying journal and book publication data, federal agencies and their web sites for grant information and the web sites of 55 organizations for information on awards and honors. The results were highlighted in the Jan. 12 Chronicle of Higher Education.

“The University of Delaware is committed to excellence across the academic spectrum,” UD Provost Dan Rich said. “These latest national rankings provide another means of benchmarking the productivity of our faculty and the quality of our graduate programs.”

UD was one of 166 institutions in the large research university category, classified as having 15 or more doctoral programs, compared to small research universities and specialized research institutions. Currently, 43 doctoral programs are offered at UD.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is home to UD's programs in animal science, horticulture, and soil science, which ranked in the top 10 within their disciplines in the latest FSP Index.

The Ph.D. in animal science is offered at UD, while students interested in pursuing a doctorate in soil science matriculate in the plant and soil sciences program, which offers a concentration in a variety of areas including soil science.

The college also was distinguished by its placement in the top 20 schools of agricultural sciences, ranking behind such institutions as the University of California-Davis, Cornell, Iowa State and Purdue, but ahead of Michigan State University, Rutgers, Penn State and others.

"Avian biology, soil and environmental quality and public horticulture are foci of excellence in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and we are delighted to see these programs recognized nationally,” Robin Morgan, dean of the college, said.

“These programs share a commitment to excellence, the use of state-of-the-art technology, and the application of research-based information to practical problems and emerging issues in the region and beyond," Morgan noted.

UD also was highly rated for kinesiology and exercise science, ranking 10th in the discipline.

The Ph.D. is offered at UD through the Biomechanics and Movement Science Program, a 12-year-old interdisciplinary program involving 41 faculty in three colleges: Arts and Sciences (Physical Therapy and Biological Sciences), Engineering (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Center for Biomedical Engineering Research), and Health Sciences.

“The citations and millions of grant dollars generated by our talented, multifaceted faculty, including several interdisciplinary grants and many collaborative publications, set the standard for interdisciplinary graduate programs at the University and nationally,” Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Alumni Distinguished Professor and academic director of the program, said.

“The interdisciplinary Biomechanics and Movement Science Program at UD has gained world-wide recognition for the quality of its doctoral students and the research of its faculty. It is a great pleasure to work with such excellent colleagues. It provides a great opportunity for our engineering students to pursue studies in the biomedical arena," Thomas Buchanan, professor and chairperson of mechanical engineering, noted.

“We are obviously very pleased that the research productivity of our faculty has reached this level of national recognition,” Susan Hall, professor and chairperson of the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences in the College of Health Sciences, said.

Stuart Binder-Macleod, Edward L. Ratledge Professor of Physical Therapy and Chair, said, "I am so pleased to see the faculty and program receive the recognition they deserve. The Biomechanics and Movement Science program provides a great opportunity for students to receive the type of interdisciplinary graduate training that mirrors the way that virtually all fields of science are heading.  We are fortunate to have outstanding faculty members from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Health Sciences work so well together and contribute to the success of this program."

Academic Analytics was founded in 2005, the result of a collaboration between faculty and researchers at Stony Brook University and Educational Directories Unlimited Inc. The company has offices in Chester, Pa., and Stony Brook, N.Y.

Article by Tracey Bryant

Editor's Note: The article was updated at 3:34 p.m., March 7, 2007.

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