Lehigh's civil engineering program recognized among best in the world by ARWU

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) recently listed Lehigh's civil engineering program among the best in the world, topped only by programs at Tongji University of Shanghai, China, and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.

Although the third place honors marks a slip of one spot for Lehigh from its 2017 position, says Panos Diplas, P.C. Rossin Professor and chair of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) at Lehigh, the fundamentals that put Lehigh's civil engineering faculty 'on the podium' each year for this recognition are as strong as ever.

ARWU considers the number of published research in top journals and awards won by faculty, the impact of research, and the percentage of internationally-collaborated papers published. The organization is renowned for its rigorous methodology in evaluating the quality of research programs around the globe.

According to John Coulter, senior associate dean for research at Lehigh's P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, the ARWU rankings validates Lehigh's commitment to research and innovation at the cutting-edge of civil engineering.

"It is gratifying to see the contributions of Lehigh's civil engineering community recognized in this manner," says Coulter. "This year, our University launched Interdisciplinary Research Institutes (IRIs) in areas where Lehigh is poised to make lasting, substantial impact. The new Institute for Cyber Physical Infrastructure and Energy (I-CPIE) draws heavily upon our excellence in civil and structural engineering, and seeks to amplify this excellence through connections with complementary research endeavors on our campus and across Lehigh's network of partners and collaborators."

In all, some 1,200 top universities are ranked, of which 500 are published on the ARWU website. Within the context of these rankings, Lehigh is competing with departments many times its size, making its third place result even more noteworthy.

"One of Lehigh's former Presidents was fond of saying that our University often excelled when 'wrestling above its weight class,' says Diplas. "The analogy is certainly appropriate here. We are proud of our faculty's significant and sustained contributions in research and scholarly output, as well as the impact of this work in the profession through research and education."

"Our department has a long tradition of excellence in the field, reaching back to the discipline's very earliest days," he continues. "Through our current efforts in sustainable, smart, responsive infrastructure systems and resilient communities, we intend to lead the way for decades to come."

"We may not be the very largest," says Diplas, "but results like these certainly support our impact and claim of membership among the elite global research institutions in our field." 

Lehigh ATLSS Center

Lehigh's Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Center is home to the largest three-dimensional test bed in the U.S. It also features a real-time, multi-dimensional earthquake testing facility.