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Lehigh ranks among nation’s top 10 ChE producers

Lehigh’s department of chemical engineering ranked with the nation’s “top 10 chemical engineering producers” of M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in a survey published recently by Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN).

C&EN is a weekly magazine published by the American Chemical Society (ACS), an international organization of 160,000 chemists and chemical engineers.

Anthony McHugh, the Ruth H. and Sam Madrid Professor and Chair of chemical engineering, attributed the department’s high marks to its research-intensive graduate programs and to the national and international recognition gained by many of the department’s 16 full-time faculty members.

McHugh also noted that Lehigh’s department consistently ranks among the top chemical engineering departments nationwide in surveys of citations per paper in ISI-indexed journals of chemical engineering.

In the C&EN survey, Lehigh’s chemical engineering department ranked ninth in the number of Ph.D. graduates produced and 10th in the number of master’s-degree graduates produced.

The survey was based on the 2002-03 academic year, when 13 students earned Ph.D.s and 19 earned M.S. degrees from Lehigh’s chemical engineering department.

Doctoral Graduates (Survey by C&EN)

1 Massachusetts Inst. of Technology 23
2 Purdue U 21
3 Carnegie Mellon U 19
4 Texas U of Austin 19
5 Texas A & M, College Station 17
6 Florida U 15
7 Illinois, U of Urbana-Champaign 14
7 North Carolina State U 14
9 LEHIGH 13
9 Houston, U 13
9 Delaware, U 13



Master's Graduates (Survey by C&EN)

1 Massachusetts Inst. of Technology 34
2 Stanford U 28
3 Michigan, U of Ann Arbor 27
4 Houston, U 22
5 Southern California, 22
6 Carnegie Mellon U 20
6 Illinois, U of Urbana-Champaign 20
6 Lamar U 20
6 Louisville, U 20
10 LEHIGH 19
10 Illinois Inst. Of Technology 19



A total of 130 U.S. universities offered master’s degrees in chemical engineering in 2003 and 116 offered the Ph.D., according to ACS. A total of 1,036 students earned master’s degrees in the field, while 534 earned the Ph.D.

Lehigh’s chemical engineering department currently enrolls 60 Ph.D. candidates and almost the same number of master’s-degree candidates, McHugh said. Some of the master’s candidates attend part-time through the university’s distance-education program.

The department recruits students through its web site, through contacts at other chemical engineering departments in the U.S., through Lehigh alumni, and by word-of-mouth, said McHugh, who came to Lehigh in 2002 after serving 24 years as a faculty member and endowed professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The department maintains academic and research strengths in the traditional areas of chemical engineering, including polymers and emulsion polymers, polymer processing, process control and modeling, and applied surface science and catalysis, said McHugh.

In recent years, he added, the department has increased its profile in the emerging field of bioengineering and biotechnology.

Much of the groundwork for the department’s current success, McHugh said, was laid by John Chen, the Carl R. Anderson Professor of chemical engineering, who chaired the department for most of the 1980s.

“We have vigorous, quality programs,” said McHugh, “many of which date back to when John Chen served as chairman. John did some studies and found that the top chemical engineering programs in the U.S. gained their reputation on the basis of their strong graduate programs. John played a key role in giving our department a dual emphasis in teaching and research.”

Another factor in the department’s high ranking, said McHugh, is the large number of national and international honors that Lehigh’s chemical engineering faculty consistently receive, along with the active roles that faculty play at conferences and symposia.

In recent years, chemical engineering faculty have won multiple awards from ACS and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the top two professional organizations in the field, along with awards from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and several catalysis societies. One professor – Shivaji Sircar – has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Professor Chen is also president-elect of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

The department has also been invigorated by the recent appointments of four new faculty – professor Anand Jagota and assistant professors James Gilchrist, Ian Laurenzi and Padma Rajagopalan.

Jagota also serves as director of Lehigh’s Bioengineering and Applied Life Sciences Program.

Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005

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