Civil Engineering ranked tops in Canada

Ashraf El Damatty can think of no better motivator than when the 2017 Shanghai Rankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects tapped Western’s Department of Civil Engineering No. 1 in Canada and No. 12 globally.

“I feel very proud of my department, my faculty and staff colleagues and our students,” said El Damatty, Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “This achievement is the result of the hard work of all those individuals.”

Shanghai Ranking Consultancy is a fully independent organization dedicating to research on higher education and is not affiliated with any university or government agencies. It has been the official publisher of the Academic Ranking of World Universities since 2009.

El Damatty appreciates the Shanghai ranking methodology, one that puts an emphasis on real measures and data ­– publications in top journals, citations, international collaboration and scientific awards – rather than perception and reputation. To be included in a subject ranking, universities need to have a minimum number of research publications during the period of 2011-15. For Civil Engineering, that number was 100.

“In a strong department, you might find few star researchers. But what distinguishes Civil and Environmental Engineering at Western is, across the board, almost all faculty members are very strong researchers and among the top in their fields,” said El Damatty, adding professors and students within the department received 15 external awards in 2016. “Our scientific contributions are not only through publishing highly cited papers in top journals, but also through other impactful activities such as influencing the national and international codes of design, collaboration with industry and research commercialization.”

Damatty added his department will expand its cohort of talented faculty members this January with the addition of a Canada Research Chair, allowing them to build on their strengths and continue to establish strong links with various industries in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“The department is very active internationally through research collaborations and exchange programs both for undergraduate and graduate students,” he said. “We will continue those efforts, targeting the top universities in the world. Being internationally recognized in research related to natural disaster mitigation, as well as water and environmental issues, the department has a strong presence in a number of developing countries, such as Ghana and Cuba, and will continue and expand on such activities.”

Other Western departments and schools showing well in the 2017 Shanghai Ranking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, released earlier this fall, included:

  • Nursing, No. 3 in Canada, No. 35th globally;
  • Dentistry and Oral Sciences, No. 4 in Canada, Top 100 globally;
  • Medical Technology, No. 5 in Canada, Top 100 globally;
  • Psychology, No. 5 in Canada, Top 100 globally;
  • Library and Information Sciences, No. 5 in Canada, Top 100 globally;
  • Management, No. 6 in Canada, Top 100 globally; and
  • Economics, No. 6 in Canada, Top 150 globally.