Engineering Division Rates Itself A-OK

Harvard's engineering division is doing its job well, even though it isn't impressively ranked on American Council of Education surveys.

That's the implication of the annual report by Harvey Brooks, dean of Engineering and Applied Physics, issued this week.

The report shows that although the number of concentrators in engineering continued to decline last year, concentrators in the newer, "related" field of Applied Mathematics increased enough to show a total yearly gain for both fields combined.

"The two concentrations apparently draw on somewhat the same population of students, and the Division faculty is heavily involved in the Applied Mathematics program," Brooks writes in the report.

He cites similar statistics for graduate degrees. Many Ph.D. students take Engineering division courses and work with Division faculty members, but still choose to take their degrees in GSAS departments such as Applied Mathematics, Brooks says.

Dept. Too Broad

It is this diffuseness which hurt Harvard's engineering rating (and its overall rating) on the ACE graduate school ratings last Spring, Frederick K. Willenbrock, associate dean of Engineering and Applied Physics, said yesterday.

The questions on the survey were geared for schools with well-defined, "conventional" engineering departments, Willenbrock said.

The literal size of the engineering division faculty is much smaller than at giants like M.I.T., Berkeley, and Illinois, he said, and with the introduction of the Applied Mathematics major it is seemingly smaller.

About three-fourths of the Applied Math faculty is officially on the engineering division faculty.

"We really should be the division of Engineering. Applied Physics, and Applied Mathematics," Willenbrock said, "but it just makes the name awfully long."

Also, he added, there are some GSAS members, such as Robert Dorfman, professor of Economics, who serve in Applied Mathematics but are not in the Division.

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