A recent survey of approximately 4000 faculty members at four-year colleges and universities ranked faculty members of seven Harvard departments as "best" in the nation.
The respondents named Harvard first in the Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Economics, History, Medicine, Philosophy and Political Science departments.
Seymour Martin Lipset, a sociology professor at Stanford University and Everett C. Ladd, researcher at the University of Connecticut's Social Data Center, conducted the survey.
Lipset and Ladd sent the questionnaire to randomly selected schools and faculty members in 1977, asking the respondents to rank "the five departments nationally in your discipline that have the most distinguished faculties."
Although Harvard had the most departments rated as "best," the University trailed Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley in the total number of departments ranked in the top five.
The University of Michigan followed closely with 15 departments ranked in the top five. Yale University tied the University of Chicago with 12. The questionnaire's results are similar to the findings of two previous surveys: the 1964 Cartter survey and the Roose-Anderson survey conducted in 1969. "There is a rough reputational consensus in scholarly performance and achievement." Ladd said, though he emphasized the Ladd-Lipset study used different methods than the other two studies.
Ladd said the survey was "not at all an attempt to get the adequacy and inadequacy of the quality of teaching."