Western’s civil and structural engineering programs ranked first among Canadian universities and 12th in the world, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
The ARWU, also known as the Shanghai Rankings, is widely considered to be one of the most influential rankings of world universities. The ranking is published annually and puts a heavy emphasis on research and faculty quality of a university as part of its methodology.
“I always saw that civil engineering at Western is number one in the country, and now it's official,” said department of civil engineering at Western University chair, Ashraf El Damatty.
Damatty gave examples of Western’s research facilities, such as Western’s wind tunnel, the WindEEE Research Institute as a contributing factor to the success of the department.
Additionally, Damatty also credits the quality of the researchers as a reason for the department’s success, stating there's a culture of excellence that distinguishes it from other departments.
However, Damatty also highlighted some of the challenges that he feels the department faces moving forward, notably, improving Western’s reputation internationally, which he feels more resources need to be dedicated toward doing.
“We are very busy in the work itself, but we don’t have enough time to show it to the world and promote it. We have to work more on nominating our colleagues and our people for awards,” said Damatty.
According to Damatty, the impact on students in civil engineering can be seen both in the reaction of students on campus and also in their employment prospects, as a result of employers viewing Western students more favorably.
“It creates a sense of pride among our students, and I can see that. I can see our students are very proud to be studying civil engineering. It also has implications in terms of employers, in thinking highly about hiring Western students," he said.