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Department Chair Dan Schwartz voices concerns about accuracy of data used in NRC Assessment of Research Doctorate Programs

The National Research Council (NRC) Assessment of Research Doctoral Programs was released in late September. While we respect this ambitious undertaking by the National Academies, we are greatly concerned by clear inaccuracies in the data used in the report. Please read Dean O'Donnell's statement first regarding the college-wide inaccuracies and the University of Washington's attempts to correct the data.

Regarding the Department of Chemical Engineering specifically, the NRC Assessment lists that the Department has 70 total faculty, whereas an accurate count is 16 Core and 8 Associated faculty (24 total). Since some of the metrics used to compare departments are calculated on a "per faculty" basis, this inaccuracy will certainly affect the Assessment's findings. There are other data errors as well. We reported these concerns about methodology to the NRC when the data was made available in hopes of an accurate public release; unfortunately corrections have so far not been made. We will correct the inaccurate numbers on the NRC's publicly available database when access is granted.

The NRC rankings are based on data; therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the data be accurate so it can be used as a reliable resource to evaluate the quality of American doctoral programs.