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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Geology ranked No. 1 in nation

Foam fingers that say “”UA is #1″” in the geosciences department are not in reference to athletics, but academics. The U.S. World & News Report recently ranked the UA’s graduate geology program No. 1 in the nation. The program shares first place with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

“”I’m absolutely thrilled. We have a great department, and it’s nice to be recognized as the number one department in the country,”” said Susan Beck, a UA professor of geosciences.

The university has 13 departments and colleges that rank in the top 10, according to the U.S. World & News Report rankings.

The UA School of Earth and Environmental Sciences also ranked top in funding, with $11.6 million in grants from the National Sciences Foundation.

Karl Flessa, the geosciences department head, said this has in part contributed to the success of the program.

“”We’re planning on having a celebration. I’m sure we’ll pop some corks off either champagne bottles or beer bottles,”” Flessa said.

Sarah Truebe, a second-year geosciences doctoral candidate, first informed Flessa of the department’s ranking. Truebe e-mailed Flessa after seeing a post on Facebook by a friend saying the UA was ranked number one.

“”I chose to come to the University of Arizona because I saw number of strengths in the earth sciences in general and specifically the geosciences department,”” Truebe said. “”It’s always nice to get the external validation on the awesomeness of our program.””

Becoming the best didn’t just happen overnight.

“”I think the ranking reflects the effort of a lot of people over a really long period of time, dating back as far as at least 30 years ago,”” Flessa said.

The program has been competitive and will only continue to become more cutthroat with the recent limelight exposure.

“”We get an enormous number of graduate applications, and I suspect that number is going to go up even higher next year,”” Flessa said.

For the fall 2010 semester, the graduate program received 203 applications, 70 more than last year. Forty-four were accepted. 

“”We have outstanding faculty working on very high-impact problems, and we have a great collegial atmosphere, and we’re able to attract top graduate students, which is critical to having a good program. A lot of it is a reflection of our graduate students as well as faculty and staff,”” Beck said.

 

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