Alabama really is not well respected in engineering circles, not even in Alabama. It's also not "up and coming" - that's just what people say to make applicants feel better about the rankings. UA-Huntsville is actually more respected in Alabama than Birmingham.
Well, since you didn't seem to know where UAlabama is located, your opinion is suspect.
I highly doubt that you've been to UAlabama campus "many times," because if you had, you wouldn't make the silly mistake of confusing its city with B'ham. That's just not a mistake one would make if they really had been to UAlabama "many times". I've been to many colleges many times. I don't "mess up" their cities. I don't say that Rice is in Austin or that UT is in Houston or that USC is in Anaheim or anything else like that.
Maybe you've been to Bama a few times for sports events or similar. Maybe you haven't actually been on campus (academic areas) in recent years other than tailgating on the Quad. Attending sports events on a campus is not the same as knowing much about the school.
If you had recently been in the academic areas, particularly the new mega-sized Science and Engineering Complex you wouldn't be dismissing this school. Do you really think having over 1.5 million square feet of academic STEM buildings (of which over 600,000 are new and 200,000 is in current build) would result in having some kind of subpar CoE??? That doesn't make sense.
During these tough economic times when other schools have hiring freezes and even layoffs, Bama is uniquely able to cherry-pick which profs that they want to hire since they have the funds to do so. When I was at my older son's honors awards last year, the profs sitting next to me were from Berkeley. I asked them what brought them to Bama and the answer was job security, financially stable univ, fab faciities, low cost of living, and very good students....all the things that profs want.
Any College of Engineering ranked within the top 100 nationally is going to be good and respected. There are several hundred engineering depts in this country. Get real. If the students from CoE programs ranked below the top schools didn't get jobs, these depts would have folded a long time ago. Apply some common sense. And rankings of majors is not all about academics. Actual academic strength is only one component of the ranking.
As a matter of fact, UAH (which you claim is more respected), is ranked lower...both the univ overall and the COE. Don't get me wrong, UAH has very good engineering, but it's not more respected than Bama.
To suggest that Bama is not respected within "engineering circles" is just hogwash. Since I live in the Cummings Research Park area and my H is a hiring eng'g manager, I would know if these Fortune 500 and other techie companies are hiring Bama grads. They are. There is a college in the state that managers dislike hiring eng'g grads, but it's not Bama.
From your past posts, it looks like you're a pro-GT person. That's fine. And to such a person, schools that don't rank up there with GT are probably looked down upon. I can imagine that there are pro-MIT people that look down on GT. That happens. Biases abound. I "get that."
My H likes to joke how the Auburn mgrs WANT to bias hiring towards Auburn grads, the UA mgrs WANT to bias towards UA grads, the GT grads WANT to bias towards GT grads, and so forth. My H is a Purdue grad with Bama kids, so his biases are split
....but since there aren't enough of any one group, everyone has to hire from them all. And, yes, there's the typical smack-talk that goes on in a friendly manner. The Auburn grads feel a deeper threat by Bama because Auburn has traditionally been able to claim top dog for eng'g in the state. With all the improvements at Bama, they know that Bama will soon close in their rankings and possibly exceed. So, it's a turf war to them....That's life. lol
Chardo is right....UDel is not superior to Bama. UDel is ranked #75 - the SAME as Bama. Yes, UDel's CoE is ranked higher, but when you're beyond the top 5-10, the differences within the top 100-120 aren't going to matter. And, with all of the investment going on at Bama, I suspect that the CoE rankings will climb as well. Data collection for these rankings are always about 12-24 months behind the published reports. Therefore, recent improvements aren't part of the latest rankings.
Furthermore, Eng'g isn't some unique major that has few job openings. There should not be this fear of "OMG you better come from Cal Tech, MIT, GT, Umich or Purdue otherwise you'll be on mommy's couch after graduation." The only eng'g grad that I know that sat on mommy's couch was a Columbia grad who refused to look for jobs outside a few zip codes because he didn't want to be away from his girlfriend.
Since Eng'g is offered at a very large number of colleges. Not all can be ranked top 10, but that doesn't mean their program offerings aren't respected. Companies can't limit their hirings to only the top ranked schools...those schools don't graduate enough students to fill the nationwide need. Eng'g isn't one of those majors where the nation has a glut of students (anthropology, biology, sports mgmt, etc) who will have a hard time finding jobs in their fields.
And, yes, Bama is up and coming, and that's not just some patronizing platitude. Its ranking has jumped over 20 spots in USNews within 2 years. What other school has moved that much in the same short time? Few schools (especially publics!) have spent the amount of money on new facilities as Bama. Bama received the MOST federal money for these improvements...far more than any other school.
The issue that is driving all of this is Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, AL...the second largest research park in the nation. Companies know that Alabama is very business-friendly, so they have been moving their companies here for the past few decades. This moved Senator Shelby, Bama grad, to devise a plan to improve engineering at Bama, UAH, UAB, and Auburn so that those schools could supply those companies with more grads. The plan was devised over 10 years ago, and his leadership enabled hundreds of millions of federal dollars to be delivered to these campuses for eng'g/STEM upgrades. It's not an accident that there's a Shelby building on all of these campuses. And, the first phase of the new complex at Bama is named Shelby Building. We suspect that when the 4th phase completes next year, the entire complex will be renamed, The Shelby Science and Engineering Complex. Bama did get the most funds, likely because the Senator is a Bama grad, and that it was best poised for growth and to put the dollars to best use.
I've received permission to share a PM that I received last Friday from a father of a likely Bama frosh. The student is a NMF who could go anywhere and will very likely be attending Bama as a MechE student. I manage a team of 100+ engineers from universities from all over the world. It is interesting to see the correlation between the "quality" of the university they attended and on-the-job performance. There isn't one, laziness seems to be the common denominator for bad engineers. Every few years we recruit high-tier university engineer graduates and they rarely do very well, certainly not any better than engineers from traditional universities. Interesting....
I had dinner last night with one of my geologists that attended Colby College in Maine. He said he went there because his parents could afford it and they would be "laughed at" if they had sent their child to a public university. He said he was raised (in Vermont) to believe that ALL public universities are party schools and to be avoided at all costs.....ridiculous
Looking forward to our visit to Bama on Monday.
On a side note...I have to laugh about the reference regarding the grads from top schools. When I worked in the defense industry, one of the new hires was a MIT eng'g grad. Oh my. What a socially-backward person. When he'd arrive in the morning, he'd come to my office knowing that he likely had something wrong with this clothes (shirt misbuttoned, belt loops missed, pants zipper unzipped, etc, ..."XYZ" became my mantra!). A few times he didn't bother with ANY belt loops and just wrapped the belt around pants a few inches below the top. Oh, and he used to pick eczema scabs and pile them on his desk. And, he had some odd aversion to calculators, preferring to do his calculations on those long yellow paper pads. lol At the first layoff, he was gone. (I know, not all are like that (just in case ClassicRockerDad MIT grad reads this....
..it's just a wierd story....lol)