deltaownsall
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Global University Rankings

Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:14 pm

Times Higher Education has recently released its new "Global University Rankings" for 2010-11, based on what they claim is a new, more "objective" methodology. The list can be found here: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...ty-rankings/2010-2011/top-200.html

In my opinion, the list is certainly much more reasonable than the complete nonsense that QS puts out, but I believe either way that these new global ranking systems can actually be damaging to a number of the universities they attempt to measure.

It seems to me that there would be great incentive for a number of universities that are not necessarily well regarded domestically to attempt to grab more international notoriety and thus talent by manipulating their system to better fit the rankings methodology. I suppose the same might be true for universities that hail from a small country and may be well known domestically, but seek access to more talent from abroad to bolster their global standing. I'm only theorizing here, but regardless of where the cycle starts, it can eventually affect any number of other schools that wish to remain competitive. I do have some experience with a university fitting the second profile, and I was somewhat disappointed.

The problem is that the methodology is scarcely if at all focused on the actual student experience at these universities, rather it is hugely focused on overall output. And so, if an administration decides to make this ranking their springboard to global popularity, they might put even more pressure on their faculty to 'publish or perish'. I would imagine that this is a rather zero-sum situation: the more professors focus on research and publishing, the less personal attention/time they have for their students. There is also incentive to manipulate numbers in any number of ways regarding proportion of international students.

The result, as far as the rankings are concerned, is punitive against some very highly regarded universities like Dartmouth, Rice, Georgetown, and Brown (no slight to similar uni's outside of the U.S., I'm just more familiar with these schools), while it rewards some giant schools with much lower academic standards and considerably less resources per student.

I don't really mean to pick apart the individual rankings as much as I mean to draw attention to the fact that the incentive to bulk up on research-leaning professors (or international professors, regardless of quality, just for the sake of bolstering your international faculty score) may undermine what I would imagine is the primary purpose of universities: education. We could argue all day whether rankings are completely unnecessary/measures of worthless prestige/whatever else, but I'm sure that's been discussed before. The point is that these global ranking systems will actually affect the way some universities work, meaning that they will alter their academic system basically for the purpose of marketing, which cannot be a positive.

[Edited 2010-09-16 15:39:57]
 
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Aesma
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RE: Global University Rankings

Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:30 pm

I have no idea on the fairness of the ranking (I tend to think there is no way to make it fair), but they couldn't write the name of the first French school correctly (Polytechnique), that doesn't smell good.
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tz757300
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RE: Global University Rankings

Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:52 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 1):


I have no idea on the fairness of the ranking (I tend to think there is no way to make it fair), but they couldn't write the name of the first French school correctly (Polytechnique), that doesn't smell good.

The list is in English, not French, so the french spelling wouldn't do. Imagine every country's university spelled in the native language, the audience viewing that list wouldn't understand anything.

Anyway, I don't agree with lists like this. It assumes everyone coming from the top university will be a top notch candidate for anything, which simply isn't true. If that was the case, every prestigious award would go to the top universities, which isnt the case.
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planeguy727
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RE: Global University Rankings

Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:55 pm

Solid methodology or not, I'm happy to see the Uni where I work in the top 20...
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n6238p
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RE: Global University Rankings

Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:30 pm

Thats strange I always thought the top 5 spots are reserved for ERAU.
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comorin
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:56 am

I do hope someone at these good universities can come up with a good methodology for ranking. A linear addition across ordinal scores is quite primitive, but I don't think there is any other methodology for such metrics.

I suspect there is built in bias towards English-speaking schools in the citations measure.

There's also the apples and oranges effect: Caltech, Gottingen, Karolinska (and others) are one-of-a-kind world treasures.

Hey, what happened to India? How come a country of 1B people can't come up with a Uni to match a Wake Forest? I think a big problem is funding professors and research at competitive salaries. It is ironic that the heads of Harvard, Kellogg, and many other top B schools are all of Indian origin. No shortage of bright people - just a shortage of world class institutions.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:57 am

Quoting N6238P (Reply 4):
Thats strange I always thought the top 5 spots are reserved for ERAU.

What part of...

Quoting deltaownsall (Thread starter):
Global

do you not understand? ERAU is virtually non-existent and completely unheard of outside of the US, or the aviation field for that matter. I don't see too smaller, specialized universities listed for the same reason either.
 
Mir
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:06 am

Quoting N6238P (Reply 4):
Thats strange I always thought the top 5 spots are reserved for ERAU.

Yes, ERAU has indeed been slighted.

     

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):

Humor comprehension fail.  

-Mir
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cabso1
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:43 am

The rankings are a load of hogwash. I refuse to believe that LSE is ranked lower than Sussex and York. While both Sussex and York are excellent in their own rights, if one's talking about rankings, it belongs with Oxbridge and Imperial.
 
deltaownsall
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:05 am

Quoting cabso1 (Reply 8):
I refuse to believe that LSE is ranked lower than Sussex and York.

Completely agree. There are plenty of similarly baffling rankings regarding U.S. schools (UIllinois Urbana, UC system schools, U Washington higher in the World than they are in their own country, Ohio State above Dartmouth, etc.) You might find it entertaining that U Manchester is apparently in the top 30 in the world according to QS. Either the system is inherently flawed, or some Uni's are extremely adept at gaming the system...a mix of both, probably.

Since you are from SG, how do you feel about the NUS ranking? Seems like this methodology was tailor made for them.
 
Elite
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:06 am

University of Hong Kong, #21 and first Asian university to be on the list... way to go!
 
hoons90
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:19 am

Quite surprised that my school (Toronto) got such a high ranking. Nonetheless, glad to be a student at a top 20 school!
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pdxtriple7
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:28 am

These rankings reward state schools too much in the U.S.
 
JBirdAV8r
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:28 am

Vandy outside the top 50 (just barely)?? Shenanigans.

Honestly, these rankings are for the birds anyway. You can rank a college eight ways from Sunday and come up with a different result each time.

College is what you make of it. I've met brilliant minds from Podunk State College and I've met morons from Yale...and vice versa of course.
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tz757300
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:40 am

Quoting pdxtriple7 (Reply 12):


These rankings reward state schools too much in the U.S.

And what is wrong with state schools?

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 13):

Honestly, these rankings are for the birds anyway. You can rank a college eight ways from Sunday and come up with a different result each time.

College is what you make of it. I've met brilliant minds from Podunk State College and I've met morons from Yale...and vice versa of course.

  
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n6238p
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:45 am

Honestly I'm only disappointed when my school doesn't make the party school list.
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Longhornmaniac
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:48 am

This list is pitiful. Any list that doesn't have the University of Texas at Austin as one of the best 200 universities in the world is immediately disqualified, IMO.

It has the University of Arizona, but not UT-Austin? Iowa? Iowa St.? Indiana? Come on.

Call me crazy, but in 2004, UT-Austin ranked #15 on this list. That makes no sense.

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Flighty
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:25 am

UC Santa Barbara... never seen them ranked that highly before. Seems odd.
 
AF340
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:31 am

Quoting cabso1 (Reply 8):
I refuse to believe that LSE is ranked lower than Sussex and York.

The methodology for the rankings does disadvantage us quite a bit because we are such a specialized school. The rankings for Social Science institutions do, however, show LSE at or near the top most of the time.

Besides, we have the most important factor of all, high earnings after graduation!  
 
flybaurlax
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:51 am

I can't believe Purdue got 105, yet a recent US college ranking system has us at number 4. I guess it really depends what they're looking at....the fact that UCSC (UC Santa Cruz) got above Purdue, well....that's just....yeah.....

I mean no offense to UCSC, they have great programs for things, but it's the biggest hippy/stoner school I know of.
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deltaownsall
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:55 am

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 13):
Vandy outside the top 50 (just barely)?? Shenanigans.

Indeed. We always get shafted by these intl rankings...there's something about being a private school in a landlocked state that they clearly don't take kindly to.

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 13):
College is what you make of it. I've met brilliant minds from Podunk State College and I've met morons from Yale...and vice versa of course.

I agree to a point, but if you are going to make the most of it either way, you'll certainly be getting more out of the experience at some institutions than you might at others.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 16):
This list is pitiful. Any list that doesn't have the University of Texas at Austin as one of the best 200 universities in the world is immediately disqualified, IMO.

Can't believe I didn't notice that...wow. Pretty horrendous.
 
MadameConcorde
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:46 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 1):
they couldn't write the name of the first French school correctly (Polytechnique), that doesn't smell good.

Ecole Polytechnique (also known as the "X") never had high international ratings, at least not outside of the French sphere, mainly Frrench speaking African countries and the Maghreb. Other than maybe the fact that they march on the Champs Elysées every year in the 14th July parade all dressed up in their uniforms with their little black hats and spades when tourists from the whole world can watch them.

Graduates of the school have to got to M.I.T. or Stanford or Berkeley to get a Ph.D. after their 4 years at Polytechnique to value their studies and make it in the world of top-scale international careers. Ecole Polytechnique has mainly local prestige, no more, no less. Even Oxford, Cambridge, Unviersity College in London and Zurich Tech always had higher ratings than the "X".

Being 39th place for this school is not an under rating. It's a fact. Most people who graduate from "X" end up working for French institutions, government or private. They go to places like Berkeley to work in labs for one month as part of their "starge étranger" (foreign internships) and then go back to Polytechnique to do their 4th and last year. When they graduate, they all get enticing jobs in France working for the government, for Areva, Airbus or other such companies. France never had the same educational/business/finance international scope as the U.K., Germany, Switzerland or even Italy, at least not after the 1960's. The world's top schools are elsewhere, they were never in France.



[Edited 2010-09-17 00:56:04]
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:28 am

To me it seems that the universities were mostly ranked by reputation based on history.
I wonder e.g. why Tokyo University was ranked before Kyoto University. I know that in Japan Tokyo Eki is the most prestigious university, but that on the other hand most Japanese Nobel Prize winners came from Kyoto. From what I´ve heard is that Tokyo university teaches how to fit in to get a good job in Japanese administration or companies, while Kyoto university actually teaches the students to think out off the box.

Similarly the universities ranked highest in Germany are those with traditional names, those which were wellknown for centuries.

Jan
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Severnaya
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:50 am

Glad to see my uni listed so high!

However, these kind of lists are strange. How on earth can you compare a general university (offering a lot of studies) with a certain specialized one (offering a narrow range of studies).

Apples & Oranges in my opinion!

Best are the lists that for example compare the business studies universities worldwide, or the medical schools.
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ScarletHarlot
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:19 pm

Quoting HOONS90 (Reply 11):
Quite surprised that my school (Toronto) got such a high ranking. Nonetheless, glad to be a student at a top 20 school!

But yet, Waterloo is not anywhere in the list...but McMaster is? And the University of Washington is? Ridiculous.
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Aesma
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:26 pm

Quoting tz757300 (Reply 2):
The list is in English, not French, so the french spelling wouldn't do. Imagine every country's university spelled in the native language, the audience viewing that list wouldn't understand anything.

So, "Ecole" is an English word ? And they got the second French one right : "Ecole Normale Superieure" (except the lacking é). Doesn't look English to me. Do you think we have French names for Harvard and such ? Doesn't make sense.

MadameConcorde : I agree with you somewhat about X, but I don't think it has to do with the quality of the school. It is a very difficult school to get into (there are only 500 spots, and only engineering is taught), and the students there are all brilliant. However I don't think it tries to get a lot of international students, especially outside francophonie, so it explains its ranking in part. The other part being that with only one curriculum, it can't compete with universities that teach everything. Still, polytechniciens manage to get jobs in every field.

It's also true that a lot of the students go on to work for the French state/big French companies, maybe because they want to have a real impact on their country ? I mean, CEO of Airbus, French president or test pilot for the first flight of the A380 doesn't seem too bad, does it ?

I'll have to ask a friend of mine who ranked first in his X promotion, why did he chose to work for the country instead of continuing in the City where he was for a while.
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baroque
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:29 pm

I find it very depressing that education has not developed far enough for everyone to see that such rankings are of less worth than the chip paper they end up being printed on. Make mine a cod and not too much salt please. (And yes mine is a top ten so it is not sour grapes - just realism).

One reality is that with a smidgen of skill you can probably get close to the worlds worst tertiary education in any of the ten best. Just as you can get THE best in some parts of many of the others. And as for the assumption that anyone really knows what is happening in any of those institutions last year that is a joke. But not nearly the joke that is involved in the assumption that the state in 2009 NEED be a guide to the way it will be in 2011.
 
MadameConcorde
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:06 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 26):

It's also true that a lot of the students go on to work for the French state/big French companies, maybe because they want to have a real impact on their country ? I mean, CEO of Airbus, French president or test pilot for the first flight of the A380 doesn't seem too bad, does it ?

Don't forget André Turcat, First to Fly a Concorde - see this rare video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHPv0eEdjCU

Mr Turcat is also an "X" coming from Ecole Polytechinique from the old generation. He was born in 1921.

Mr Noel Forgeard, the former CEO of Airbus did not come quite clean though.... insider trading... his name was everywhere...  

The school remains top of the list in France but outside of it nobody really knows it, unlike Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, M.I.T. or Stanford which are the world's top reputed schools.
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KINDFlyer
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:59 pm

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 16):
It has the University of Arizona, but not UT-Austin? Iowa? Iowa St.? Indiana? Come on.

Damn. Just when I was beginning to feel good about myself.....
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signol
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:12 pm

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 24):
However, these kind of lists are strange. How on earth can you compare a general university (offering a lot of studies) with a certain specialized one (offering a narrow range of studies).

[cynic]Because for most universities, teaching undergraduates is way down their list of priorities, after number and quality of research papers published   If a post-grad PhD student can publish peer-reviewed journal articles, and generate more research budget, then great, but undergrads are there because the universities need to sift through the vast throngs of students to get the "academic" ones... [/cynic]

I have experience of this, as my wife is just finishing a PhD. Her supervisor seems more interested in how soon she can publish than the overall quality of her research...

signol
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baroque
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:17 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 26):
So, "Ecole" is an English word ? And they got the second French one right : "Ecole Normale Superieure" (except the lacking é). Doesn't look English to me. Do you think we have French names for Harvard and such ? Doesn't make sense.

Yes well you already know the problem with France is it does not have a word for entrepreneur.      The Anglo-American sphere seldom stops to wonder how it is that the Germans are so good at engineering, why much of what they have is a bunch of Technical High Schools, so that cannot be the reason.    Oh dear!
 
Severnaya
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:31 pm

Quoting signol (Reply 30):
[cynic]Because for most universities, teaching undergraduates is way down their list of priorities, after number and quality of research papers published   If a post-grad PhD student can publish peer-reviewed journal articles, and generate more research budget, then great, but undergrads are there because the universities need to sift through the vast throngs of students to get the "academic" ones... [/cynic]

But still my point holds   Can't compare a PhD in Economics with one in Engineering or Medics.
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signol
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:54 pm

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 32):
But still my point holds Can't compare a PhD in Economics with one in Engineering or Medics.

That is very true  

signol
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Flighty
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:19 pm

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 32):

Why not? Engineering and Econ wouldnt be such different student processes. Or do you mean a university strong in X wouldn't necessarily be strong in Y... Which is very true.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:31 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 7):


Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 6):

Humor comprehension fail.

-Mir
 
Severnaya
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RE: Global University Rankings

Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:34 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 34):
Or do you mean a university strong in X wouldn't necessarily be strong in Y... Which is very true.

Yes that's what I mean, IMO apples & oranges.
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cabso1
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RE: Global University Rankings

Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:52 am

Quoting deltaownsall (Reply 9):
Since you are from SG, how do you feel about the NUS ranking? Seems like this methodology was tailor made for them.

NUS is a strange thing! The students are die hard study animals, and entry is pretty selective, it is a very good university. However I feel no national pride towards NUS because I'm not a Singaporean citizen  I actually study at #199.

Quoting AF340 (Reply 18):
The methodology for the rankings does disadvantage us quite a bit because we are such a specialized school. The rankings for Social Science institutions do, however, show LSE at or near the top most of the time.

So is Imperial though, it's not a University that offers a full range of courses across all fields of academia. And Imperial IIRC is top 10.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 16):
This list is pitiful. Any list that doesn't have the University of Texas at Austin as one of the best 200 universities in the world is immediately disqualified, IMO.

Agreed.

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 13):
I've met brilliant minds from Podunk State College and I've met morons from Yale...and vice versa of course.

Agreed. I know people who wouldn't last a minute in the 'real world' admitted into Harvard. Being able to beat the Stupid American Test (SAT), and to write couple of flowery essays is not a measure of real smartness. At least I don't think so!
 
A342
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RE: Global University Rankings

Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:33 pm

Quoting tz757300 (Reply 2):
The list is in English, not French, so the french spelling wouldn't do. Imagine every country's university spelled in the native language, the audience viewing that list wouldn't understand anything.

I agree with Aesma, if the name cannot be properly translated. For example, "Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich" is quite misleading, as it has a different meaning than the native name "Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule". And from what I know, it is known all over the world as ETH.


Anyway, the university I'll begin to attend in about three weeks (University of Stuttgart) is not contained in the Top 200, yet it is known as one of the best universities for engineering studies (at least in Germany).
Exceptions confirm the rule.

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