Autonomous operation or not?

by Baerbel Eckelmann


Autonomous operation or not?

One of the first challenges for any rankings project is to identify an initial list of institutions to evaluate. For feasibility reasons, it is extremely difficult to study every one of the 10,000 universities in the world. Policies and guidelines for the inclusion of institutions help us to keep the exercise manageable. Click here to read further. The fact is, certain institutions may feature in other evaluations but may be excluded entirely or partly from our study.
This is also true in the scenario of institutions campuses which want to be listed and hence treated as truly autonomous operations. In order to make an informed decision we have introduced the following qualifying questions:

1.    Does the additional campus have its own university principal (president, chancellor or vice-chancellor depending on the local custom) that does NOT report into the leadership of the main campus? (e.g. UCLA Chancellor, Gene Block as distinct from; UC Irvine Chancellor, Michael Drake). This is a strong indicator of distinct autonomous governance.

2.    Does the additional campus have a distinct name/brand/identity/domain? (e.g.; – these sites look and feel very distinct from one another giving each a distinct identity.

3.    Do researchers publishing at each location publish under discernibly different affiliation identifiers that can be isolated reliably in Scopus (or ISI)?

4.    Are the majority of the programs at the additional campus also available at the main campus?

And in this context, an additional question may be:

5.    Do you offer a distinct name on your degree certificates?

If the answer is “NO” to ANY of these questions, then the campus cannot be treated as a truly autonomous entity.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this, feel free to comment.