Rankings are the public face of performance evaluation… but to geniunely evaluate and improve the performance of universities, much more actionable measures are required.
In light of the upcoming Re-imagine Education Awards, the innovative global competition launched last year by QS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to find the world’s top higher education pedagogical innovation. I started reminiscing about my own university experience, and one particular course came to mind when I looked closely at Hybrid Learning. At QSIU, we are proud to have a team with a diverse skill set, a range of over 12 languages, and have come from various different universities from around the world. Below is an account of a few QSIU team members who share their own memorable experience of past pedagogical methods that have been particularly effective.
Between 24-26th December, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit was invited to visit Shantou University, the only university funded by Sir Li Ka-shing, the richest person in Asia( based on 2014 Bloomberg Billionaires Index), with a net worth of $31.9 billion.
（Sir Li Ka-Shing spoke at the annual graduation ceremony of Shantou University）
Here is an update of her visit.
I have envisaged many times in dreams to visit Shantou University. When I actually visited it, I would certainly say it is far beyond any expectation, although in a different way.
I have been a big fan of Sir Li Ka-shing since the first time I read about his story, but not by how successful he is as a business leader, but by all the great virtues he has demonstrated throughout his career as a kind and humble man. I got to know Shantou University when I was watching a documentary of Li, when 1/4 of the documentary was talking about the tremendous efforts made by all stakeholders to create Shantou University in 1981 and develop it into one of the most enterprising and emerging university in Shantou, a less-well developed coastal area of Southeast China.
Shantou was one of the original Special Economic Zones of the People’s Republic of China established in 1981, but did not blossom in the same manner that cities such as Shenzhen, Xiamen and Zhuhai did. I guess when Shantou University was first created, Li Ka-Shing would expect Shantou University to seize the great opportunity of the newly established Special Economic Zone and develop quickly. However, the overall economic development in Shantou has not been that quick as expected. This also impact on the development of the university.
(A picture of Shantou Special Economic Zone)
The Russian Federation is clearly making significant efforts to make up for the loss in its higher education sector that occurred during the post-soviet period. The expenditure on higher education as a percentage of GDP has increased substantially over recent years. Read more
Over the past decade, annually published world university rankings have captured the attention of university managers, policy makers, employers, academics and the wider public. Many national governments have implemented neoliberal reforms in higher education and increased the autonomy of their universities to enhance international competitiveness. Several universities have adjusted their strategic plans to climb up the ranks, while fee-paying international students often consult such league tables as a guide of where they can expect to receive ‘value for money’.
Self-citations are often a point of discussion when it comes to ranking season, and never more than this year when, for the first time, we have had access to the necessary data to be able to remove self-citations from our consideration thanks to additional data supplied by Elsevier from Scopus this year, but what does that really mean?
Simply put, a self-citation is an author citing their own previous work. Many leading academics may have every reason to do so having been responsible for some of the seminal works in their field, other academics may engineer opportunity to do so in order to influence their personal h-index or their institutional metrics. Either way, self-citations are a fact of life and can potentially be used contructively to trach threads of research and map academic careers.
As with many things there are a number of different ways the impact of self-citations can be viewed:
- Of all of the institutions we looked at the institution with the largest absolute number of self-citations, by some margin, is Harvard with over 93,000 representing 12.9% of their overall citations count
- The top five institutions producing over 3,000 papers, in terms of proportion of self-citations are all in Eastern Europe – St Petersburg State University, Czech Technical University, Warsaw University of Technology, Babes-Bolyai University and Lomonosov Moscow State University
- The top five in terms of the difference in citations per paper when self-citations are excluded are Caltech, Rockefeller, UC Santa Cruz, ENS Lyon and the University of Hawaii
- And the top 10 in terms of the difference in citations per faculty when self-citations are included are:
|1||California Institute of Technology (Caltech)||United States|
|2||Rockefeller University||United States|
|3||Stanford University||United States|
|4||Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST)||South Korea|
|5||Karolinska Institute||United States|
|6||Princeton University||United States|
|8||Harvard University||United States|
|9||University of California, San Diego (UCSD)||United States|
|10||University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)||United States|
Caltech have been perennially number one, amongst institutions featured in the main ranking, for this indicator and nothing has changed this year, although due to the impact of removing self-citations the gap has closed somewhat in the underlying ratios and for some institutions further down the tables, this revision in the methodology may be felt more keenly.
The Employer Reputation Index is also based on a global online survey, but the target audience are employers. This indicator is unique amongst current international evaluations in taking into consideration the important component of employability. In principle, we are asking employers to comment on the quality of an institution’s graduates. We survey employers from all business sectors, including not for profit and public sector and regardless of company size.
If you are an employer and you would like to take part in the 2011 Employer Survey, please register your interest here.
The Academic Reputation Index is the aspect of the QS World University Rankings® towards which people’s greatest interest is directed. It is an approach to international university evaluation that, in concert with the Employer Reputation Index, is the defining feature which sets this ranking most clearly apart from any other.
The survey is distributed worldwide to academics from a number of different sources and the Academic Sign-up is one of them. Since the process was launched in February 2010, over 2,500 faculty members, university leaders and administrators volunteered to participate.
Today I would like to provide you with the opportunity to register your interest for 2011 here.
by Ben Sowter
The world is changing. And fast.
Higher education is no exception. In Saudi Arabia there are 28 universities, 22 of which were founded after the turn of the millenia. Economies worldwide are turning to the ever enticing notion of creating a “knowledge economy”. I read somewhere that we have generated more written content since 2003 than the in the whole of human history until that point.
In that environment – whilst rankings such as ours may treat all institutions equally – the reality is that date of establishment clearly has a part to play in the current success profile of universities. In broad terms, universities over 100 years old, and perhaps those over 50, have already reached their “terminal velocity” – the combination of reputation, government funding, scale of operation, organisational culture, international mix and alumni profile have reached a degree of equilibrium which makes radical shifts in performance – as measured by rankings or otherwise – exceedingly difficult to impose.