One of the holy grails in higher education – if you’re on the government or management side of things, anyway – is to find some means of actually measuring institutional effectiveness. It’s all very well to note that alumni at Harvard, Oxford, U of T (pick an elite university, any elite university) tend to go on to great things. But how much of that has to do with them being prestigious and selective enough to only take the cream of … [ Read More ]
The Shanghai Rankings (technically, the Academic Ranking of World Universities) came out a couple of weeks ago. This is the granddaddy of all international rankings; the one that started it all, and still perceived as the most stable and reliable measure of scientific hubs; essentially it measures large concentrations of scientific talent. And there were some very interesting results for Canada, the most intriguing of which is the fact that McGill has fallen out of Canada’s “top 3”, replaced by … [ Read More ]
The father of modern university rankings is James McKeen Cattell, a well-known early 20th-century psychologist, scientific editor (he ran the journals Science and Psychological Review) and eugenecist. In 1903, he began publishing American Men of Science, a semi-regular rating of the country’s top scientists, as rated by university department chairs. He then hit on the idea of counting how many of these scientists were graduates of the nation’s various universities. Being a baseball enthusiast, it seemed completely natural to arrange these results top to … [ Read More ]
Canada did quite well out of a couple of university rankings which have come out in the last month or so: the Times Higher education’s “Most International Universities” ranking, and the QS “Best Student Cities” ranking. But there’s actually less to this success than meets the eye. Let me explain.
Let’s start with the THE’s “Most International” ranking. I have written about this before, saying it does not pass the “fall-down-laughing” test which is really the only method of testing a ranking’s … [ Read More ]
Almost the moment I hit send on my last post about rankings, the inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings of US universities hit the stands. It didn’t make a huge splash mainly because the WSJ inexplicably decided to put the results behind their paywall (which is, you know, BANANAS) but it’s worth looking at because I think in many ways it points the way to the future of rankings in many countries.
So the main idea behind these rankings is … [ Read More ]