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Well I never! December 15, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

University rankings flawed?

The report by the UK’s Higher Education Policy Institute urges governments and third level institutions to ignore the tables, which claim to identify the “best” universities in the world.

The publication of some of these global league tables has become a major event in the Irish education calendar.

When individual Irish universities see their position in the rankings rise they seize upon this as evidence of their excellence. When their rankings fall the widely acknowledged funding crisis in the sector is blamed.


But this report says reliance on these league tables can actually be damaging to institutions.

It says the tables measure research activity to the exclusion of almost everything else, including what this report says is, arguably, a university’s most important function – the education of students.

The report says the only way for a university to improve its ranking is to focus on research at the expense of other vital activities.

Incredible. Who would have thought it?


1. benmadigan - December 15, 2016

trinity has dropped sharply in the ratings since my son started attending. Now I’m not saying its his fault but . . . .


2. sonofstan - December 15, 2016

Not disagreeing with the premise of the post, but given who is doing the complaining, i’d be wary that they wouldn’t be up for substituting research excellence with ’employability’ or some such nonsense as the defining metric of a good university.


Aonrud ⚘ - December 15, 2016

It’s a simple equation they want really. Maybe “Science faculty – Humanities faculty = success score” 😉


WorldbyStorm - December 16, 2016

Yes, it would be no good to exchange one pointless set of metrics with yet another. That said undermines the current set strikes me as useful.


Michael Carley - December 16, 2016

It depends on the motivation. The biggest cull of departments in the UK happened after fees were introduced and management noticed they could turn a bigger surplus on humanities than on science degrees, so a bunch of Chemistry and Physics departments were shut.


sonofstan - December 16, 2016

Conversely, we’re currently ungoing across the board cuts – and in departments where there’s not much in the way of hardware/ supplies costs, the cuts will fall disproportionately on staff, since there are no other significant expenditure items.


Michael Carley - December 16, 2016

Where the UK leads, Ireland follows, but worse.


3. CMK - December 16, 2016

TCD were excluded from the last THES rankings because someone who filled in the assessment documents misplaced a decimal point on their research income declaration! Reminds of that time when NASA lost a re-entering craft because one of its teams were calculating based on imperial measurements and another team were working on a metric system.


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