Times Higher Education’s new US college ranking will be launched in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.
The inaugural The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking will be released in September 2016 and will include more than 1,000 colleges and universities in the US.
Following a major year-long consultation with university leaders and associations, the US Department of Education and leading industry figures, the ranking has been designed to offer something different from traditional US rankings, with an unprecedented emphasis on student experience and outcomes.
Phil Baty, editor of THE’s portfolio of university and college rankings, said: “I think US students and their families, and US institutions themselves, are badly served by rankings that look simply at how rich a college is. So we are going to look at how enriching a college can be."
The ranking will focus on the quality of degree programmes, with a particular emphasis on students’ experiences of teaching and learning, resources available, educational outcomes and the diversity of campus communities.
It will be based partly on a survey of US students, which received 100,000 responses. These results will be combined with measures on student debt, graduation rates and alumni earnings, alongside academic indicators including reputation and research productivity.
Mr Baty added: “At a time when student debt in the US has hit a flabbergasting $1.3 trillion (£1 trillion), and when college affordability and the value for money of a college degree are at the top of many families’ lists of concerns, we are going to focus on the things that matter most to students: are they likely to get a job after graduation? Will they pay off their student debt?
"But most importantly, after a major investment in a new national student survey, we have been able to ask tens of thousands of current students themselves how much they are supported, engaged, and intellectually challenged by their college.
“We are delighted to be partnering with one of US media’s most trusted brands to play a key supporting role in helping students to make one of the most important decisions of their lives – who to trust with their college education.”
The academic foundation for the ranking methodology has been borrowed from the work of retired academic John Biggs, who has worked at the University of New England, Monash University, the University of Alberta, University of Newcastle and the University of Hong Kong. His research on learning outcomes has been a major influence on international higher education policy.
The student survey was designed to obtain student perspectives about their degree programmes, in areas broadly aligned with those areas raised by Professor Biggs as being indicators of higher education learning success.