THE World University Rankings

Global university rankings "are simply not going to go away".

May 20, 2010

That is the view of Ben Wildavsky, author of the acclaimed book The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World, which was published this year.

Speaking earlier this month at the Carnegie Council, a US international-affairs organisation, Mr Wildavsky said that many people felt global rankings "measure the wrong things, create perverse incentives" and "don't tell you about the real effectiveness of a university".

But Mr Wildavsky, senior Fellow in research and policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, argued that rankings can be a force for good.

While there were problems with them, he said, they could be "very useful" for individuals, universities and policymakers. He pointed out that Times Higher Education's World University Rankings "quickly became used by policymakers as a way of looking at how much universities are respected by their peers", and had encouraged "self-examination on the part of universities, which have not always been terribly receptive to outside examination".

For Mr Wildavsky, the key question for those compiling rankings is "how to make them better".

"Times Higher Education acknowledged that there were a lot of flaws in its sampling and survey," he said. "It's trying to start the whole thing over again and is being very transparent.

"I'm on its Twitter feed and every couple of days it mentions a speech one of its head editors is giving about the need for more input about what it should do differently. I think that's great ... it is moving in the right direction."

Help us to stay on course - give us your views to help us build a transparent, balanced and robust methodology.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Dean (International) UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND - PAISLEY CAMPUS
Assistant Dean (Research & Enterprise) UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND
Professor of New Media UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND
Professor of Sport UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND
Professor of Strategic Management UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND - PAISLEY CAMPUS

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (8 September 2016)

Some lecturers will rightly encourage forms of student interaction that are impossible for those covering their faces, Eric Heinze argues

Handwritten essay on table

Universities must pay more attention to the difficulties faced by students, says Daniel Dennehy

University of Oxford students walking on campus

University of Oxford snatches top spot from Caltech in this year’s World University Rankings as Asia’s rise continues

Theresa May entering 10 Downing Street, London

The prospect of new grammar schools on the horizon raises big questions for HE, writes Nick Hillman

Nosey man outside window

Head of UK admissions service Mary Curnock Cook addresses concerns that universities might ‘not hear a word’ from applicants