THE Europe Teaching Rankings 2019: going from strength to strength

We’ve added bold metrics, improved methodology and widened our coverage, Phil Baty writes

July 4, 2019
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Browse the full THE Europe Teaching Rankings 2019 results


This is the second edition of the Times Higher Education Europe Teaching Rankings, but we must be clear: it is still very much a work in progress.

Last year’s inaugural ranking broke the mould – it was the world’s first move to evaluate universities across international borders purely on their teaching, rather than on their research activity.

Developing the rankings was – and remains – an extremely challenging task. There is a great deal of widely accepted and readily available information on universities’ research outputs at the global level, but good data on teaching that can be compared fairly across countries in a highly diverse sector are much harder to find, collect and analyse.

Nevertheless, THE demonstrated its commitment to understanding and recognising the performance of universities across all their key activities and missions – not just those that are easy to measure – and the first THE Europe Teaching Rankings was very well received, despite its being accompanied by a range of caveats and compromises.

We have made great strides for this second edition. Most significantly, the European survey of student engagement that forms the heart of this ranking has been dramatically expanded and improved. Thanks to the invaluable engagement and support of universities across the continent, this year’s ranking is built on 125,000 survey responses from students across 18 countries. This compares with just over 30,000 across only 10 countries in last year’s pilot.

We have also, alongside bold and pioneering metrics around gender equality, made some additions and refinements to the methodology. During a year when the European policy agenda has been blighted by the chaos and uncertainty of Brexit, we are proud to have added two new metrics in support of universities’ international activities: the proportion of international students on campuses, and the proportion of students who have participated in the European Union’s Erasmus+ student mobility programme.


Countries/regions represented in THE Europe Teaching Rankings 2019

Country/region    

Number of institutions in top 200+

Top institution

Rank

United Kingdom

99

University of Oxford

1

Spain

45

University of Navarra

3

Italy

33

University of Bologna

51-75

Germany

20

Heidelberg University

=35

France

14

Paris-Sud University

=33

Portugal

12

NOVA University of Lisbon

=35

Netherlands

5

University of Amsterdam

=20

Czech Republic

5

University of Hradec Králové

101-125

Republic of Ireland

4

Trinity College Dublin

=37

Hungary

4

Semmelweis University

41

Finland

3

University of Jyväskylä

76-100

Poland

3

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

126-150

Denmark

2

University of Southern Denmark

28

Lithuania

2

Vilnius University

76-100

Greece

2

Athens University of Economics and Business

101-125

Slovakia

2

Comenius University in Bratislava

126-150

Latvia

2

University of Latvia

201+

Slovenia

1

University of Maribor

151-200


Another great improvement is the coverage of the rankings. Last year we were able to feature only eight countries from western Europe, but this year’s list includes 18 nations, from a much broader geographical spread across the continent.

Although we are delighted with some strong steps forward, and with the enthusiastic support and help from so many universities, caveats remain. First, while our coverage has grown, we would like to see it expand even further. Not all European countries have been included in the rankings because some lacked sufficiently rich and comparable data, and still others have yet to be recruited into our exercise. We are conscious that the UK greatly dominates the list, largely because of the relative accessibility of public data in Britain. There are also some prominent institutional absences owing to a lack of usable data.

Such caveats should not, however, detract from the helpful insights that can be drawn from this ranking, and indeed from the extraordinary deep, rich, unique – and growing – international database that underpins this publication. We look forward to working in partnership with the European university community to develop it further.

Phil Baty is chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education.

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