Academia obsessed, displeased with rankings
A broad international survey of academicians by the research firm Thomson Reuters reaffirms the love-hate relationship between colleges and collegiate rankings.
Higher education leaders are both obsessed and displeased with collegiate rankings. The survey, covering 350 higher education officials -- chiefly in Great Britain, the United States and Australia -- finds that 85 percent of respondents consider academic rankings useful.
But three-quarters of respondents believe that colleges manipulate their numbers to move up in the rankings. (Pumping money into lower student-faculty ratio, for example, or skewing admissions to higher SAT scores.)
Another interesting finding: It turns out that the U.S. News & World Report rankings, so pervasive here, aren't particularly well-known in the rest of the English-speaking world. U.S. News is familiar to 95 percent of American academics, but to less than half on other continents. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings are most familiar in Europe, Australia, Asia and Middle Earth, er, New Zealand.
A third product, the Academic Ranking of World Universities, from Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, is fairly well-known outside the states.
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Daniel de Vise
February 12, 2010; 12:10 PM ET
Categories: Administration , Rankings , Research | Tags: Administration, Stanford, U.S. News, Yale, academic research, rankings
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