2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities: Top 20 and UK placings

2013 ARWU University World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

A level results day is an interesting time to publish a world ranking but who are we to criticise.

Anyway, don’t get too excited as it is unlikely the bookies will be losing their shirts on this one. Here is the top 20 in full. It is almost identical to last year’s with only one new entrant at number 20.

1 Harvard University
2 Stanford University
3 University of California, Berkeley
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
5 University of Cambridge
6 California Institute of Technology
7 Princeton University
8 Columbia University
9 University of Chicago
10 University of Oxford
11 Yale University
12 University of California, Los Angeles
13 Cornell University
14 University of California, San Diego
15 University of Pennsylvania
16 University of Washington
17 The Johns Hopkins University
18 University of California, San Francisco
19 University of Wisconsin – Madison
20 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

The full rankings have been published and are now available at the ARWU website

As last year (and the year before that and the year before that) there are really no surprises and almost no movement in the top 20 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the seventh successive year and everyone else just about unchanged too. Probably for the best.

In terms of the UK placings, again very little change with only spme slight upward movement for a few institutions.

1
University of Cambridge 5
2
University of Oxford 10
3
University College London 21
4
The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine 24
5
The University of Manchester 41
6
The University of Edinburgh 51
7
University of Bristol 64
8
King’s College London 67
9
University of Nottingham 83

Let’s hope there will be a tad more excitement with the other league tables from QS and THE later in the year.

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20 over 500

Youth isn’t everything

Last year it was Times Higher Education but this year it is the turn of QS to produce a ranking of newer universities, presumably on the basis that somehow they suffer in the rankings for not having done enough stuff over their limited histories. Unfortunately, this rather discriminates against older institutions which are also often disadvantaged in the rankings for being, well, old.

So, it’s time to right this wrong by producing the all new top 20 of universities over 500 years old. Let’s hear it for the ancients!

And the good news is that European universities once again dominate and Italy in particular does extremely well. It is also another good year for the University of Bologna, the grandaddy of them all, which is top of the heap for a record-breaking 925th year. Let’s look at the full top 20:

  1. University of Bologna
  2. University of Oxford
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. University of Salamanca
  5. University of Padua
  6. University of Naples
  7. University of Valladolid
  8. University of Murcia
  9. University of Montpelier
  10. University of Macerata
  11. University of Coimbra
  12. University of Alacala
  13. La Sapienza, University of Rome
  14. University of Perugia
  15. University of Florence
  16. University of Camerino
  17. University of Pisa
  18. Charles University of Prague
  19. University of Pavia
  20. Jagiellonian University

Not a huge amount to report here with the top 20 remaining entirely static (as it has done indeed since Poland’s Jagiellonian University opened back in 1364).

Sadly there’s still no place in the top 20 for the august institutions of Heidelberg, Vienna and Turin. And Scotland’s ancients, St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen, also miss out yet again.

On the size of branch campuses

Biggest isn’t always best but it does tell you something

Looking at the latest University of Nottingham student statistics and the most recently published HESA data it struck me that Nottingham is now the UK’s largest campus university (ie if we exclude the Open University). However, it is important to understand that two of our campuses are not in the UK but in Malaysia and China. Both are integral parts of the University, they host University of Nottingham students who study on University of Nottingham degrees and are taught by University of Nottingham staff. And, as the recent QAA review of the University of Nottingham Ningbo China demonstrated, they do it all rather well.

Just to be clear about the numbers then. our latest figures show that we have the following number of students:

– University of Nottingham UK – 33,944
– University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) – 4,360
– University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) – 5,461

So nearly 44,000 students in total. Which makes Nottingham overall significantly ahead of the University of Manchester. Big deal you might say.

But the issue here really is about recognition that our campuses in Asia (and other UK universities who are more recent arrivals may say similar things) are integral parts of the University. The data on these campuses and other UK university students studying overseas is now collected by HESA and the only other source we have of overseas campuses from other countries is the OBHE survey, last published in January 2012.

This survey shows that two of the top 5 (in terms of size) offshore campuses of universities are in fact UNMC and UNNC. The OBHE top 10 is as follows:

Institution and total students

1 RMIT in Vietnam – 5,145
2 Monash University in Malaysia – 5,000 (approx.)
3 University of Nottingham Ningbo China – 4,536
4 AMA International University in Bahrain – 3,945 (2008-09)
5 University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus – 3,779
6 Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University – 3,240
7 Curtin University in Malaysia – 3,080
8 Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Botswana – 3,040
9 Wollongong in Dubai – 3,000
10 Monash University in South Africa – 2,685

Although accurate updated figures are hard to establish it would seem that as of now the top five is roughly the same but with Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University replacing AMA International in Bahrain and with UNNC still the largest UK branch campus. OBHE only has student number data for just over half of the 200 branch campuses it has registered – of the 77,448 students counted in 2010-11, just under 12% of these are University of Nottingham students.

Looking at the data in the 2012 survey on some of the other branch campuses often cited as examples of significant global activity, it is clear that they are much smaller operations. For example:

  • Sorbonne in Abu Dhabi – 606 students
  • UCL in Kazakhstan – 140 students
  • Carnegie Mellon in Qatar – 280 students
  • NYU in Abu Dhabi – 307 students
  • UCL in Qatar – 2 students

Others often referred to such as Duke Kunshan and NYU Shanghai do not formally open until later this year.

So, the University of Nottingham is the biggest UK campus university and is the UK university with the biggest international campus. Just to help with the sense of scale of operations, if UNNC were in the UK it would be around 120th largest HEI, slightly smaller than Cranfield and the University of Chichester but still larger than around 40 other UK HEIs, including SOAS, Abertay and Queen Margaret University. And combined UNMC and UNNC are bigger than around 60 UK HEIs and would be roughly 100th largest.

Just to add at a bit more perspective here UNMC is only 13 years old, UNNC has yet to celebrate its first decade. Both campuses have grown extraordinarily quickly and both have significant profiles in their host countries.

One more statistic. For every one of the last five years 100% of UNNC graduates have secured jobs or progressed to further study, many of the former to multinational companies with operations in China, many of the latter to leading universities around the world. It’s a KPI to be proud of.

This is the future. Significant and large multinational, multi-campus operations. Several other UK universities followed Nottingham’s lead in Malaysia. Others are now looking at China. The UK remains second only to the US (or third if we count France’s ESMOD’s 12 overseas fashion schools) in the number of branch campuses overseas according to OBHE. I’m sure it will continue.

Guardian League Table 2014: One or two changes

New Guardian League Table for 2014

Top 20 of the full list (available here) is as follows (last year’s position in brackets):

1 (1) Cambridge
2 (2) Oxford
3 (3) LSE
4 (4) St Andrews
5 (6) UCL
6 (7) Durham
7 (9) Bath
8 (12) Surrey
9 (13) Imperial
10 (5) Warwick
11 (7) Lancaster
12 (10) Exeter
13 (19) Leicester
14 (11) Loughborough
15 (30) Birmingham
16 (17) York
17 (24) UEA
18 (20) Heriot-Watt
19 (15) Edinburgh
20 (22) Kent

The full story on the extraordinary news that Cambridge has held on to top slot for the second year running can be found here. The top 20 is largely unchanged although Birmingham, UEA and Kent are all new entries.

A couple of other comments in the piece are worth noting if only because of the dramatic and bizarre consequences of the methodology on some institutions’ placings:

Lower down the table but still remarkable is the rise of Northampton, which climbs 39 places to 47 (from 86), largely thanks to improved job prospects and the entry standards of its students. And Portsmouth jumps from 78 to 48 this year. The main contributory factor here is a sharp increase in the number of students achieving a first or a 2:1.

It’s less good news at Sussex, which falls from 27th to 50th place as graduates find it hard to secure a job, particularly in philosophy and anthropology. But it’s not all bad news – on the back of extremely high student satisfaction and entry standards, Sussex has climbed to the top of the table for social work.

The biggest fall of all is by Cardiff Met, from 66th to 105th place. This is because of a sharp fall in student satisfaction. The ratios of expenditure and staffing per student also deteriorated.

Another dumb ranking

The universities which will make you a millionaire!

Mail Online publishes this insightful piece on the “graduate rich list” which shows you “where to study to make your millions”:

Million pound note

It’s not a real note

A new graduate ‘rich list’ has revealed the universities where students are most likely to become multi-millionaires.

Oxford comes top after producing 401 alumni worth £20million or more, and Cambridge is in second place with 361 – but Cambridge has the most billionaires.

The average super-rich graduate from Cambridge has a fortune of £169million, more than twice as much as Oxford’s ultra-wealthy ex-students.

The full list with some tasty examples is as follows:

1) Oxford – 401 super-rich graduates worth an average £83m each – alumni include Monty Python comedian Michael Palin

2) Cambridge – 361, £169m – including Borat actor Sacha Baron Cohen

3) LSE – 273, £84m – including Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick Jagger

4) Imperial – 127, £67m – including Queen guitarist Brian May

5) London Business School – 106, £99m – including Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry

6) Manchester – 102, £22m – including former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy

7) UCL – 99, £29m – including comic and actor Ricky Gervais

8) Nottingham – 92, £22m – including head of MI5 Sir John Sawers

9) Edinburgh – 80, £52m – including Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy

10) Birmingham – 68, £69m – including Manchester United CEO David Gill

Well, it’s one way to help with that UCAS application.

A not entirely new university ranking

A rather citation heavy ranking from URAP (NB not UKIP).

Apologies for the lateness of this but for some reason I failed to notice this league table which was published last autumn. The University Ranking by Academic Performance website has all the details but the background is as follows:

University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) Research Laboratory was established at Informatics Institute of Middle East Technical University in 2009. Main objective of URAP is to develop a ranking system for the world universities based on academic performances which determined by quality and quantity of scholarly publications. In line with this objective yearly World Ranking of 2000 Higher Education Institutions have been released since 2010.

And the methodology:

URAP ranking system is completely based on objective data obtained from reliable open sources. The system ranks the universities according to multiple criteria. Most of the currently available ranking systems are both size and subject dependent. The URAP research team is currently working on a new methodology which will minimize the impact of size and subject dependency.

The goal of the URAP ranking system is not to label world universities as best or worst. Our intention is to help universities identify potential areas of progress with respect to specific academic performance indicators. Similar to other ranking systems, the URAP system is neither exhaustive nor definitive, and is open to new ideas and improvements. The current ranking system will be continuously upgraded based on our ongoing research and the constructive feedback of our colleagues.

Whilst they don’t want to label universities as best or worst this is a rather inevitable by-product of a ranking I fear. Still, on the positive side, they have sent us a lovely certificate (dated last year but only arrived in my office this week):

A certificate! for the whole University!

A certificate! for the whole University!

I’m sure other rankings will be following suit.

Anyway, here is the list of the top 20 UK universities from URAP:

Country Ranking University Name World Ranking Category Article Citation Total Document JIT JCIT Collaboration Total
1 University of Oxford 7 A++ 91.74 92.72 43.25 73.26 65.72 78.75 445.43
2 University of Cambridge 11 A++ 90.07 91.16 42.34 71.63 65.68 75.32 436.20
3 Imperial College 14 A++ 87.11 87.38 41.91 69.80 60.16 73.23 419.58
4 University College London 18 A++ 85.47 85.05 41.61 69.38 58.96 70.59 411.07
5 University of Manchester 38 A++ 81.52 79.31 39.67 64.23 54.54 65.21 384.47
6 University of Edinburgh 49 A++ 77.64 77.27 37.39 63.42 54.84 65.05 375.62
7 Kings College London 69 A++ 76.74 75.82 37.76 62.70 53.24 58.89 365.15
8 University of Bristol 85 A++ 74.71 74.33 36.00 61.36 51.53 59.04 356.98
9 University of Glasgow 102 A++ 72.45 72.79 35.24 60.31 51.04 59.07 350.89
10 University of Birmingham 108 A+ 73.37 71.68 35.78 60.18 49.75 56.81 347.56
11 University of Nottingham 110 A+ 74.25 71.61 35.79 59.64 49.43 56.31 347.03
12 University of Sheffield 115 A+ 73.53 71.74 35.45 59.59 49.75 55.92 345.96
13 University of Leeds 123 A+ 73.56 71.29 35.28 59.23 49.46 56.25 345.08
14 University of Southampton 128 A+ 73.58 70.73 35.06 59.11 49.06 56.65 344.18
15 University of Liverpool 145 A+ 71.64 69.98 34.50 58.98 48.98 55.95 340.03
16 Cardiff University 152 A+ 70.89 69.54 33.86 58.35 49.22 56.25 338.11
17 University of Newcastle upon Tyne 161 A+ 70.08 70.26 33.94 58.83 49.55 53.95 336.61
18 University of Warwick 212 A+ 70.09 67.90 33.24 57.21 47.74 52.63 328.82
19 University of Leicester 231 A+ 68.26 68.30 32.61 57.40 48.89 51.25 326.70
20 University of Aberdeen 234 A+ 68.00 67.76 32.73 56.79 47.42 53.36 326.05

2014 Complete University Guide League Table

It’s spring and it’s time for the first league table of the season.

The Complete University Guide and league table for 2014 is now out. The details can be found on the Guide website together with lots of other analysis (including by subject, region and mission group)  and information on careers, fees etc.

The main table uses nine indicators: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment, Entry Standards, Student:Staff Ratio; Spending on Academic Services; Spending on Student Facilities; Good Honours degrees achieved; Graduate Prospects and Completion. The Subject tables are based on four: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment; Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects. The results tend to be fairly consistent year on year and there is not huge volatility in this table.

 Rank 2014  Rank 2013
1 (1) Cambridge
2 (3) Oxford
3 (2) LSE
4 (4) Imperial
5 (5) Durham
6 (6) St Andrews
7 (8) UCL
8 (6) Warwick
9 (10) Bath
10 (13) Exeter
11 (9) Lancaster
12 (12) York
13 (22) Surrey
14 (14) Loughborough
15 (11) Bristol
16 (20) Leicester
17 (23) Birmingham
18 (16) Edinburgh
19 (18) King’s
20 (27) UEA
20 (15) Southampton

So, little movement in the top 10 apart from the slight rejig to ensure Oxbridge dominance in the first two places. Glasgow and Nottingham slip out of the top 20 to be replaced by UEA, Birmingham and this year’s start performer at 13, the University of Surrey.

Students ‘swayed by league tables’

Some rather unsurprising research findings here.

The Guardian has a report on the impact of university league tables on prospective students. And in what might be the least surprising research finding of the year to date reports that league tables are influential:

rankings

Prospective students are increasingly influenced by university league tables when deciding where to study, according to research that found rises and falls within league standings provoking sharp changes in numbers of applications.

The research by economists at Royal Holloway, University of London, found that individual departments moving up a subject-level league table experienced a rise in applications of almost 5%, with the increase most pronounced among overseas applicants.

They also found that the influence of league table standings has increased since the introduction of tuition fees, suggesting that students are now more aware of the reputation and relative standings of university departments.

There is more though. Not only do league table rankings influence students and help with applications they are worth paying attention to if you want to protect your position and are going to be even more significant in future:

The authors – Xiaoxuan Jia, a researcher, and Arnaud Chevalier, senior lecturer in economics at Royal Holloway – conclude that universities should take care to guard their rankings, arguing: “Universities cannot afford to neglect their performance on league tables so long as they wish to establish and maintain a consistent reputation to attract the best of students.”

The emphasis on league table rankings is likely to increase as a result of new regulations relaxing the cap on student numbers for universities accepting students achieving AAB or higher in A-levels.

But in what is perhaps the most surprising of all the comments here, there is the proposal is made that resource allocation should be determined using ranking criteria:

The authors even suggest that university administrators “review their resource allocation based on the criteria used to construct those league tables on a regular basis, to improve and sustain their respective ranking performance”.

Just a bit of fun. I hope.

University league tables: buying success?

Australian universities are paying big salaries for rankers
 

Inside Higher Ed has a report on at least a couple of Australian institutions appointing league table specialists:
 

Some Australian universities are paying about $100,000 a year each to employ full-time managers dedicated to working with ranking agencies and developing strategies aimed at climbing league tables.

The University of New South Wales recently advertised for a manager of strategic reputation, while La Trobe University was seeking a manager of institutional rankings. For $100,000, responsibilities included maintaining relationships with ranking agencies to “maximize” or “optimize” their positions in rankings.

Observers say such positions highlight the growing importance of rankings in influencing research and teaching plans. But there are concerns that the professionalized management of rankings risks warping university strategies and may prove more a marketing effort than an effort to boost the substance of an institution’s performance.

 

 
league tables pic
 

The deputy vice chancellor at New South Wales, Les Field, said the position wasn’t new and was part of a team that ensured the information sent to annual data collections and the ranking agencies was accurate.
“It’s essential to have a team dedicated to getting our numbers right as well as providing the analysis on which we can direct the research effort into the future,” Field said. (Several American universities have been ensnared in controversies over their flawed — and in some cases seemingly gamed — reporting of data to rankings organizations. So far Australian universities have not been similarly besmirched.)

Whilst the work to be undertaken by these people in terms of data collection and analysis will undoubtedly be beneficial it is hard to get away from the idea that these appointments sound like an attempt to achieve a quick fix in terms of institutional league table performance. Will it pay off? Given the time lags involved with the data used it will be quite a few years before we find out.

Launch of the nice university league table

New league table: nearly there.

A previous post noted the imminent arrival of the all new European non-ranking ranking. Well now it seems to be nearly complete with only a year to wait until the first ranking is produced. The public launch of the ‘multi-dimensional’ ranking, which is intended to cover a wider range of indicators than the existing main league tables. Whilst research is one of the factors, the ranking will also cover quality of teaching and learning, international orientation, success in knowledge transfer and contribution to regional growth. The core proposition it seems is that this table will somehow not be a ranking and will therefore be nicer than all those other nasty league tables which put institutions in order.

 

 

The press release from the launch noted:

Speaking ahead of the launch, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth said: “Universities are one of Europe’s most successful inventions, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to think and act more strategically to realise the full potential of our universities. To do that, we need better information about what they offer and how well they perform. Existing rankings tend to highlight research achievements above all, but U-Multirank will give students and institutions a clear picture of their performance across a range of important areas. This knowledge will help students to choose the university or college that is best for them. It will also contribute to the modernisation and quality of higher education by enabling universities to identify their strengths or weaknesses and learn from each other’s experience; finally, it will give policy makers a more complete view of their higher education systems so that they can strengthen their country’s performance as a whole.”

A lot of work has gone into the new ranking:
multi

An independent consortium will compile the ranking, led by the Centre for Higher Education (CHE) in Germany and the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in the Netherlands. Partners include the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University (CWTS), information professionals Elsevier, the Bertelsmann Foundation and software firm Folge 3. The consortium will also work with national ranking partners and stakeholder organisations representing students, universities and business to ensure completeness and accuracy.

The ambition is there and the EU investment backs this up. Will it take off? Will the leading universities, who do so well in the current world rankings, want to join in? Will anyone really think it’s a nicer ranking? Time will tell.

Sustainability charts: UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2012

Now out : the Green Metric World Ranking 2012

This world university league table first appeared in 2010 and was headed by University of California, Berkeley. Last year the University of Nottingham led the field (sadly down to second this year). In 2012 it is the turn of Connecticut. The rest of the top 10 is as follows (last year’s position in brackets):

1 University of Connecticut, US (3)

2 University of Nottingham, UK (1)

3 University College Cork, Ireland (4)

4 Northeastern University, US (2)

5 University of Plymouth, UK (-)

6 Universite de Sherbrooke Canada

7 University of California, Los Angeles, US (7)

8 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill US

9 University of Bath, UK (10)

10 University of California Merced, US (9)

UI
The details of the table can be found at UI GreenMetric site. The aim of the ranking is, at least in part, to promote sustainability in universities:

The aim of this ranking is to provide the result of online survey regarding the current condition and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in the Universities all over the world. It is expected that by drawing the attention of university leaders and stake holders, more attention will be given to combating global climate change, energy and water conservation, waste recycling, and green transportation. Such activities will require change of behavior and providing more attention to sustainability of the environment, as well as economic and social problem related to the sustainability. We believe that the universities that are leading the way in this regard need to be identifiable and so we have decided to make a start in doing this. Initially, we will collect numeric data from thousands of universities world wide and process the data provided to arrive at a single score that reflects the efforts being made by the institution to implement environmentally friendly and sustainable policies and programs. Universities will be ranked according to this score. We hope that the rankings will be useful to university leaders in their efforts to put in place eco-friendly policies and manage behavioral change among the academic community at their respective institutions.

The methodology, criteria and scoring can be found here but in summary the approach is as follows:

We selected criteria that are generally thought to be of importance by universities concerned with sustainability. These include the collection of a basic profile of the size of the university and its zoning profile, whether urban, suburban, rural. Beyond this we want to see the degree of green space. The next category of information concerns electricity consumption because of its link to our carbon footprint. Then we want to know about transport, water usage, waste management and so on. Beyond these indicators, we want to get a picture about how the university is responding to or dealing with the issue of sustainability through policies, actions, and communication.

Overall a good result for Nottingham (and for Plymouth in 5th and Bath in 9th place). The number of institutions participating this year has increased significantly and it does rather look as if this league table is gaining a foothold.

More on Latin American rankings

More details on Latin America from the QS rankings

A post from some time ago noted the new found enthusiasm in Latin America for rankings. This has been borne out by the publication in 2011 and now 2012 of a specific Latin american league table by QS.

latin-america
The introduction to the table notes that

QS University Rankings: Latin America was published for the first time in 2011, this generated a huge amount of interest, both within the region and further afield.

This is perhaps unsurprising: Latin America is a hugely dynamic, fast-growing continent, that has recently identified higher education as key to its development, yet in global rankings it has mostly been conspicuous by its absence.

As in 2011, the rankings adopt the principles of the QS World University Rankings, augmented with measures of particular regional application.

Academic and employer reputation surveys remain the backbone of our approach, in combination with data on research productivity and citations, student/faculty ratio, the proportion of staff with a PhD, and web presence.

It is an exciting period for Latin American universities, with the growth in scientific research, increased for higher education, increased student mobility and the rise of private universities all accelerating the pace of change.

This year’s rankings help further our understanding of the comparative performance of universities throughout the region.

They also shine a light on pockets of development that have previously been beyond the scope of international rankings.

So the top 20 from QS is as set out below (full details can be found here). And whilst the top institution here, the Universidade de São Paulo, is ranked at 139 in the world in the latest QS table the general trend seems to be an upward one.

QSlogo

1 Universidade de São Paulo – Brazil

2 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile – Chile

3 Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) – Brazil

4 Universidad de Chile – Chile

5 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) – Mexico

6 Universidad de los Andes – Colombia

7 Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) – Mexico

8 Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

9 Universidad de Concepción – Chile

10 Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) – Chile

11 Universidad de Buenos Aires – Argentina

12 Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Colombia

13 Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – Brazil

14 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS) – Brazil

15 Universidade Federal de São Paulo – Brazil

16 Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) – Mexico

17 Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP) – Brazil

18 Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

19 Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) – Mexico

20 Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina Santa María de los Buenos Aires – UCA – Argentina

Giving league tables a bad name

This kind of thing really shouldn’t be given any airtime

Yes, sad to say it is the ‘University Drinking League’. Fortunately it does not deserve to be taken at all seriously given that it is simply self-reported consumption by students.

Being the responsible folks that we are we would never stoop to making lazy generalisations, so you can decide whether or not you’re surprised to find Queen’s University Belfast sitting top of the pile – with each student drinking a headache-inducing 27.3 units per week.

The uni in second place – Heriot-Watt – also came second in this year’s University Sex League, suggesting that its students have found more than a couple of ways to keep out the cold during the harsh Scottish winter.

The top three is rounded off with Bath Spa (who came in 4th place in the 2011 drinking league), whilst at the other end of the table we find Wolverhampton, Glasgow and Robert Gorden Uni propping things up – with the latter having an average of just 11 units per student per week.

Average units drunk per student per week
1 Queen’s University Belfast 27.3
2 Heriot-Watt University 26.3
3 Bath Spa University 26.3
4 University of Hull 26.1
5 Sheffield Hallam University 24.5
6 University of Strathclyde 24.3
7 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 23.9
8 Nottingham Trent University 23.8
9 University College London 23.1
10 University of Manchester 22.7
11 Swansea University 22.7
12 University of Aberdeen 22.5
13 University of Leeds 22.3
14 University of Edinburgh 22.1
15 Manchester Metropolitan University 21.6
16 Bangor University 21.5
17 University of Liverpool 20.8
18 University of Glamorgan 20.7
19 University of Plymouth 20.6
20 University of York 20.5

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, from the same source we have the ‘University Sex League 2012 where self-reporting is likely to be even less reliable than with alcohol consumption:

After the University of Glamorgan topped the list last year, the Welsh domination of the bedroom continues as Bangor University find themselves in pole position with 8.31 sexual partners per student. Llongyfarchiadau! (That’s Welsh for ‘congrats’, by the way.)

The former table-toppers have slipped to 15th, whilst their neighbours Aberystwyth Uni find themselves in the top five for the second consecutive year.

At the other end of the spectrum it would seem that The Only Way is No-Sex, with The University of Essex propping up the rest of the table with just 1.15 sexual partners per student.

 

 

Rank University Average number of sexual partners since starting uni*
1 Bangor University 8.31
2 Heriot-Watt University 5.8
3 University of Plymouth 5.75
4 Liverpool John Moores University 5.48
5 Aberystwyth University 5.34
6 Manchester Metropolitan University 5.31
7 Brunel University 5.22
8 Aston University 5.19
9 Sheffield Hallam University 4.89
10 Teesside University 4.86
11 University of Wolverhampton 4.86
12 Swansea University 4.75
13 Newcastle University 4.72
14 Edge Hill University 4.7
15 University of Glamorgan 4.67
16 University of Huddersfield 4.66
17 University of Cambridge 4.62
18 University of Exeter 4.59
19 University of Portsmouth 4.53
20 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 4.52

No doubt the Guardian, Times, THE and QS will be reconsidering their criteria with some urgency…

African Universities and the Global Rankings

Should African universities be concerned with the global league tables?

Inside Higher Ed has a really good piece on African universities and the impact of the international rankings. Essentially the challenge for Africa is that the global league tables use metrics which simply don’t favour the continent’s institutions:

Any observer of higher education in Africa would immediately realize that African universities, with the exception of a handful, stand no chance of appearing under the THE Rankings; or for that matter under other global university rankings such that the Shanghai Jiao Tong Ranking or the QS World University Rankings, which equally use criteria with a heavy bias on research, publications in international refereed journals and citations. African universities have to cope with huge student enrolment with limited financial and physical resources. They are short of academic staff, a large proportion of whom do not have a PhD. Not surprisingly, their research output and performance in postgraduate education are poor. It is clear that in the rankings race, they are playing on a non-level field.

But the more pertinent question is: should African universities attempt to be globally ranked? I believe not. It would be not only a waste of resources but also inappropriate. The priority for African universities at the moment should be to provide the skilled manpower required for their country’s development; to undertake research to solve the myriad problems facing Africa and to communicate their findings to the stakeholders in the most appropriate form, not necessarily through publications in international journals; and to engage with their community to meet the Millennium Development Goals and the Education For All targets. These do not fit the criteria for global rankings. They do, however, need assistance to improve the quality of their teaching provision, their research output and their service to the community. Their aim, and that of their government, should be that they be quality assured, not globally ranked.

Notwithstanding the recent success in the THE rankings of the University of Cape Town’s Medical Faculty (as reported in Business Day Live), this advice seems to me to be eminently sensible. Rather than chasing the rankings, where they will always be at a disadvantage, African universities should focus on delivering their regional and national missions in teaching, research and knowledge transfer. Improvements will happen over time and, hopefully, with support from universities in other parts of the world which will ultimately mean that institutions in Africa will be able to compete on the global stage. But chasing the rankings is not the way to go.

International Students in the USA (and Nottingham)

Interesting data on international students in the USA (and at the University of Nottingham)

The Institute of International Education has just released its ‘Open Doors’ report on international education in the USA. The press release give the headlines:

The 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds that the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by six percent to a record high of 764,495 in the 2011/12 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by one percent. This year, international exchanges in all 50 states contributed $22.7 billion to the U.S. economy. International education creates a positive economic and social impact for communities in the United States and around the world.

Open Doors is intended to provide helpful information on international education in the US:

Open Doors, supported by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, is a comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions in the United States, and U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit at their home colleges or universities.

The report lists the leading institutions in the USA in terms of international student numbers:

TOP INSTITUTIONS HOSTING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, 2011/12 
Rank Institution City State Int’l Total
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles CA 9,269
2 University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign Champaign IL 8,997
3 New York University New York NY 8,660
4 Purdue University – Main Campus West Lafayette IN 8,563
5 Columbia University New York NY 8,024
6 University of California – Los Angeles Los Angeles CA 6,703
7 Northeastern University Boston MA 6,486
8 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Ann Arbor MI 6,382
9 Michigan State University East Lansing MI 6,209
10 Ohio State University – Main Campus Columbus OH 6,142

What is most interesting about this data for me is that if the University of Nottingham UK (ie not including our campuses in Malaysia and China) were to be included in this table it would be at the top with, by our reckoning, 9,662 non-UK students enrolled in 2011/12. My guess is that Manchester and UCL would have even more than this.

Similar data for the UK can be found on the UKCISA website (which reports official HESA data) but note that the latest figures are for 2010/11. The US seems to be able to publish a little faster than we can. And of course we may find the numbers of international students in the UK declining in future as the full consequences of the Government’s immigration policies come into play.