By Ruth A. Pagell*
- Four of THE’s top five “Young” universities are from East Asia.
- Australia leads the region with 23 universities.
- UK leads the world with 27
THE released its 2017 Young University rankings during the first week of April. This recalibration of existing data is interesting because of additional articles including rankings by generations and an analytical article on the 14 mistakes that new universities make. There is limited free public access to these additional reports from the Times Higher Education Supplement. Online.
In 2012, both THE and QS initiated their rankings of the top universities under 50 years old. THE included 100. This month, THE issued its newest list of top 200 universities under 50. The methodology recalibrates the indicators, reducing the weighting for reputation. QS also ranked 50 universities. Its latest ranking from September 2016 includes 100 universities. Metrics are not recalibrated and the institutions are extrapolated from the world rankings by founding year.
Times Higher Education (THE)
The Times has used this iteration as an opportunity to change its name to Young University Rankings and to drill down into performance by “generations”.
Millennials – 21st c; Top world, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (DE); top Asia, Tokyo Metropolitan University. Seven of this group are French, due to recent changes in the French higher education system with mergers and groupings. Only three East Asian universities are on this list.
Gen Y – Late 80s and 1990s; Top world and Asia, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). 23 of the top 50 are from the United Kingdom and Australia. 15 are from East Asia.
Gen X – 1967 – 1985; Top world, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, top Asia, Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST). Australia and Germany have seven universities in this group and there are eight universities from Asia.
See Table 1 for tops in each generation in the world and East Asia and for tops in the initial 2012 ranking. See Figure 1 for an example of a generational report.
Not surprisingly, over half of the ranked young universities are from Gen X. Several of the young universities listed in 2012 are no longer eligible and Gen Xers will start dropping out each year going forward.
THE also included another article ranking of the top 100 Golden Years or Middle Aged – (1945-1966) universities. The UK led the list with 19 universities. The U.S., notably absent from top generational rankings, had nine, primarily due to the creation of state university systems. India led Asia with seven followed by China with five and South Korea with four.
“14 common errors when you set up to create a world-class university”
Higher Ed and QS, continue to slice and dice their dataset and add more institutions each year. What is best for young universities? First, is to avoid the mistakes listed below.
Ruth’s Rankings 20 and 21 explored world class and flagship universities in the context of rankings and bibliometrics. We concluded that “The challenges for rising Asian universities is not what a model is called but how the universities find the right ingredients to balance the obsession with rankings and the need for quality assurance with massification and national relevance.” (Pagell, Ruth’s Rankings 21)
In conjunction with Times Higher Education releasing its 2017 Young University Rankings, Jamil Salmi, credited with listing the characteristics of World Class Universities (Salmi, 2009) wrote a side bar for Young Universities on the mistakes that young universities have been making.
- Build a magnificent campus, expect magic to happen
- Design the curriculum after constructing the facilities
- Import all the content from somewhere else
- Design with an OECD ecosystem in mind, implement in a challenging environment: OECD Flagship model requires concentration of talent, abundant resources and favorable governance
- Delay putting in place the governing board and appointing the leadership team
- Stack the board with political appointees
- Plan for up front facility costs but pay little attention to the long-term financial sustainability
- Engage in mergers for the wrong reasons
- Be too ambitious in the quantitative growth targets
- Think that everything can be accomplished in eighteen months
- Rely exclusively on foreign academics without building local capacity
- Neglect to integrate your foreign students well
- Focus on the global research scene at the expense of the local environment
- Be obsessed with the ranking
Salmi’s blog, Global View of Tertiary Education, includes the full text of the report.
It is unfortunate that Times Higher Ed chose to require a subscription to see the generational reports and to make extracting the data a challenge. Salmi’s “mistakes” combined with THE’s indicators could prove useful to higher education administrations of young universities in deciding how important it is to play the rankings games and determine which indicators from which provider is best to use.
Salmi, Jamil (6 April 2017). 14 common errors when you set up to create a world-class university, Global View of Tertiary Education, accessed 13 April at http://tertiaryeducation.org/ .
Salmi, J. (2009). The Challenge of Establishing World Class Universities. Washington D.C., World Bank. Accessed online 14 April 2017 at https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/2600/476100PUB0Univ101Official0Use0Only1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
A list of Ruth’s Rankings and News Updates is here.
*Ruth A .Pagell is currently an adjunct faculty [teaching] in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii. Before joining UH, she was the founding librarian of the Li Ka Shing Library at Singapore Management University. She has written and spoken extensively on various aspects of librarianship, including contributing articles to https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3238-9674.