Old Europe

Mar 26, 2012

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No, I don’t believe the rankings, or at least not in the way people think of them. But the following does make one sit up and notice, if only because we need to understand better what Universities are for. (Richard Horton in the Lancet)

Just how reputable is your university? The latest Times Higher Education rankings were published last week. The magazine’s editors sifted through the votes of 17 554 academics—“the people best placed to know the most about excellence in our universities”. The top 10 were Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Oxford, Princeton, Tokyo, UCLA, and Yale. The US dominated the top 50: 31 American universities are there, from Harvard all the way to Purdue. The UK came second, with Imperial College (13), UCL (21), the London School of Economics (LSE, 29), and Edinburgh (49) added to Cambridge and Oxford. For these British universities, three fell in their ranking, two were static, and only one rose (LSE). The UK is in relative decline. In the US, 15 universities saw declines in reputation, while only ten improved. The most important geopolitical shift was Europe’s relegation to third place, with eight institutions in the top 50. Asia-Pacific now has nine: three from China, three from Australia, two from Japan, and one from Singapore. The Asia-Pacific region is now stronger intellectually than Europe. That is a sensational, if predictable, reversal of fortune

Post by Jonathan Rees

Clinical academic and skin watcher at the University of Edinburgh

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