Tag: rankings

U-multirank is growing

umultirankEarlier this month, the third U-Multirank was launched. In 2016/2017 edition U-Multirank is larger than ever, with 1300 institutions from 90 countries, and 13 subject areas compared with over 10700 study programmes covered. The idea of U-Multirank is to provide a multidimensional ranking, where it is possible to examine universities, according to results in the following areas: research performance, teaching and learning, knowledge transfer, international orientation and regional engagement. In total, 31 performance indicators are covered.

The main results show that there are different dynamics on different indicators. While in research performance/reputation, the “usual suspects” that dominate many of the one-dimensional rankings are also in the top, in the indicators with teaching and learning the picture is more complex. For teaching and learning, U-Multirank includes a survey of 105 000 students world wide at participating institutions. The 20 universities that obtained the highest satisfaction levels are from 9 different countries. In the press release, Dr. Frans van Vught and Dr Frank Ziegele who lead the project comment on this:The opinions of current students are – and should be – influential in helping tomorrow’s students decide where to study. Students want to find the university that’s best for them, according to their own preferences, and often look to their peers to learn from their experiences, especially in an area like learning and teaching where no one knows better than the students themselves.”  




U-Multirank 2015 published this week

umultirankOn Monday – the 2015 edition of the U-Multirank was published, following the first edition published in May 2014. While the 2014 edition featured 850 institutions, the 2015 version has expanded and now includes over 1200 institutions in 89 countries world wide. The press release highlighted that with 21,000 data scores on the institutional level and 37,000 on the field base level, U-Multirank is now the largest ranking of higher education institutions in the world.

Data is collected on 31 different indicators, and in addition to the options to compare institutions with similar other institutions, 17 ready made rankings are also provided, some of which (research and research linkages) also feature some of the “usual suspects” in the top, in particular when examining publications and citation rate.

However, some of the other indicators (i.e. economic involvement / regional dimension, or international orientation) show a very different set of top universities, and the usual US (and to some extent UK) dominance is challenged. For instance, University of Bergen is listed as number two in the international orientation ready made ranking, right behind Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. In addition to this, there are also subject based rankings on various fields, and for instance in the area of medical education, Bern University was ranked as to be on the top. In general, most of the ready-made rankings show a rather diverse picture of institutions and countries.




News: University rankings as institutional strategy tools?

euaLast week, EUA published a new report on rankings  ‘Rankings in Institutional Strategies and Processes: Impact or Illusion?‘ (RISP) where the project examines in detail how rankings are used for institutional development across Europe. This report directly follows up on two earlier EUA reports on rankings that had primary focus on analyzing the methodology of rankings. Earlier this year, NIFU also published a report on the Nordic countries, where focus was on a comprehensive deconstruction of the rankings to identify what assures success, and to examine the impact of rankings on the leadership of research intensive universities in the Nordic region.

Data for the EUA report was gathered in various forms. An online survey was sent out to all EUA members (about 850). The survey yielded responses from 171 institutions in 39 countries, with a broad coverage of various European countries. 90% of the respondents came from instituions who are part of a ranking. Folloing up on the survey, a total of 48 meetings were conducted through six site visits to understand in more detail how instituions work with rankings, and a roundtable was organised with 25 participants from 18 European countries to create an arena for peer learning and sharing of experiences.

The main conclusion from this project is that rankings indeed do have an effect on institutional behaviour, but that this effect varies. 60% of those who answered in the survey replied that rankings are used in their institutional strategies – but the specific kind of use varied from examining certain indicators to using them in a comprehensive manner. Furthermore, it is highlighted that as many as 39% report that the results of rankings “to inform strategic, organisational, managerial or academic actions, and another third of respondents were planning to do so”. Unsurprisingly, rankings were widely used in marketing, but the respondents had also reported use in “the revision of university policies, the prioritisation of some research areas, recruitment criteria, resource allocation, revision of formal procedures, and the creation of departments or programme”.




News: U-Multirank launched yesterday

umultirankYesterday, 13th of May,U-Multirank finally reached its launch date and the data was presented to the public. The project has been funded with the European Union and has cost about 2 million euros. In this first edition, the ranking includes 850 institutions that can be compared in a multidimensional manner. The key argument has been to provide a system where institutional scores are not aggregated to one single score, but provide a means for users to rank institutions according to selected criteria.

In the press release, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth commented on the launch: “I welcome the launch of this exciting new development in higher education. U-Multirank will enable students to make more informed decisions about where to study and give us a more accurate picture of how universities perform. We are proud of our world-class higher education, but we need many kinds of universities, catering for a wide range of needs; that means strong technical and regional universities just as much as outstanding research universities. U-Multirank highlights many excellent performers that do not show up in current, research-focused, global rankings – including more than 300 universities that have never appeared in any world ranking until now.

The core idea of U-Multirank is their focus on five key areas: research performance, teaching and learning quality, international orientation, knowledge transfer and regional involvement. Furthermore, the results can be viewed according to academic fields, the 2014 edition includes business studies, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics. In 2015, psychology, computer science and medicine will be added to the list.

The press release highlighted that 95% of institutions receive an A score on at least one measures, showing that almost all institutions who participate have certain strengths in their institutional profile and that these strenghts can vary. At the same time, only 12% of the institutions receive more than 10 top scores, indicating also some vertical differentiation of institutions. Furthermore, the press release indicated that the participants come primarily from Europe: 62% are from Europe, 17% from North America, 14% from Asia and 7% from Oceania, Latin America and Africa.




Ranking and mapping – U-Multirank coming up

umultirankHave you heard about U-Multirank? It is a project to develop a multidimensional ranking tool where users can decide what indicator they want to rank the institutions by.

This means that no composite scores will be presented which would allow to create one single ranking of top 10 or top 100 of the best institutions. The main idea is that one can compare institutions with similar profiles to each other rather than create a single list, with the argument being that a single composite score does not sufficiently  take into account the various profiles of institutions.

The launch of U-Multirank has been anticipated for some time now, and while the official date is still not announced yet, it has been announced that U-Multirank will be available mid-May in 2014. The launch will be marked with a press conference in Brussels with the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth introducing the instrument and the researchers of the team providing their insights about the project – we will keep you posted about the development!

umap-exampleU-Multirank draws also on an accompanying project – the U-Map project, where the instrument has been available since August last year. U-Map has been in development since 2004 and is now fully functional. It is a mapping tool for higher education institutions in Europe and beyond (Listen also to our earlier Hedda podcast about U-Map where we talked to Franz Keiser and Elisabeth Epping).