February 1, 2005

We're Number 200-something!

The University of South Florida now ranks in the 200s in Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Institute of Higher Education Top 500 World University "study" (thanks to Frog in a Well for the link). The method (incorrectly termed "methodology," but that's a different rant) is better on some levels than the North American rankings based substantially on reputations, but it relies on quantitative indices that measure the international "greatness" of a faculty (Nobel and Field prizes of faculty and alumni, statistics in certain citation indices, etc. ). The vast majority of productive research faculty who fail to win Nobel Prizes still contribute to their fields, and I can easily imagine "great" universities coddling the relative handful of stars while ignoring needs of the bulk of productive faculty. And that's still refusing to acknowledge teaching, left untouched by this "university league standings."

My guess is that my university president will tout this ranking as evidence that we're moving up in the world. But maybe we need to trade for a good center, centerfielder, or quarterback, depending on your choice of awful sports metaphor.

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Posted in Random comments on February 1, 2005 10:52 AM |