European University Association (EUA) report on international rankings published
The CHE ranking is well on its way in terms of methodology and implementation. This is the conclusion of the European University Association (EUA) report on “Global university rankings and their impact”, published on Friday, 17 June 2011. In particular, the report highlights the student interviews the CHE carries out which it estimates to be very useful for prospective students wanting to find out more about a particular study option. The report says the CHE UniversityRanking is one of the very few rankings to be explicitly tailored to the needs of prospective students. The new report also explains the interactive structure of the online version of the CHE ranking, which allows users to customise a personal ranking in accordance with their needs.
According to the EUA report, the positive effects of university rankings are that they focus public attention on higher education as well as motivate higher education institutions (HEIs) to improve. The report also lists weaknesses in the global rankings examined. There is, for example, general criticism that rankings often present an “overly simplified picture” of HEIs, as most rankings focus too heavily on research aspects. There was also criticism about the choice of indicators in global rankings, which only allows for one to three per cent of international higher education institutions to take part. In its report, the EUA therefore calls for a wider selection of HEIs to be included in the rankings and also for HEIs with weaker research backgrounds to be taken into account. There needs to be a greater focus on teaching standards at HEIs, the report says. These goals are shared by the U-Multirank project, about which the CHE reported last week.
The EUA report states that the tendency for HEIs to adjust investment to improve ranking positions rather than teaching standards is a negative consequence of traditional rankings.
The EUA study, which was published on 17 June 2011, analysed the main international rankings. Rather than assess existing rankings, the aim was to provide EUA members with an overview of the methods and effects of the rankings. The European University Association represents 850 higher education institutions in 47 European countries.