Praise for multi-dimensional ranking at a classification conference in Chile: CHE Ranking - "the best quality instrument currently available"
There is continued international interest in the CHEĺs ranking and data expertise. CHE managing director Prof. Dr. Frank Ziegele presented the European concepts U-Map and U-Multirank, which are based on the same principles as the CHE Ranking, at the international "Classifications of Higher Education Institutions" conference in Santiago de Chile on 11 December 2012. Speaking about the CHE Ranking, the Chilean sociologist and well-known higher education researcher Jose Joaquin Brunner said: "According to the professional literature, it is the best quality instrument currently available and provides the best service for students at the point when they are deciding upon a programme or institution."
The Chilean Education ministry invited renowned experts from the USA and Europe to the conference to present concepts for the classification of higher education institutions including their opportunities and problems. Classification should bring "order" to a higher education system by illustrating the profiles of higher education institutions via indicators. A classification was developed in Chile that arranges higher education institutions according to research criteria alone. However, Prof. Dr. Ziegele raised concerns over this approach, claiming it would jeopardise the real purpose of classification. He said: "Classifications should describe difference, horizontal diversity and profile diversity, but should not divide institutions on the basis of being better or worse. Taking account of research criteria alone will automatically lead to a hierarchy of academic institutions with 'teaching universities' labelled as second class. "
A multi-dimensional approach, as adopted by the CHE, avoids this problem. Prof. Dr. Ziegele presented to conference guests both the U-Map classification as well as the U-Multirank approach to producing a multi-dimensional, international university ranking. The latter only compares universities whose profiles are similar, i.e. the ranking is linked to U-Map. Alongside the European concepts, experts from the USA explained the "Carnegie Classification" at the conference.
Jose Joaquin Brunner, Chile's most renowned higher education expert, sociologist and holder of the UNESCO Chair of Comparative Higher Education Policies, acknowledged the CHE ranking. On the occasion of the conference he said: "This user friendly ranking system for undergraduate programmes has been developed by an autonomous research centre, supported by a private foundation, and is available on Internet and disseminated by the German newspaper Die Zeit. According to the professional literature it is the best quality instrument currently available and provides the best service for students at the point when they are deciding upon a program or institution."
In his speech, CHE managing director Prof. Dr. Frank Ziegele warned against classifying higher education institutions on the basis of research criteria alone.