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«organized by: IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence and CHE Centre for Higher Educational Development, Guetersloh, Germany Sponsored by ...»

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IREG-5 Conference: The Academic Rankings: From Popularity to Reliability

and Relevance

organized by:

IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence


CHE Centre for Higher Educational Development, Guetersloh, Germany

Sponsored by the

With support of

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Berlin, 6-8 October 2010

Conference venue (all sessions): Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science

(Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften),

Markgrafenstraße 38


Session 1 Let the Sun Shine In: The Use of Academic Rankings in Developing Countries Alex Usher

President of Higher Education Strategies Associates, Toronto, Canada:

Abstract University rankings in the developed world usually have the benefit of having access to large amounts of “official” data available through government agencies and/or data form surveys of students, administrators and employers, and/or large-scale bibliometric analyses. In the developing world, however, these conditions often do not apply, or apply only weakly: little data on institutions is publicly available, surveys are not conducted either because of expense or political considerations, and publications in internationally-recognized journals are very few. And yet, there are nearly twenty sets of university rankings in the developing word. The purpose of this paper is to show how rankings operate in these environments and how they differ from those seen in the developed world, both in purpose and constriction. The paper will also show how web rankings such as webometrics have come to such enormous prominence in the developing world and why they are likely to remain a “gold standard” in many countries for some time to come. Finally, the paper will conclude with some thoughts on how to improve rankings in developing countries.

Speaker info Alex Usher is the President of Higher Education Strategy Associates and Editor-in-Chief of Global Higher Education Strategy Monitor. An internationally recognized expert in student financial aid and quality measurement in post-secondary education, Mr. Usher has authored numerous ground- breaking studies in higher education. In addition to his years of work on higher education in Canada, his recent work spans Asia, Europe and Africa as well. In his former role as Director of Educational Policy Institute Canada (EPI Canada), Mr. Usher managed the Measuring the Effectiveness of Student Aid Project for the Millennium Scholarship Foundation, a 4-year $4 million research project to investigate the long-term effects of student aid and is the author of the project's Final Report, appearing in early 2010. In 2002 and 2004, Mr. Usher co-authored (with Sean Junor) the Price of Knowledge, a volume considered the standard reference on student finance in Canada. More recently, he has written the theme document for UNESCO Europe's decennial meeting on higher education, Ten Years Back and Ten Years Forward: Developments and Trends in Higher Education in Europe Region. He sits on a variety of advisory, supervisory and editorial boards in Canada, Europe and Asia. Prior to joining the Educational Policy Institute in 2003 and founding the Higher Education Strategy Associates Mr. Usher served as the Director of Research and Program Development at the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Usher served as a researcher and lobbyist for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and before that was the first national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. He holds degrees from McGill University and Carleton University.

–  –  –

Peter Okebukola Chairman of Council, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria and former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission Abstract Over the past nine years, the Nigerian university system, the most expansive in Africa with 104 universities enrolling about 1.5 million students, has implemented a ranking system that has continued to be refined for improved reliability and relevance. The initial thrust in 2001 of using data from the system-wide comprehensive accreditation exercise has been strengthened with a number of additional variables adjudged to crosscut major international ranking schemes. After four years of implementation and wide acceptability by the university system and the general public, the scheme was further refined in 2009 to enhance its national application as well as application across the Africa region.. The Times Higher Education Ranking, Academic Ranking of World Universities, Webometrics Ranking, Professional Ranking of World Universities, Newsweek Ranking, Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities and the African Rating Mechanisms contributed variables to the NUC-Ranking System. The Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions were applied to the NUC-Ranking System and found to achieve a high level of compliance. The paper highlights the stages of evolution of academic ranking in the Nigerian university system from 2001 to 2010 and describes the impact of ranking on improving quality and efficiency of the Nigerian university system.

Speaker info

Professor Peter Okebukola was born in Ilesa on February 17, 1951. He had his higher education at the University of Ibadan where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in 1973 followed by Master’s and Ph.D degrees in Science Education in the same university. He had specialised training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), and Harvard University. He now specialises in quality assurance in education systems, educational evaluation, higher education and distance learning, science, computer and environmental education. He is currently the Chairman of Governing Council of three universities - Crawford University, Osun State University and the University of Science and Technology, Ifaki, Nigeria. He is the President of the Global University Network for Innovation GUNIAfrica. He is the immediate past Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission and he introduced ranking into the Nigerian university system. He is currently working with the leadership of NUC to refine the ranking system and implement the refined scheme at the national level and Africa wide. He is noted as the First African to win the UNESCO Prize for the Communication of Science, the First African Fellow and Member of the Board of Directors of the International Academy of Education and the first African Member of the Executive Board of the International Association for Research in Science Teaching. He is a Fellow and Past President of the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria as well as of the National Association for Environmental Education. He has won several international gold medals in science and computer education. His research efforts have resulted in over 130 internationally published works and more than 150 national and international conference presentations.

Many of his publications can be found in the world’s top 10 higher education, science education, computer education and environmental education journals. He has been awarded a number of honorary D.Sc degrees. He is a recipient of the National Honour of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic.

3 Rankings in Peru in Context of Recent Developments in Higher Education in the Latin America Luis Piscoya Professor at San Marcos University of Lima, Peru Abstract The arising of the first world university rankings, ARWU (2003) and THES (2004), allowed to mint the term World-Class Universities and created a list of 500 institutions, of which only seven were Latin American. The 2010 editions of said rankings and of the THE, the U.S. News, and the QS rankings show slightly different results. As for the Latin American perspective, there is a growing interest in building rankings--started in Peru and continued in Mexico, Brazil, and Chile--to which is added the tendency to present accreditation results in the form of rankings. Thus, based on the Peruvian experience, this paper attempts to explain the mechanisms that have given rise to such a tendency and to evaluate its projections by discussing the role of underlying methodological assumptions about paradigms of academic excellence, pertinence criteria, and choice criteria of an adequate language to describe levels of performance in terms of qualities.

Speaker info

Luis A. Piscoya is a full professor of philosophy and of education at the graduate schools of Philosophy and Education of the San Marcos Major National University in Lima, Peru, where he has been, respectively, head of the Department of Philosophy (1982-1985) and director of the doctoral program in education (1997-2001). Also, he has been a founding member of the Peruvian National Council of Education (2002-2008). Currently, he works as external consultant to UNESCO-IESALC (2004-present), educational consultant to the presidency of the National Assembly of University Presidents of Peru (2005-present), and as the Peruvian coordinator of the Map of Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean project, ongoing in Latin America today. As visiting scholar, Dr.

Piscoya has carried out research at American and German universities. He has published in Peru and other countries.

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Jamil Salmi Tertiary Education Coordinator, the World Bank, Washington DC, United States Abstract The main objective of this presentation is to propose a new way of assessing the performance of tertiary education. It will start by summarizing the main limitations faced by existing ranking systems that serve as proxies of institutional performance. It will then outline a benchmarking approach that considers how entire tertiary education systems operate. It will finish by illustrating how this approach can be used to identify bottlenecks and inform policy making to improve the principal dimensions characterizing the performance and health of tertiary education systems.

Speaker info

Jamil Salmi, a Moroccan education economist, is the World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator. He is the principal author of the Bank’s Tertiary Education Strategy entitled “Constructing Knowledge Societies: New Challenges for Tertiary Education”. In the past seventeen years, Mr. Salmi has provided policy advice on tertiary education reform to the governments of more than 60 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Mr. Salmi is a member of the Governing Board of the International Institute for Educational Planning, the International Advisory Network of the UK Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, and the Editorial Committee of OECD’s Journal of Higher Education Management and Policy. Mr. Salmi’s latest book, published in February 2009, addresses the “Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities”.

–  –  –

Waldemar Siwiński Vice-President of IREG-Observatory, President of Perspektywy Education Foundation,

Warsaw, Poland:

Abstract Over the past few years academic world has been fascinated by international rankings. This phenomenon was bravely started by professor Nian Cai Liu who, as the first, published its pioneering Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2003. The process of globalization and availability of the ever up-to-date publication and citation data encouraged many players to start drawing their own world maps of higher education by the method of ranking. Among them are academic institutions (Leiden University), education market organizations (QS), media (THE) and strictly political structures (European Commission) with various motivations: be to research, business or politics. They all, however, have faced the similar barriers. There is a dramatic lack of comparable data describing higher education in different countries. The shortage of such data along with diverse cultural environment in which universities function make it difficult to establish satisfactory ranking criteria.

In this context, we should take a second look at the national rankings. They are, compared to their international counterparts, much more developed (advanced), partly due to their by 20 years longer history (since the first “US News & World Report” ranking). National rankings can be more comprehensive because higher education institutions on the country level function in a similar cultural and legal environment, and comparable data is readily available. This, of course, allows for selection of a broad set of criteria, common to a group of ranked higher education institutions. This in turn facilitates a smooth evolution of methodology a must in knowledge-based economies.

The analysis of selected national rankings (UN News & World Report, Perspektywy) on the one hand and of the main world rankings (ARWU, THE, QS) show that the picture of higher education institutions ranked on the national level is far richer and comprehensive than ranked on international level. On the national level it is also easier to ”recognize the diversity of institutions and take the different missions and goals of institutions into account”. (Berlin Principle, par. 3) and ”cultural, economic, and historical contexts of the educational systems being ranked”. (BP, par. 5). It is worth mentioning that every year there are more countries were professional rankings of higher education institutions are published. There is a growing element of competition as in a number of countries more than one ranking is published contributing to their increasing quality.

The managers of higher education institutions undertaking reforms of their institutions are increasingly looking for benchmarks to monitor the effects of their actions. University ranking can be here a very useful tool. The international ranking can be of little or no use in this respect since they are limited to hundreds of universities worldwide (the magic number 500). Theoretically, this number could be much larger, but we know, the diversity diminishes dramatically as differences between subsequent institutions become lesser and lesser. The only decent advice we can give to these managers and ambitious rector is: take seriously national rankings because only by improving your

–  –  –

The national and world university rankings are two totally separated worlds. We should, I believe, look for the narrows, closest points between these two worlds. In order to build a bridge (passage)

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