fr summit marginson 230306

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Published on October 30, 2007

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Australian universities in the global context (focusing on global rankings) Simon Marginson Monash University :  Australian universities in the global context (focusing on global rankings) Simon Marginson Monash University Financial Review Higher Education Summit Four Points by Sheraton Darling Harbour, Sydney 22-23 March 2006 Slide2:  How are we faring in international rankings? What do the various ranking systems count for? Are research and teaching quality becoming the prestige factor? How will the Nelson initiatives affect our international rankings? How are we faring in international rankings?:  How are we faring in international rankings? Top 500 research universities 2005 data Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education :  Top 500 research universities 2005 data Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education ‘Others’ include Austria 6, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, (each 5), Norway, Brazil, South Africa (each 4), India, Ireland, Poland (each 3), Singapore, Russia, Hungary, Turkey, Greece (each 2), Argentina, Mexico, Czech Republic, Chile, Portugal (each 1). Top 100 research universities 2005 data from Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education :  Top 100 research universities 2005 data from Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education Others: Israel, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Norway, Russia, Italy each 1. The top 20 in 2005 from Shanghai Jiao Tong University data:  The top 20 in 2005 from Shanghai Jiao Tong University data Australians in top 500, 2005 from Shanghai Jiao Tong University data:  Australians in top 500, 2005 from Shanghai Jiao Tong University data Top 100 universities 2005 data from the Times Higher :  Top 100 universities 2005 data from the Times Higher Others: Israel, Finland, Denmark, Austria, India, Russia, Mexico, New Zealand each 1. The top 20 in 2005 according to the Times Higher:  The top 20 in 2005 according to the Times Higher Australians in the top 200, 2005 according to the Times Higher:  Australians in the top 200, 2005 according to the Times Higher 2. What do the various ranking systems count for?:  2. What do the various ranking systems count for? Times Higher rankings: weightings:  Times Higher rankings: weightings Jiao Tong rankings: weightings:  Jiao Tong rankings: weightings HiCi researchers selected universities, 2005:  HiCi researchers selected universities, 2005 HiCi researchers Australia 2005:  HiCi researchers Australia 2005 National research performance compared to economic capacity 1:  National research performance compared to economic capacity 1 National research performance compared to economic capacity 2:  National research performance compared to economic capacity 2 Australia and Canada compared:  Australia and Canada compared 3. Are research and teaching quality becoming the prestige factor?:  3. Are research and teaching quality becoming the prestige factor? Jiao Tong has changed the game…:  Jiao Tong has changed the game… Universities are widely judged by research performance which is foundational to reputation, and operates as a proxy for degree clout and even for teaching quality. Now Jiao Tong has provided a credible set of data on research performance All governments/nations want ‘super-league’ universities, leading to concentration, stratification, selective investment It is essential to be listed in the top 500 to be seen as a player Every university (except Harvard) wants to lift its Jiao Tong rankings, especially the holistic university ranking .Thus every university in the top 500 wants more HICi researchers. This intensifies competition and generates price effects Marketing (‘we are world-class’, ‘we are one of the finest’ etc.) is no longer enough - the data must confirm it The Jiao Tong rankings position Australia as less strong than we would like, a challenge for the nation and for institutions Global labor markets 1: professorial salaries Australia/USA American Association of University Professors annual salary survey (from Academe):  Global labor markets 1: professorial salaries Australia/USA American Association of University Professors annual salary survey (from Academe) Global labor markets 2: mobile doctoral students Percentage (%) of all international students enrolled in research degrees OECD data for 2003 except USA is 2003-2004:  Global labor markets 2: mobile doctoral students Percentage (%) of all international students enrolled in research degrees OECD data for 2003 except USA is 2003-2004 …but rankings have their limitations:  …but rankings have their limitations Little can be accurately measured on a comparative basis aside from financial inputs and publications/citations All rankings are partial in coverage, i.e. perpetuate biases Even when differences between universities are not statistically significant, they are rank ordered in league tables anyway Most rankings are asked to do too much, are untheorised or incoherent (e.g. the weightings), or simply manipulate opinion. The rationale for rankings is student choice. Yet data on research performance, student-staff ratios, etc can tell us nothing about the quality of teaching or of professional preparation! Rankings reflect and manufacture university reputation. Subjective opinion-based rankings reinforce the pecking order in circular fashion. This blocks genuine merit and upward mobility Rankings generate a lemming-like rush to silly policy, e.g. research concentrations that impair research capacity elsewhere Good rankings are…:  Good rankings are… Clean. The data are free from self-interest Coherent. The measures do not mix chalk and cheese, and the conclusions are consistent with the reach of the data base Transparent. The measures and weightings are theorised, and data collection is an open process Purpose-driven. Different purposes and different criteria for outcomes each require their own customised measures Informative. Data on specifics, e.g. disciplines, research, are more informative and accurate than wholistic university places Customer-driven. e.g. the select your own criteria interactive web-based rankings by Germany’s CHE/Die Zeit 4. How will the Nelson initiatives affect our international rankings?:  4. How will the Nelson initiatives affect our international rankings? Good night and good luck:  Good night and good luck The Nelson reforms encourage stratification between universities (full fee-raising, RQF positioning). This might strengthen Go8 reputations and thus lift Times rankings. It will not lift Jiao Tong rankings unless more is spent on research A move into the Jiao Tong top 50 requires (1) investment in HiCi research and infrastructure at scale (2) patience The Nelson reforms do not provide for a public funding increase on a scale sufficient to enhance research capacity The Nelson reforms were expected to enable universities to raise more private income via full fee domestic places and FEE-HELP, but micro-regulation has inhibited this The government is yet to bite the bullet on selective investment in research capacity at scale, outside ANU Q. How will global rankings affect our export position? 2003 OECD data:  Q. How will global rankings affect our export position? 2003 OECD data International resources:  International resources A useful comparison of all the rankings is provided by the Education Policy Institute of Canada at - http://www.educationalpolicy.org/pdf/World-of-Difference-200602162.pdf The website for the Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings is found at (add your hit to the millions) - http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2005/ARWU2005TOP500list.htm The Center for Higher Education Development (CHE)/ Die Zeit interactive rankings are in English at – http://www.daad.de/deutschland/studium/hochschulranking/04690.en.html A good summary and analysis of rankings issues is provided in David Dill and Maarja Soo, ‘Academic quality, league tables and public policy’, Higher Education, 49, pp. 495-533 (2005)

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