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How to change a university’s rankings for the better – and inexpensively…

Raise Your Game: 20 Inexpensive Ways to Rise in the Rankings
Published in the Times Higher Education, February 18 2010

Amanda Goodall’s take on how to change a university’s rankings for the better – and inexpensively!

The rankings race is on, and the competition is expanding all the time: universities around the world are upping the ante and learning how to play the ratings game.
If we have reservations about being part of this dirty business, don’t worry: we are in good company. The University of California is arguably one of the best public university systems in the world (although the current cuts are taking their toll). The success of UC is often attributed to its former President, Clark Kerr, a distinguished economist. When Clark Kerr was Chancellor of Berkeley in the 1950s, he used rankings to motivate change. Kerr’s yearning was to overtake Harvard, Yale and Princeton, a desire that was eventually met in 1964, when the American Council of Education placed Berkeley at number 1. The only difference between the race in the 1960s and the race today is that it is now happening everywhere.

What can universities do to improve their position? I have constructed a list drawn from evidence, experience and anecdote. The suggestions are mainly for research universities, and, importantly given the impending cuts, they are not high cost.

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