Posts Tagged ‘University Quality’

Another comment on the utility of university ranking systems – Prospective students appear to ignore them! [Speakers at London Meeting Analyze How Students Choose Colleges Abroad « Ninth Level Ireland]

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Speakers at London Meeting Analyze How Students Choose Colleges Abroad « Ninth Level Ireland.

A quote:

The single most important factor in influencing where students look first as they seek information about programs abroad is the guidance of friends and family members, Rebecca Loades, an associate director at the Graduate Management Admission Council, said her organization’s surveys suggest. But there are regional variations. In Africa and the Middle East, undergraduates tend to look to their professors for advice, while students in Latin America are more likely to seek information from external publications.

Surveys of graduate business students reveal three key reasons behind their choice of a particular program, Ms. Loades said: quality and reputation; specifics about the curriculum, such as location and program duration; and career-related factors, such as how well a program meets specific employment goals.

What is really striking about this article is the lack of of reference to university ranking systems as a key variable in student choices. No mention whatsoever! So, rather than imagining hordes of students feverishly studying these rankings and choosing to apply to number 43 rather than number 87 (or some such ranking), students are much more likely to make applications on the basis of what is known within their own social networks, rather than a ranking system. Perhaps ranking systems owe more to the needs of universities to position themselves relative to each other, rather than the needs of students for such rankings? As noted here in a previous post, the two major ranking systems pay little attention to issues as UG/PG satisfaction, UG completion rates or prospective graduate employment salary uplift as function of institution.  So why should students pay attention to the ranking systems? Additionally, neither system measures cost of education: the article notes that ‘as the rupee lost ground against the dollar … [there was a] steep drop in applications from India, while British institutions reported being deluged’.


Ireland’s future starts here – The Irish Times – Tue, Mar 23, 2010

March 23, 2010 1 comment

Ireland’s future starts here – The Irish Times – Tue, Mar 23, 2010.

John McHale’s post on the innovation agenda is below.

The article by the university heads s via the link above.

Some quotes:

We welcome the extension of the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI) to 2020. In a relatively short period of time, SSTI has established both the pipeline of graduates in advanced science, engineering and technology and the other components essential to the growth of a smart economy. We need now to display a fresh urgency and commitment to the RD and innovation agenda. Our international competitors appreciate these imperatives and so must we.


We welcome the implicit acknowledgement that our current funding model is no longer fit-for-purpose and of the need to develop revenue streams sufficient to sustain excellence in our higher education institutions (HEIs). This statement is a welcome contrast to some other pronouncements which have, despite internationally benchmarked evidence to the contrary, questioned investment in HEI-based research.

This last point is very important, and has received relatively lttle coverage. The third-level sector cannot perform as expected if the current substantial disinvestment continues. Fees are coming back in some way, shape or form. Perhaps not this year, but soon.

The Irish Economy » Blog Archive » University Heads on Research

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Nice post from irisheconomy (reproduced in full) on innovation.

The Irish Economy » Blog Archive » University Heads on Research.

University Heads on Research

This post was written by John McHale

The heads of UCD and Trinity reflect on the findings of the Innovation Taskforce is today’s Irish Times. I think they provide a timely clarification on the rationale for supporting university research. The idea that the purpose of research is to generate discrete technologies that can be commercialised by Irish firms has gained surprising currency. While this idea does get some empirical support from the literature on localised knowledge spillovers, it is too weak a foundation to support a costly investment programme. A more encompassing rationale includes the role of research—and particularly the integration of teaching and research—in ensuring the broad innovation capabilities of Irish graduates. Brady and Hegarty sum up this broader human capital rationale well:

Read more…

normblog: Higher education and democracy

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

normblog: Higher education and democracy.

Thought-provoking post from Norman Geras on the purpose of third-level education (post reproduced in full):

Higher education and democracy

Peter Scott, vice-chancellor of Kingston University, writes of the false alternative, as he sees it, often posed in discussions of the purposes of higher education:

Today there seems to be a black and white choice between “what is higher education for”, bristling with instrumentality, and “higher education for its own sake”, all blue-skies. The truth is neither serves.

Setting out some cognate pairs of options, Scott rejects the either-or they offer, and then explains why. His explanation in short: mass higher education’s ‘essential link with democracy’. The link is better appreciated in the US, Scott says, where going to college is understood as being connected to ‘the founding values of the republic’. For us too, higher education must no longer be about elites; it is about citizens.

That’s all fine and dandy in my book. But Scott’s conclusion rebounds against his premise. If higher education is about democratic citizenship, then I’d want to challenge his dismissal of one of the choices from which he began: namely, higher education for its own sake. I’d challenge his dismissal of this on the grounds that I doubt there is a better way of educating citizens, educating participants in democracy, than making available to them the free and open environment that goes with the traditions of a liberal education. Shaping higher education towards some special programme of learning-for-citizenship doesn’t sound at all appealing. It’s reminiscent of civics lessons at school. It would narrow rather than broaden. Let people teach and study what interests them, but with the discipline that true study demands; try to ensure that it really is study and not merely farting about.

Posted by Norm at 01:47 PM | Permalink

Cut state funding to universities. Let them stand alone | Terence Kealey – Times Online

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Cut state funding to universities. Let them stand alone | Terence Kealey – Times Online.

This could never even be thought of here, could it?

Wonderful news. The Government yesterday cut half a billion pounds from the money it gives to universities, a real term cut of 9.2 per cent. The Government needs only to cut a few more billion from the budget to guarantee the excellence of British higher education.

The myth is that higher education is a public good and that, in the absence of subsidies, only the occasional scion of an investment banker would attend university. But the reality — as shown by the surge in applications since the introduction of top up fees — is that higher education is a very private good indeed, whose benefits accrue almost solely to the student: over their careers graduates still earn £160,000 more on average than people with only A levels.

The problem is not that the Government funds universities per se but that the Government funds universities in ways that damage them. So the universities are not allowed to determine how many students to admit or charge the fees the market would bear. Both parameters are set by politicians. Imagine how good Sainsbury’s would be if a ministry of food determined its prices and the numbers of its customers.

How Professors spend their time

March 15, 2010 Leave a comment

University Rankings – QS are back (March 2010 Newsletter)

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Full press release here.

QS Rankings & Global Higher Education Trends

March 2010

Welcome to the first edition of the QS Rankings & Global Higher Education Trends newsletter, a monthly bulletin that will focus on the hotly debated topic of university league tables and performance evaluations, as well as other topics that feature highly on the agenda of international educators.

In this month’s edition:
QS launches the new research round for the  QS World University Rankings™ 2010
(formerly known as THE-QS World University Rankings 2004-2009);
Martin Ince, former editor of the World University Rankings at THE and member of the QS Rankings expert advisory board, takes a look at the project of the European Commission on global rankings; while QS managing director, Nunzio Quacquarelli says competition in the rankings sector is a good thing.

We hope you will enjoy the read, and forward the newsletter on to colleagues and friends.

The Team at QS

QS World University Rankings™ launches 2010 research

QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the research and information specialists behind the QS World University Rankings™, have launched the new research round for the 2010 rankings, in association with partners including US News & World Report and Scopus, the Elsevier database that supplies bibliometric data.

QS World University Rankings™ launches 2010 research

Read more…