University rankings: 15 ways to prick the bubbles of reputation | THE Comment
>>> on reputation, prestige, university rankings, mold, and normalizing objective criteria to overall funds at a university
Wed Jul 6 23:40:00 2016 - permalink -
in which – as in many such lists – reputation is overvalued at the expense of achievement.
a recitation of the “Seven Ages of Man”, in which the soldier foolishly targets reputation at the risk of what really matters.
If ever I have the misfortune to have to compile rankings, I’ll give reputation no weight. Reputation is part of the past. It should be relegated to oblivion, liberating innovative universities to challenge the old guard. Reputation reflects prejudice. It is self-accreting, like mould or rot, and is evidence of nothing save itself. It thrives on self-advertisement:
Even though THE’s rankings also incorporate objective criteria, they are not alone in ignoring or undervaluing critical features of a good university: one I should like to work in, or support with donations, or which I should have liked to attend as a student, or which I’d have liked my children to apply to.
Of the 15 points I’d most want in my questionnaire, none features among criteria currently applied in existing university rankings. Here they are
How much difference would it make to the rankings if such criteria wielded due weight? Obviously, rich universities would still be over-represented, but if assessments relating to the use of resources were made in proportion to overall funds, I suspect that bloatedly super-endowed places that hoard their wealth, such as the universities of Harvard and Yale, would be more fairly evaluated. Prominence would adorn criteria that enhance lives: whether students are loved, cared for, improved, and summoned to service, and whether they are part of institutions disinterestedly dedicated to making the world better.