By Tom Kando
I just came across a fascinating article about the University of Shanghai’s annual ranking of the world’s 500 best universities (It’s actually 1,000, but the readily available data only cover 500).
Here is the site: Academic Ranking of World Universities 2011.The research and the methodology have good credibility. The criteria are the usual ones - the quality of education, research output, Nobel laureates, etc. Here are some of the results:
1. Top ten: Harvard, UC Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Cambridge, Princeton, Columbia, Chicago and Oxford. Thus, 8 of the top 10 are in the US and the other 2 are in the UK. (and here I was just whining about unjustified Anglo-Saxon chauvinism in my blog last week! I may have to eat crow).
2. Looking at the top 100 is more interesting: A staggering 54 of these are American! 11 of them are British. The highest-ranked non-Anglo University in the world is Tokyo University, at Number Twenty. The highest-ranked mainland European University is the Zurich Institute of Technology, in 23rd place.
3. Besides the US’ 54 Universities, the top 100 Universities include 11 in the UK, 5 in Japan, 5 in Germany, 4 in Canada, 3 in France, 3 in Switzerland, 3 in Australia, 3 in Sweden, 2 in Denmark, 2 in the Netherlands, and 1 in each Israel, Finland, Russia, Norway and Belgium.
4. California: We have 10 of the world’s top 100 Universities, including UC Berkeley, UCLA 13, UC San Diego 14, UC San Francisco 18, UC Santa Barbara 32, UC Davis and UC Irvine 46, plus Stanford 3, Cal Tech 6, and U.S.C. 46. Thus, every UC campus is in the world’s top 100 except Riverside and Santa Cruz. California Higher Education is stupendous, considering that it has been savaged for many years by a shortsighted legislature and electorate, who year after year are reducing state support to higher education.
5. A few Domestic Surprises: Some major American Universities’ relatively low rankings, including Texas at 38, Ohio State at 59, Indiana at 90. Most of the big Midwestern and Southern universities (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Tennessee, etc.) are not in the top 100. Football was not one of the ranking criteria!
6. Some international surprises: Heidelberg, only ranked 63, the Ecole Normale Superieure and Leiden University tied for 70, the universities of Amsterdam and Vienna are not even in the top 100. These are institutions whose faculty once included people like Rene Descartes, Emile Durkheim and Sigmund Freud!
Russia has ONE university in the world’s top 100.
China does not have a single University in the top 100. The highest ranked Chinese institution is Taiwan University ranked between 100 and 150, and half of the Chinese universities in the top 500 are in Hong Kong. The highest-ranked mainland Chinese University is Peking University, ranked between 100 and 150.
And the University of Shanghai, where these prestigious annual rankings are done, doesn’t appear anywhere on the list of 500. Is this because they didn’t want to self-rank, or are they no good?
7. Neither does Italy have any top 100 university, even though that country INVENTED the University. The two oldest universities in the world are Bologna (1088) and Padua (1222).
8. No CSU campus is listed anywhere in the world’s top 500 (or 1,000) universities. I guess we are not real universities.
9. Finally, a personal note about some of the universities with which I and my family have been affiliated: I got my PhD from Minnesota, number 28, I taught at Penn State, number 43, I went to the University of Amsterdam and taught at UC Riverside, neither of them in the top 100. My daughters graduated from UC Davis, number 46, and from UC Berkeley, number 2, but the NUMBER ONE PUBLIC UNIVERSITY in the universe! leave comment here
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
By Tom Kando