Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hooray! UM on top again .....

On the recent released QS-THES World University Rankings 2007, University of Malaya slipped further into the oblivion, clutching the 246th spot, however, they are reasons for the UM's folks to celebrate (yeh, UM lived on celebrations & feasts) coz' UM retain the TOP spot again, in Malaysia-lah of course, beating UKM and USM. UM's folks must be feeling vindicated this time around, as memories of the humiliating defeat by UKM last year still haunted them until now. And the recently announced survey results by MQA of MOHE, putting USM ahead of UM, also bored un-easiness among the UM's folks. Quoting a BERNAMA report, "In the latest ranking, Universiti Malaya was relegated to 246 from 192 last year, USM to 307 from 277, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia to 309 from 182, and Universiti Pertanian Malaysia to 364 from 292. However, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) for the first time made its way into the top 500 at 415."

Don't bother that Malaysian's rankings actually drop, as Rafiah put it, they change every year, it is hard to make comparison, the thing is UM beat UKM & USM!

Yeh, Let's CELEBRATE, UM is the JAGUH KAMPUNG! Hooray!

On a more serious note, Let see how some media reports in Malaysia tackle this issue.

Whither rankings? by the The Star on 10 November, 2007
The Difficult Path To Education Excellence by Bernama on 12 November, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

World Universitys Rankings 2007

In an article dated 1st November, 2007 by QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. on THES – QS World University Rankings 2007, Ben Sowter, its Head of Research, gave a basic explanation of key enhancements in methodology for 2007 world universitys rankings.

The rankings have been given heavy emphasis on this part of the world, especially Malaysia, because the euphoria it had stirred by ranking University of Malaya on its top 100 in year 2004 (ranked 89th), of which UM had made a big deal out of this so called ‘achievement’, only to realized it had committed some factual errors on the ethnicity of the indigenous Chinese and Indian Malaysian faculty members and classified them as foreigner. Refining its methodology the following years, saw UM lost position heavily (ranked 169th)and even placed behind UKM in year 2006, lingering on the verge of dropping out of the top 200 (ranked 192nd).

Will UM to continue held to its position this year? Or perhaps it could be slipping further into the oblivion? Will the latest enhanced methodologies give University of Malaya a breath of new life? Let’s keep our fingers cross and wait for the release of the 2007 rankings on 9th November, 2007.

While we pray for UM, let’s have a quick look on some the refinements mentioned by Sowter, taking excerpts from his article publisehed:

DEVELOPMENT: Peer reviewers prevented from promoting their own university.

EFFECT: An academic from the University of Arkansas is perhaps less likely to select their own institution (one of over 60 in the US) than an academic from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (one of just two in Singapore).

DEVELOPMENT: Switch to Scopus from ESI (Thomson) for citation data

EFFECT: Scopus covers a larger number of papers and journals overall leading to greater representation from lesser known universities and institutions from academic systems with less emphasis on publication

DEVELOPMENT: Consistent usage of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) data for all personnel related data

EFFECT: This will have its most profound effect on institutions with large numbers of part-time faculty or students that may have been either over or under represented in key indicators in previous years.

DEVELOPMENT: Z-score aggregation of indicators to generate overall scores

EFFECT: Institutions demonstrating excellence in indicators with a low weighting will have less advantage (e.g. London School of Economics for International Students)

Sowter concluded by saying that, “Significant changes to an institution’s performance in any one indicator will now only have a proportionate and predictable influence on their overall position, thus… THE RANKINGS WILL BECOME MORE STABLE year on year.”