Thursday, February 26, 2009

Semantic Shift Watch

Inside Higher Ed has a story about Sonoma State University that starts


A faculty report has stirred some racial tensions at Sonoma State University, following claims from its author that the institution’s
administration has deliberately targeted those from higher-income families as potential students for the past decade. In this process, the report claims that the university has become the “whitest” public institution in California, effectively preferring white students to minorities in an admission practice that it deems “reverse affirmative action.”


One aspect of Sonoma State that is decidedly diverse is the administration, where the president, provost and director of admissions – all criticized in the report – are Latino. The
professor who brought forth this report, however, is white.


Since when is a university administration whose senior members are from one ethnic group decidedly diverse?

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Note on the THE-QS Employer Review

Of all the components of the THE-QS World University Rankings the employer review is probably the least noticed. Universities in South East Asia and elsewhere, for example, are going to great lengths to recruit international students to boost their performance in the rankings but there seems to be no comparable effort to do better in the employer review.

It might be worth looking at the structure of the review for 2008. First of all, the distribution by industry (2008) seems very unrepresentative with a disproportionate number of respondents drawn from financial services and banking, consulting and professional services, manufacturing and engineering and IT and computer services in that order.

The distribution by country (2006-8) is even more skewed. Take a look at the list of employer review resonses by country from the QS topuniversities site. The UK and Australia between them have more respondents than the USA. Mexico has more than China, Greece more than Germany, Singapore more than Japan, Ireland more than France and Romania more than any country in the Middle East, including Israel, Turkey, Iran and the Gulf states.

Incidentally, since the banking sector has been so incompetent at choosing whom to lend money to, is it a good idea to allow it to have such a big say in evaluating universities?




United States
346
United Kingdom
269
Australia
178
Mexico
75
Netherlands
75
Singapore
74
Russia
69
India
64
Argentina
60
Greece
59
Germany
56
Hong Kong
50
Philippines
45
Ireland
41
Malaysia
38
Canada
37
Japan
37
France
36
New Zealand
36
South Korea
32
Italy
29
Chile
28
Spain
27
Venezuela
27
China
25
Denmark
23
Thailand
23
Switzerland
22
Belgium
19
South Africa
19
Ukraine
18
Taiwan
17
Czech Republic
16
Romania
15
Other
354

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Bit More About VU Amsterdam and the Previous Post

I have just remembered seeing this item at the bottom of the 2007 rankings on the QS site.

Vrije Universiteit AMSTERDAM

The data supplied by VU Amsterdam did not include faculty numbers for the VU Medical Center. Using 2006 citations data as a benchmark, it appears that the mapping of the citations database did not return the expected number of papers and citations - perhaps due to a
volume of research being published under institution names not easily
identifiable as being part of VU Amsterdam. The resolution of these issues would certainly result in a higher ranking for the university and improved performance in the Peer and Recruiter Reviews would suggest that VU Amsterdam may have maintained its Top 200 position.


It seems then that in 2007 QS did not count medical faculty but they did in 2008, resulting in a rise from 40 to 84 in the student- faculty ratio score. Secondly, in 2007 they did not count research if the affiliation did not clearly identify VU Amsterdam but they did in 2008, producing a rise in the citations score from1 to 38.