An article by William Patrick Leonard in the Korea Herald discusses how this year's rankings by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, THE and QS, whatever their faults, indicate a long term shift in academic excellence from the USA and Europe to China and other parts of Asia.
"All three release their findings as the school year begins. Each employs a similar blend of indicators, which purportedly measure the relative quality of the institutions surveyed. All emphasize institutional reputation expressed in the quality and quantity of faculty publications, peer assessments, faculty/student ratios, budgets and other input quality measures..
These rankings are clearly flawed; for example, it is not evident that the volume of scholarly publications or peer assessments reflects quality in the classroom. Nevertheless, the rankings show that other fast-growing countries are willing to apply their resources to higher education, just as the United States has been doing for years"
He then observes how in the US sport seems to take precedence over education.
"Yet, instead of strengthening our academic programming, some are planning costly recreational diversions. In May, the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced that “six new college football teams are set to take the field for the first time this season with 11 more programs set to launch between 2011 and 2013.” Such an announcement is simultaneously sad and humorous. The resources spent to implement and subsequently prop up these programs could be used to improve technology, science, and engineering programs. Sadly, some institutions have opted for stadiums over instructional infrastructure."