November 23, 2004

Cornell Ranked 23 in World

Print More

The Times of London Higher Education Supplement has added another college ranking list to an already crowded field of higher education guides.

In their Nov. 5 ranking of the world’s top 200 universities, Cornell sits in the 23rd position above other Ivy League schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University and Dartmouth College.

In the rankings, released earlier this month, Harvard sits “entrenched” in the top position.

Rounding out the top five are, U.C. Berkeley, MIT, the California Institute of Technology and Oxford University.

According to the article accompanying the rankings, it would take a major shift to move Harvard from that top ranking.

The article claims that Harvard’s enormous endowment helps to give it its high ranking, but that the real cause is its amazing reputation for drawing the best and brightest from around the globe; the ability to attract good international students is a measure of the school’s “ambition”.

For this reason, international reach was an important facet of the rankings. The rankings are based on a formula consisting of five aspects: a peer review score, which has half the weight of the total score, an international faculty review score, an international student review score, faculty-to-student ratio, and a citations-to-faculty ratio.

According to the article, “The five indicators have been chosen to reflect strength in teaching, research and international reputation, with the greatest influence exerted by those in the best position to judge: the academics.”

U.S. schools took 14 of the top 25 positions in the rankings.

The Times attributed U.S. schools’ healthy showing to relative freedom from government intervention and a “ferocious publishing climate” that encourages scholarship.

The list included colleges and universities from 29 different countries.

In a recent interview with The Sun, President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 questioned the impulse to reduce the university experience to a single metric.

While he admitted to noticing new rankings when they come out, he stressed that there is no rush to change Cornell to fit into any ranking system.

Instead he emphasized Cornell’s unique character.

“You wouldn’t advise your best friend to change who they are, [rather] you would advise them to be comfortable in their own skin,” he said.

Peter Cohl ’05, chair of the Image Committee of the Student Assembly said that the “methodology is curious.”

“The problem with all of the rankings of the universities is that none address fully the quality of the undergraduate education in terms of creating opportunities for students in the long term,” he said.

Cohl added that Harvard produced six Rhodes Scholars this year.

He added, “The question Cornell has to ask itself is: how to do we become the place that attracts the best people and become a top five university?”

Archived article by Michael Margolis
Sun Senior Writer