November 10, 2005

London Paper Ranks C.U. 14

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The Times Higher, the higher education supplement to The London Times, has published its annual university rankings list, and Cornell jumped from 23rd to 14th among the best universities in the world.

The 2005 list is the second edition of the publication, and again this year the list has received international attention because it compares universities not from one country or region, but from across the globe. The rankings also combine academic statistics of each university with the opinions of experts from around the world.

To rank the schools with more consistency and accuracy than the 2004 list, The Times Higher surveyed over 2,000 research-active academics with knowledge of academic institutions in their region. TImes Higher hopes this comprehensive research will improve the overall accuracy and inclusion.

Times Higher Editor John O’Leary wrote that the new list has “a bigger poll of academics, more complete statistics, and the addition of a survey of global recruiters.”

Changes in the methodology of the evaluations are the reason many schools like Cornell have shifted places.

While all of the Ivies and many other top U.S. schools are represented, the order in which they appear is very different from popular American lists such as U.S. News and World Report. The differences between the two rankings lie in the scales used by each publication.

The Times Higher uses six categories to compute an overall score for each university. Schools are evaluated on each criterion and then given an overall score. Unlike college rankings lists that use overall university statistics such as retention rates and selectivity, the categories used by the Times Higher are more focused on the academic quality of the university, such as international academic reputation.

“The core of our analysis is peer review, which has long been accepted as the most reliable means of gauging institutional quality,” wrote Martin Ince of The Times Higher.

Of the six criteria used, peer review is the most significant and constitutes 40 percent of a school’s score. Cornell’s peer review score was a 56, the same as Columbia’s. Only Harvard Princeton and Yale in the Ivy League had higher peer review scores.

“We’re well-known all over the world because we have a global reach,” said Simeon Moss ’73, Cornell’s press office director.

Also evaluated are the schools’ abilities to recruit successful students (10 percent), student/faculty ratio (20 percent), amount of international students and faculty (5 percent each) and faculty citations (20 percent).

Cornell’s overall score was 58.1. Its highest mark was in recruitment with a score of 71 out of a possible 100, while an 11 in the international faculty rating was the lowest score.

Also published alongside the international top 200 list were top 50 rankings organized by continent. In North America, Cornell rose from 14th place to ninth. In the North American list, Cornell is fourth among the Ivies, behind Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

Compared to science universities internationally, Cornell ranked 11th. In social science, Cornell finished 16th.

“It is gratifying to know that people recognize the excellence of Cornell,” Moss said of the rankings list.

Archived article by Nate Lowry
Sun Contributor