University rankings as a marketing tool: readers beware

“The shrill cries of ‘We’re number one, we’re number one!’ ring out every autumn across Canadian university campuses. Normally the reserve of triumphant varsity teams, this wild jubilation is, more than ever, caused by overexcited university administrators celebrating success in university rankings. Love them or hate them—usually depending on an institution’s faring—university rankings are a phenomenon that pronounce on the quality of the academic and student experience around the globe. According to Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Higher Education Policy , more than 30 nations now engage in some form of rankings that are regularly published. In any discussion of university marketing efforts, the importance of university rankings cannot be overlooked or underestimated. Rankings have a distinct impact on the reputation of universities, and a university’s reputation influences crucial audiences, such as prospective students, faculty, donors, alumni, and even governments. Yet, are university rankings credible? ….” (more)

[David Scott, Academic Matters, 18 February]

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