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Alternative University Appraisal (AUA): Reconstructing Universities’ Ranking and Rating Toward a Sustainable Future


The ranking of higher education institutions (HEIs) has become increasingly common in recent years. Oftentimes however, the criteria used in these rankings appear to be Eurocentricly defined. Consequently, universities in developing countries often find themselves marginalized and at a disadvantage in such ranking systems. To address this matter, there is a vital need for the reconstruction of criteria used in these ranking systems. The Alternative University Appraisal (AUA) is one of a number of projects emerging from a network of universities known as ProSPER.Net (the Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research) which offers a possible solution to this issue. The primary objective of the AUA is to facilitate and encourage Higher Education Institutes to engage in education and research activities for sustainable development and to raise the quality and impact of these activities by providing benchmarking tools that support diversity of mission, as well as a framework for sharing good practices, and supporting dialogue and self-reflection. Three integral steps were taken to achieve the ultimate project goal of creating a dynamic community which would enable the reorientation of higher education toward sustainable development. The first involved the development of the AUA Model. To this end, an AUA Peer Consultation Model was developed as the second step. The final step saw the development of a Peer Consultation System which provides HEIs with the perspective needed to enable reorientation toward sustainability and assist them in identifying specific areas that need to be addressed and improved. By utilizing the AUA model, universities can aspire to attain better sustainability ratings through conventional and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) measures.


  • Higher education assessment
  • University rating system
  • Education for sustainable development
  • Peer consultation
  • Sustainability assessment tools and methodology

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Correspondence to Hamoon Khelghat-Doost .

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Abdul Razak, D., Sanusi, Z.A., Jegatesen, G., Khelghat-Doost, H. (2013). Alternative University Appraisal (AUA): Reconstructing Universities’ Ranking and Rating Toward a Sustainable Future. In: Caeiro, S., Filho, W., Jabbour, C., Azeiteiro, U. (eds) Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education Institutions. Springer, Cham.

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