Impact and Influence of Rankings — The View from Inside Higher Education
The annual publication of university rankings has perpetrated a feeding-frenzy that sends shock-waves throughout the higher education system worldwide. Few HE leaders are unaware of global rankings, and most have familiarity with either national or global rankings (Adams and Baker, 2010; Jaschik, 2009c). While many HE leaders claim they do not over-emphasize rankings, few HE leaders or senior administrators are either unaware of their own rank or that of their national or international peers. The increasing hype surrounding rankings is treated with a mixture of growing alarm, scepticism and, in an increasing number of instances, with meaningful engagement with the process of collecting the necessary data and responding to the results. University administrators are said to be the ‘most engaged and obsessively implicated’ with the collection of data used for rankings and their aftermath (Keller, 2007; Meredith, 2004; Provan and Abercromby, 2000), or providing profiling information to Thomson Reuters and QS (QS, 2010c; Jobbins, 2010). They are effectively ‘caught between not wanting to place public emphasis on their ranking … and privately trying to avoid slipping’ (Griffith and Rask, 2007). According to Espeland and Sauder (2007, p. 24), it was the ‘reactions of students, alumni, media, and peers (that) gradually “taught” law school administrators that rankings mattered’.
KeywordsHigh Education League Table Multiple Reply Global Ranking Institutional Position
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