Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Alternative department rankings

Thanks to Nordina for pointing out this article to me. It's an alternative ranking system for individual departments in US universities that is devised by a for profit company called Academic Analytics. While every ranking system has its flaws as well as its strengths, this highlights the fact that we need some sort of internal ranking system for Malaysian universities, both public and private, so that we can have an idea of how these universities are doing vis-a-vis each other, even if the initial rankings / methodology has its flaws.

I think that a private company with the collaboration of a newspaper e.g. the Star would be best placed to do something like this. The government such as the MOHE can compel the unis to provide the stats but it is too encumbered with its internal politics and inefficiencies to produce something concrete. Remember the ranking / grading system for the private colleges? This was from September, 2006 and we still haven't heard anything from the ministry as of today.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This particular ranking systems is very flawed. Are you trying to tell me that Cornell has a better EE department than MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Caltech? What a joke...

Leslie said...

To Anon above:

Geez, I wonder if you've read the article cited by Kian Ming, which put forth arguments from both sides (evaluation by for- versus non-profit entities)? Or did you scroll straight to the ranking for your field and declare it "very flawed"?

What piqued my interest in the article was the mention of universities buying access to the ranking and underlying database (for the purpose of head-hunting/poaching academics who can haul in research dollars, etc., albeit denied denied by the publisher...) Haven't thought of that myself. But it points to the fact that getting universities and colleges to cooperate in such an exercise may entail sweetening the deal in a similar manner rather than via regulatory mandate. Of course, that's assuming that the Malaysian higher ed industry functions sufficiently like a free market. Never mind...

blueheeler said...

but since all the public universities are somehow linked to the govt, i assume that the govt wants them to be 'equally' good, so that they do not get accussed of favoritism. in that case, why will the govt want to 'rank' them?

Meng said...

Tony for Education Minister!!! We need somebody who thinks...

Anonymous said...

there's no point in ranking doctoral programs. doctoral hopefuls should be picking a particular professor who conducts research that they are interested in - regardless of school. it's hard to compare these programs anyway - i could give a million examples (like why rockefeller university isn't on this list - despite being associated with 23 nobel prizes) - but i shan't waste my time. just realize that the obsession with rankings is bad. malaysia should get over rankings and whatnot and just focus on getting it right. quality education does not come easily.