Thursday, October 08, 2009

UM rises in the Times rankings

As my co-bloggers often take pains to point out, rankings are far from everything. But still, rankings are something, so here are the top 200 universities in the world, as ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement. UM has reentered the top 200, a welcome development. The Vice-Chancellor is targeting further improvement.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

well done

Anonymous said...

It is nothing to be happy about.

Firstly, I am concerned with QS mentioning that the UM's rise in the ranking is due to increase in international students. What international students are they referring to?

Secondly, it remains a fact that Malaysia is still below Thailand, Singapore and Israel.

Thirdly, i will expect Malaysian universities' ranking to drop again next year. Typical Malaysian attitude.

Shawn Tan said...

Bravo. Guess the new UM VC met his KPI this year. :)

SaPPhiRe DraGoN said...

The seeds of failure are normally sown in the heights of success. Yes, treat this as a minor achievement but do not be complacent and keep striving on...

Anonymous said...

That is y u see a lot of foreigners in UM now with the sole purpose of titing the balance. Guess where these foreigners come from?

Coltz said...

The use of "international staff" as a score is even more ludicrous than the "international student" score.

dungu said...

Some people are never happy with anything.

An achievement is an achievement and should be congratulated.

judy said...

That is an achievement, but this has a long way to go...

Anonymous said...

I am more interested in top 50.

I am very perplexed as to why University of Hong Kong can rank above NUS.

Especially when I look at individual program ranking, NUS ranks above UHK in all categories.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS UM!

With so many Universities, and wonderful policies of reserving a University only for Bumi, we manage to get one into 180, which ranks quite near Singapore's second rate University (NTU) at 73!

Anonymous said...

A good showing (relatively speaking) for now, but MU needs to strategise. Among the point scoring criteria, MU scored worst in ‘Citations per Staff’, sharing bottom position with two other universities in the Top 200. To rise in the rankings, MU needs to rid itself of unproductive academics. The university can urge its lecturers to double or treble their efforts in research publication, but this will make no impact among those who are not publishing at all. Two times zero is still zero, and three times zero is still zero.

Anonymous said...

the hardest (almost impossible) thing to do as a civil servant is to remove people that is below par and problematic. not even the VCs can do that unless they are given full autonomy by the government. They cant even sack their own personal driver :D

clk said...

Amongst UM's peers based on this ranking are Texas A&M, Indiana-Bloomington, Macquarie, HK Poly, Reading, NotreDame amongst others.

Do you all think UM deserves to be amongst these peers?

Anonymous said...

The recruiters of UM can only insult the interviewee's intelligence. First, make them wait till everyone is finished with their interviews. Second, ask stupid questions like "How would you contribute in raising UM's rankings?" instead of "How can you impart knowledge and teach?" Finally, with their insults thrown at anyone it is a surprise that they are even taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

is this not a repeat of "counting non-malays (i.e. local indians and chinese) as INTERNATIONAL staff/students", again...?

u can see that UM scored higher for those criteria than some very "international" universities in the list...

well, maybe importing in bulk those indonesian and african students really helped...

Anonymous said...

So this mean UM can oust USM as the Apex university?

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that the contribution made by the former VC of UM was largely being forgotten. She should be praised more than Prof. Jasmond.

Anyhow, I don't think UM can make it to top 100 unless the deadwoods are sacked and replaced by good scholars without looking at their skin color and religion.

Anonymous said...

Then u might as well praise Hashim Billboard!

Anonymous said...

Keep importing Indonesians, Africans and Middle Easterners. UM will move into top 100 next year.

Lowest citation? I am not surprised considering the current practices in Malaysian academia. "I put your name in my research and you put mine in yours." That goes without the you and me actually contributing in my and your research. Also, UM is only interested in winning medals at trade fairs, not publishing high impact journals.

Keep the joke running. Maybe someone should published a comic strip of Malaysian Us.

dungu said...

It is truly amazing to see so much cynicism and hatred towards UM, who has made it to the top 200 again.

It is hilarious to see comments which says that only the top 50 matters to them, that UM may be included due to some mistakes in methodology, that it was the recruitment of foreign students that jacked up its position, and that it will not remain in the top200 next year and so on.

Why don't you guys try to apply to UM and see if you can get a place? And if you're there, please do more research and publish in ISI journals, so that you would be doing something for UM instead of unsubstantially shooting from the hip. Oh, I'm sure comments will come in that they would not go anywhere near UM. Haha.

Anonymous said...

UITM is number wat in THES?

Anonymous said...

Somebody said, "the hardest (almost impossible) thing to do as a civil servant is to remove people that is below par and problematic. not even the VCs can do that unless they are given full autonomy by the government. They cant even sack their own personal driver :D"

They can still be transferred to some other places, ie deskjob, kementerian pendidikan, other public universities, do postdoctoral in the US, send to foreign ministry to become diplomats in third world countries and etc

noname said...

It's a good comeback even though UM misses by miles compared to NUS. I agree with dungu that UM or any other local universities should publish more and put in much more hardwork in R&D collaborations with their peers overseas and the related industries.
AFAIK, the funds or grants provided by the govt and private sectors are still very low as per the international standards. Harvard receives billions to fund its researches every year. Using the No.1 institution in the world as a gauge, where do we stand globally, or regionally if we use NUS as benchmark?

Academic Abroad said...

In response to some of the commentors...

Research is not the only thing that makes a university great, but speaking from the perspective of a young scientist on the job market this autumn with the possibility of comparing us to some other countries, particularly Singapore.

FYI, I have visited several Malaysian universities and/or talked to academics in the relevant departments. Ditto for NUS and NTU.

1. Singapore has a number of nice start-up grants for young faculty.

rita.nrf.gov.sg/NRF_RF_2009
www3.ntu.edu.sg/NAP/index.html

The NRF also has other grants available and one of the complaints I've heard about Singapore wrt other developed countries is that there is not much specifically available for young faculty (e.g. NSF CAREER, PECASE etc.) but that's another story.

2. There is a critical mass of researchers in my field in Singapore. This is not the case in Malaysia.

A related point. At this point in my career, and given the places I've been, I know quite a few people in my field. I was surprised to find that my 'networks' extend to Singapore but not to Malaysia. That is to say that in Singapore, I know people who know people in the relevant departments. An ex-colleague is even there. Nobody seems to know anybody in Malaysia or anything about the departments.

3. It would be difficult for me to do my work without a certain amount in start-up funds, which I sadly know quite precisely, having had to draft budgets for certain applications. In Singapore, it remains to be seen if the NUS/NTU departments can (or want to) come up with this, but there there is the fallback option of the grants mentioned in (1), which are highly competitive. In Malaysia, people had the idea that I would just join and then figure out what I would do later, with no clear path for obtaining funding and building a lab. Definitely no talk about start-up funding.

4. My research required expensive, usually shared, equipment. This exists in state-of-the-art facilities in Singapore (getting access is another issue); Malaysia has some things...not others.


I think that at least in my field, Singapore will be equal to average to strong Research I departments very soon (maybe they are already there), whereas Malaysia is not in the running at the moment.

It is true that there are many perceived problems with the way Singapore manages science (in general that they think of the whole enterprise as a business), but things are moving somewhere, whereas in Malaysia so far not so much, though I've been watching the new VC of UM and USM since it gained Apex status. (My personal gripe with Singapore is that they are unquestioningly copying the American model of research, which I don't think is particularly suited to local conditions, but that's another essay for another day.)

Personally, I'm not of the mindset that 'everything has to be there' or that we have to go all out at any price etc. to rival the best unis in the world. Aiming for moderately good or even some improvement in the short term is good enough for me. So I'm watching things with interest.

Academic Abroad said...

One other thing I wanted to say is that a lot of things in Singapore that I mention above have been around just for a short time.

The grants mentioned in (1) above have only been around for the last few year. The same is true for the people mentioned in (2).

Spade said...

I've always surprised on how they managed to be in the top 200 last time around the same goes with this one.

They even have not so competent lecturer in his early 30s who only got his own PhD 4 years back supervising 2 PhD student doing doing scientific research. What amazed me is that even the lecturer himself only done coursework (at UM) during his Masters days and all of a sudden become very good in research during His PhD? And in 4 years after getting his PhD he magically become some kind of a heavyweight in research that fit to supervise 2 PhD student?

They are also very lenient with international student and even get them Scot free (can continue taking exam for next papers) after caught cheating during final exam. Even a protest from a professor regarding this matter has been ignored by the management. I heard this story first hand from some of the eyewitnesses (local students) who feels they have been reduced to 2nd class students by this and other similar double standard act by the management of the university.

Spade said...

Anonymous said...

That is y u see a lot of foreigners in UM now with the sole purpose of titing the balance. Guess where these foreigners come from?
10/08/2009 10:03:00 AM
___________________________________

I can say most of them (Masters student) are ranging from not hard working to downright lazy (and to some extend, dumb) student. To be fair, some of them are really hardworking and smart, especially those from 3rd world country (like Iran and Africa) sponsored by their government. Most of the lazy students however are self-funded from other Arab countries who failed to secure places in good universities in countries like Australia and Singapore. Some of these lazy students even dare to let their Malaysian friends know that after completed their masters here, they are hoping to get into good universities in Australia and the like to pursue their PhD.

Ilyah.... said...

Congratulation UM....
But we more pround if reentered the top 50...maybe one day...just wait and see...

Anonymous said...

UM has made progress. But what about the so-called APEX university, USM -- getting all the incentives but failing to deliver thus far. How can MOHE explain what must surely be an anomaly in the awarding system. If UM has the benefits of APEX, surely it'll go further.

Academic Abroad said...

Spade,

I don't know what you are basing your criticisms on. The point of a PhD is to train people as independent researchers. The PhD is the academic's professional degree. If at the end of it you are not capable of conducting your own research, something is very wrong with your training. While it is now more and more common to do postdocs, if you look at top schools in the Anglophone world, people start supervising students 2-3 years after their PhDs, sometimes almost immediately after. My supervisor hired three students and two postdocs two years after receiving his PhD. This is quite normal.

Academic Abroad said...

Oh, and FYI, my supervisor was not yet 30 when he started his lab. This is slightly younger than average, but not by many years. In my field, one is usually 30-35 when one gets a 'permanent' job (Assistant Prof. or staff scientists in a national lab) and starts supervising PhD students. Cheers.

Spade said...

Academic Abroad,

It's not really about age. Some malay do excel at young age (my professor is one of the excellent one). My point is, that particular guy and a few others like him do not have trait of an excellent malay academics, more like just a bit below average or just average and yet the management have gut to let him supervise some PhD and many masters student. I'm sure you know how excel some of the average malay academics are.

The other guy don't even have a PhD (only masters by coursework, not even mixed-mode) and have gut to copy info directly from wikipedia (with wikipedia name removed of course) for most of his lecturer handout and ask his Master by coursework students to read and memorize it if they were to get good grade. He even went as far as saying that "sadly, students who managed to understand the subject will likely NOT score a good grade compared to students who can memorize exactly what he was teaching plus all his notes." One more thing is that, I just wonder how this guy, in his early 40s with Masters Coursework qualification fit to teach Masters Mixed-mode course. I suppose a guy at his age should already asked by the management to at least get a PhD ASAP.

Please bear in mind that I have no qualm towards general malay academics and certainly no racist as I am a mixed of malay and non-malay. I would like to emphasis that my comment is not about race rather about merit. Non-malay academics also deserve to be severely criticize as their malay counterpart if they are indeed sub-par.

Anonymous said...

This blog here

http://rankingwatch.blogspot.com/

is of the opinion that UM's ascent this year is due almost exclusively to the tweaking of its staff:student ratio.

Couldn't find last year's data to verify. Anybody has it? This year's data is available at the QS website.

Anonymous said...

It depends on what field you are in. In mine, you can't get a lecturer post with a fresh PhD. You will have to complete at least two postdoc stints before you can even apply as a junior lecturer. Then you begin by co-supervising with a senior lecturer.

Spade said...

Certainly not in this country.

Anonymous said...

Tried hard to find UITM position in THES, Is there typo error or something wrong with my eyes that I cant find it?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
This blog here

http://rankingwatch.blogspot.com/

is of the opinion that UM's ascent this year is due almost exclusively to the tweaking of its staff:student ratio.

Couldn't find last year's data to verify. Anybody has it? This year's data is available at the QS website.


See the latest post at http://rankingwatch.blogspot.com

Academic Abroad said...

Spade,

Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous 10/11/2009 12:18:00 AM,

It also depends on the country. I'm guessing that you are probably in the biological sciences and probably not in the U.S.

In my field, one postdoc is usually sufficient in the US, two in parts of Europe due to the shorter PhD. No co-supervision in the US, sometimes co-supervision in Europe before the habilitation but often this is nominal, i.e. in reality you supervise your first student pretty much on your own then use his/her thesis to jump through the habilitation hoops. The whole thing is mostly an excuse for your colleagues to makan and drink champagne.

Teik-Cheng Lim said...

Dear all,

Two months ago I participated in the Times Higher Education survey, so I will be pleased if you can give your comments in my blog.

http://gardenofacademia.blogspot.com/2009/08/participation-in-thes-university.html

I captured (almost) every screen page during my participation, so you can see the entire survey process from the above url.

Happy reading.

Cheers,
Teik-Cheng LIM

The Bottom Line said...

With Malaysian Universities moving up the rankings what do you think the future holds for graduates, which areas should they focus on to ensure Malaysia has a competitive edge in the future? www.thebottomline.com.my

Anonymous said...

The SHJT Academic Ranking of World Universities 2009 http://www.awru.org is out! This ranking is preferred by many academicians internationally than THES and is believed by many to be a fairer ranking system.

A hint to all: don't try to look for any Malaysian National or Private Universities. None are in.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anonymous (11/03/2009 09:52:00 PM) for keeping us in the loop. btw, the url should be http://www.arwu.org/ and not http://www.awru.org/

Best regards,
Teik-Cheng LIM

nory said...

wow,it that true?if so,congrats to UM..

since I was kid,I rated UM as the best university in Malaysia..first ranking..

I would love to see UM back to the top 100 again but everything depends on the university itself..the management should focus on improving their reputation instead of involving in 'too much politics'..

even I'm a Malay,to be honest I would rather see UM apply merit system for those who intended to pursue study at the university because in my opinion,it's the only way for them to establish themselves as one of the top universities in Asia and it is also can increase competition between students in different races..

the saddest thing is,I never got chance to pursue my study at the university:(it's quite though right?but maybe one day I will...