Otago ranks with big minds, big words and know-it-alls

Victoria no longer hold the g-law-ry

The University of Otago remains in the 226-250th bracket of the Times University Rankings. The rankings judge world-class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook – and this year they reveal that Otago ranks highest among New Zealand’s institutions for English Language and Literature (28th), History (30th) and Psychology (19th). Otago also gained a top 50 position in Law, at 37th position.

“The annual Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, based on responses from almost 60,000 carefully selected and statistically representative academics, have become a closely watched and vital indicator of the fortunes of global university brands” says Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings.

Victoria University’s ranking for Law dropped dramatically to 49th this year, down from 19th in 2013. This places Otago in the top position in NZ for legal studies. Victoria also gained a 31st placing in English Language and Literature.

Auckland has been ranked 164th overall and had subjects placed in the top 50 for 10 subject areas – Accounting and Finance (24th), Biological Sciences (46th), Education (34th), English language and Literature (34th), Law (placed joint-28th), Linguistics (36th), Modern languages (45th), Pharmacy and Pharmacology (39th), Politics and International Studies (26th) and Psychology (34th). Massey placed in the rankings with a 19th in Agriculture and Forestry.

Baty says “a university’s reputation for academic excellence is absolutely vital to its success: it drives student and faculty recruitment, international research partnerships, and helps to attract philanthropy and industrial investment.”

Overall, the US topped the university rankings. It takes the top three places, with eight of the top 10 and 46 of the top 100 universities based in the US. Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University hold the top three positions, whilst UK universities, Cambridge and Oxford, hold the 4th and 5th positions respectively.

Australia now has five top 100 representatives, down from six in 2013. Only one Australian institution, the University of Melbourne (down four places to 43rd), remains in the top 50 compared with three last year.

Bahram Bekhradnia, president of the UK’s Higher Education Policy Institute, says “while reputation surveys do not tell you anything objective about quality, they nevertheless do reflect visibility and awareness by others of a university’s activities.” He explains that the reputation surveys are “likely to be a harbinger of things to come and a predictor of subsequent trends.”
This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2014.
Posted 4:35pm Sunday 9th March 2014 by Josie Cochrane.