At a recent workshop on university rankings one participant was quoted as having said the following:
‘Universities less than 50 years old fall below the radar of current world university rankings systems. Younger institutions are under-represented in world rankings. Current rankings do not provide information which allows the early identification of universities which are building research activity and intensity.’
First, I cannot help pointing out that the university I led until very recently is definitely younger than 50 and is definitely not below the rankings radar, having entered the global top 300 in 2006. However, the question as to how we might identify the next generation of leaders is an interesting one. Although no university will make it into that group without real world-class research excellence, that may not be the early identifier. If you want to break the hegemony of US Ivy League institutions and Oxbridge I would suggest you need to be different, not an imitator. You need to be an innovator with knowledge, finding new ways to develop higher education both in pedagogy and in scholarship, finding new and better ways of answering society’s questions.
There is a widespread view that one model of university will always dominate. I doubt that.