Globalization of World University Rankings and Its Impact on Asian Universities

Globalization of World University Rankings and Its Impact on Asian Universities

Fraide A. Ganotice Jr. (The University of Hong Kong, China), Hei-Hang Hayes Tang (The Education University of Hong Kong, China), Gordon Tsui (The University of Hong Kong, China), Jonalyn B. Villarosa (Palawan State University, Philippines) and Susanna S. Yeung (The Education University of Hong Kong, China)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0819-9.ch017
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Abstract

This chapter discusses how Asian universities respond to the global prevalence of university rankings, which are operated in various form with different emphases. First, it defines the context and rationales of the rise of world university rankings. Next, it compares and contrasts the three dominant university rankings, namely, Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), and Times higher Education University Rankings (THE). After assessing the controversies, limitations and solutions of the dominant ranking systems, we will evaluate the current performance of Asian universities and discuss what lessons are to be learned by Asian universities amid the globalizing forces of world university ranking.
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Introduction

Across the globe, many universities strive to be world-class. The rise of world-class universities is phenomenally global in the 21st century (Altbach & Balán 2007). World-class universities are in incessant quest for creation, dissemination, and transfer of the most up-to-date knowledge for the ever-advancing global knowledge society (Altbach & Salmi 2011; Salmi 2009). The clusters of world-class research universities are expanding from the traditional ‘centres of learning’ in Europe and North America (Ben-David, 1977) to emerging and developing countries worldwide (Liu, Wang, & Cheng, 2011). Academic professions (e.g. Tang, 2013) are seen as the key to the making of a world-class university, particularly in the fast-growing regions of Asia. A world-class university is believed to be not only an institution, but also an idea (Ben-David, 1977; Shils, 1997) where a holistic understanding of knowledge is essential. Namely, they endeavor to create knowledge at disciplinary boundaries, activate cross-fertilization of basic and applied research, and encourage student engagement across academic disciplines. To understand the foundations and circumstances of world-class universities, Salmi (2009) delineates the three determinants:

  • 1.

    Intensity of competent scholars in the academic profession and talented students on campus,

  • 2.

    A resourceful and enabling environment for advanced research as well as learning and teaching, and

  • 3.

    Effective and flexible governance that favors strategic vision, leadership, and innovation.

With this direction in mind, this chapter discusses how Asian universities respond to the global prevalence of university rankings, which are operated in various forms with different emphases. First, it defines the context and rationale of the rise of world university rankings. Next, it compares and contrasts the three dominant university rankings; namely, Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), and Times Higher Education University Rankings (THE). After assessing the controversies, limitations and solutions of the dominant ranking systems, the authors evaluate the current performance of Asian universities and discuss the lessons to be learned by Asian universities amidst the globalizing forces of world university rankings.

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