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  1. #1
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    America's superpower status is slipping as Asian Universities grow in stature

    Rankings 09: Asia advances 8 October 2009 By Phil Baty

    America's superpower status is slipping as other countries' efforts to join the global elite begin to pay dividends. Phil Baty reports The US domination of the top ranks of global higher education is not as strong as it has been in previous years. The Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2009 show that institutions in Asian countries such as Hong Kong and Japan are growing in stature. Although Harvard University is still ranked number one in the table of the world's top 200 universities - for the sixth consecutive year - American supremacy seems to be slipping.

    While the US still has by far the most institutions in the top 200, with a total of 54, it has lost five institutions from the top 100 and four have dropped out of the top 200 altogether. The country's decline comes amid improved showings by institutions in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia. Philip Altbach, director of the Centre for Higher Education at Boston College in the US, says several factors are behind the surges by Asian institutions. "These countries have invested heavily in higher education in recent years, and this is reflected in the improved quality in their top institutions," he says. "They have also attempted to internationalise their universities by hiring more faculty from overseas ... this helps to improve their visibility globally. "These universities have also stressed the importance of their professors publishing in international journals, which has no doubt increased the visibility of their research."

    But he adds that this drive for internationalisation and success in global rankings may be "debatable in terms of good policy" for Asian institutions. For example, he says, stressing the importance of publishing in international journals may "tilt research away from topics relevant for national development", and fostering the use of the English language "may have a negative impact on intellectual work in the local language". Japan counts 11 institutions in the top 200, among them two new entrants: the University of Tsukuba sharing 174th place and Keio University making an impressive debut at 142nd. Japan's representatives in the top 100 rose in number from four to six, led by the University of Tokyo at 22nd place (down from 19th).

    Despite having a total of only eight government-funded tertiary institutions, Hong Kong has five institutions in the top 200, up from four last year. Its tally includes three in the top 50: the University of Hong Kong (up two places to 24th); Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (up four to 35th); and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (down four to 46th). City University of Hong Kong rocketed up the table to 124th, from joint 147th, in its 25th anniversary year. Hong Kong Polytechnic University made the top 200, reaching 195th place. South Korea now has four universities in the top 200, with new entrant Yonsei University in at joint 151st. Seoul National University is the country's highest-placed institution, sharing 47th place. Malaysia returned to the top 200 with its Universiti Malaya entering at 180th place. China replicated its standing from last year, with two institutions in the top 100 and a total of six in the top 200. The country's top-rated institution, Tsinghua University, climbed from 56th place to joint 49th, while Peking University slipped from 50th to joint 52nd. Fudan University moved up to joint 103rd from 113th.

    The rise of Asia is in direct contrast to the US' fortunes. The most dramatic illustration of its slide is apparent in the top ten. Although America still claims six of the top ten spots, Yale University has slipped from second to third place in the past year - overtaken by the University of Cambridge - and the California Institute of Technology has fallen from number five to number ten. This slide lends credence to the predictions of several international higher education experts that the US will soon lose its international ascendancy. Don Olcott, head of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, spoke in August about the rise of the "new global regionalism" threatening Anglo-American dominance. "Are we really naive enough to think that China, India, Malaysia, South Korea, the Gulf states and others do not want to build long-term, high-quality, sustainable university systems?" he told Times Higher Education.

    At an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conference earlier this year, it was suggested that the US and the UK would be hit far harder than most countries by the need for future public spending cuts because both will need to reduce massive budget deficits. A number of countries in Asia, including Japan and Korea, will face an easier ride. Delegates spoke of a resulting major "redistribution of brains". According to Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, which compiles the tables for Times Higher Education, the fallout caused by America's economic problems may ultimately result in its institutions sliding even lower in subsequent rankings. As 40 per cent of the overall ranking score is based on a survey of academics' opinions (see "Talking points", page x), the US' slip in 2009 may have more to do with the improvement in the reputation of Asian institutions brought about by better marketing and communication, he says. "In the six years of conducting this study, we have seen a drastically increased emphasis on international reputation from institutions in many countries, particularly those in Asia," he notes. Like its southern neighbour, Canada's overall position in the rankings also dropped.

    It registered 11 institutions in the top 200, compared with 12 in 2008. Its two best performers both rose - McGill University climbed from 20th place to 18th, while the University of Toronto shot up from 41st to 29th - but others slipped. Australia has nine institutions in the top 200, the same number as last year, but it increased its representation in the top 100 from seven to eight. The Australian National University, the highest-placed institution outside the US and the UK, slipped from 16th to 17th, but Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and Monash all improved their positions. Russia has two institutions in the top 200, with new entrant Saint-Petersburg State University in at joint number 168. Sweden also has one new entrant; the University of Gothenburg moved up to 185th place to lift Sweden's tally to five in the top 200. Brazil and Argentina, which had one university each in the 2008 rankings, both fell out of the top 200 altogether.

    •Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2009: full coverage and tables

    Times Higher Education - Rankings 09: Asia advances

  2. #2
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    I don't think any nation's "superpower" status is a result of Uni rankings.

    Many factors involved, of course.

    The US graduate programs (at the top schools) are the best or among the best in the world.

    A large part of this is [u]how[/i] the educational system is structured.

    Innovation
    Critical Thinking
    Creativity
    Individualism
    Ethics/Morality (in certain programs, e.g. business)
    ............

  3. #3
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    Asian Universities grow in stature
    sadly it's selective and not applicable to Asia in it's entirety

    I don't think any nation's "superpower" status is a result of Uni rankings.
    agree

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    Only time will tell with regard to the OP claim but certainly Asia are now a world power with regard to sport which has prooven before to be a powerful political tool.

    With China taking the medals honour at the last Olympics, their swimmers and athletes competing for golds at every international sporting meet and even an asian winning a golfing major would not have been a consideration 20 years ago.

    Look out the rest of the world........the sleeping giant has awoken.

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    prooven or proven ?


    (sorry to be pedantic!)

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    I am not in Jail AntRobertson's Avatar
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    ^^^I don't think they're using "superpower" in the traditional sense, only in the more limited reference to higher education standing.

    Incidentally I've just seen that NZ has 3 in the Top 200. Not too shabby for a country with only 8 total universities.

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    I am not in Jail AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Chulalongkorn's in there at #138 by the way.

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    Oh pedantic one..............Yes proven!

    By the way I don't have the time nor the need to have to correct your spelling mistakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AntRobertson
    Chulalongkorn's in there at #138 by the way.
    Yep. I posted a similar thread over on the pretend teecha's forum, and Diaw replied with "they bribed their way to that position"




    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy
    Oh pedantic one..............Yes proven! By the way I don't have the time nor the need to have to correct your spelling mistakes.
    sorry mate, tis a pet hate of mine. i promise not to do it again.

  10. #10
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    Well be darn....glad to see mine is in the top 80.

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    I wasn't aware that Asia is a nation. I agree that probably China will surpass the US in many ways in the next ten years. But as far as sports go, the NFL playoff game between the Saints and the Vikings had, what 20 million viewers?
    As far as a language goes, the American language will reign supreme for at least 10 years. It is not useful to use Chinese characters for rapid writing, nor is it useful to call a football field a "piece" or a freeway overpass a "flyover". One plays on a field and drives over an overpass. British English vs the American language.

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    [qutoe]
    As far as a language goes, the American language will reign supreme for at least 10 years.[/quote]

    no such thing.,

  13. #13
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    Go back 150 years, and what were the prestigious centres of learning?
    Places like the Sorbonne, Heidelberg, Oxford and Cambridge.
    Enter the 20th century, and they were joined by Harvard, Yale, Princeton and so on.
    The US was emerging as a World power, and later then became The World power.
    With it, it's number of top universities increased too- MIT, Stanford, Berkeley and so on.
    Now, you are seeing some Asian universities join the top ranks, although they haven't quite got an Oxbridge or Ivy League equivalent yet. But thats likely a matter of time.

    No surprises there.
    probes Aliens

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    Huh-Yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly
    Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2009:
    The original "world rankings" that put "Asia" in such a favourable light (And they tend to mean "Asia" in the American sense... i.e.: the Orient, not India or the Middle East or the Near East), were generated, effectively by the Chinese government, via a state sponsored university.
    If you've ever been to a Chinese uni (and I've been to a couple, including their supposedly best one), you wouldn't rate anywhere near as highly.

    These stats are of little value, they're all about genealised comparisons of published work in a couple of major periodicals... there's no weighting as to the actual value... consequently, countries where doing PhDs (of questionably quality) is a cultural status thing where higher percentages of students do them anyway, and that have large populations, you get a complete distortion of the figures.
    I know a Chinese nanotech professor of dubious ability who is milking his government and the system to churn out as many Chinese PhD students as possible... all about the funding game... he's got far more students than he can possibly credibly supervise, and their work is shades of grey of distinctness (plus Nanotech is a blag at the best of times)... these ratings are volatile, biased towards sciences - especially ones that are made to seem as inaccessible as possible, and tell you nothing about the quality of teaching or facilities you're going to get.
    The OU doesn't even appear on these things either, and that's well known to be about the best there is for teaching in the world (and no, I don't...).

    Americanese is such a thing; and no China's fuckin' doomed:

    Remember the Yangtze River?
    This is what you might hope to see:


    This is what you will probably see



    They are facing the biggest famine in world history... it's happened there several times before in Chinese history... and invariably for the same reasons: development and muckin' about with their rivers... essentially population.
    "Between 108 BC and 1911 AD there were no fewer than 1,828 major famines in China"

    JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie
    ...why d'ya think they're buying up Africa?!

    Sleeping giant my arse...
    "Largest economy"? Yeah... a bit like this:
    900-Pound Man Dies after Cut from Chair - CBS News
    Last edited by CaptainNemo; 28-01-2010 at 10:24 PM.

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