Top university authorities utilize rankings as a benchmark for progression, which affects strategic decisions
Over the past few years, the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) has ensured quality education in the country and secured top positions in various global rankings for educational institutions.
The university was recently listed among the Global Top 100 Innovative Universities in the World's Universities with Real Impact (WURI) rankings for 2021.
ULAB also entered the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Ranking 2021 with an overall score of 52.2 (out of 100) and an overall rank in the 601-800 range (out of 1,115 institutions from 98 countries).
However, how do these global rankings help the universities?
Prof Jude William Genilo, head of the Department of Media Studies and Journalism at ULAB, said that positions on the global rankings deserved rewards for the university’s continuous efforts in developing innovative curricula and focus on students.
Earning a place in global rankings helps show that an institution is reputable, he observes.
"If you have a high ranking, more students will be interested in applying to your university. It also helps in organization and management,” Prof Genilo said.
“The top university authorities utilize rankings as a benchmark for progression. It affects strategic decisions, given the intense competition with other universities,” he added.
Universities might also look at other highly ranked institutions in order to adopt successful strategies, the professor further said.
"There are some universities that do not think that rankings are that important. They prefer accreditation to ranking. Accreditation is a process of validation in which colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning are evaluated. The standards for accreditation are set by institutions, professional organizations, government, or standard-setting bodies,” said Prof Genilo.
If a university believed in rankings, it would think of its own strategic direction to achieve its ranking targets, he added.
Prof Shamsad Mortuza, acting vice-chancellor of ULAB, said that rankings could influence partnerships and collaboration.
“If an institution has a high ranking, more organizations will want to partner with it,” he said.
How do they evaluate?
The WURI and THE rankings are among the most renowned that measure the performance of universities around the world in terms of adding real value to society and providing opportunities for the future. Dhaka Tribune previously ranked the Bangladeshi universities.
Three types of ranking systems are predominant at the moment.
The mainstream ranking is quantitative, and it ranks universities on the basis of reputation, research and internationalization.
Reputation is the perceptions of academics and employers about a university. Research refers to a number of studies produced, citations from these studies, and the funds generated for research. Internationalization is the number of foreign faculty and students, as well as the number of international exchanges and collaborations.
Examples of mainstream ranking systems are the QS Rankings and the THE Rankings.
Next are the alternative ranking systems. They evaluate a university's real impact or contribution to society, highlighting creative and innovative approaches to research and education.
The WURI Rankings and the THE Impact Rankings use alternative ranking systems.
Finally, specialized ranking systems collect data on a specific aspect of the university, such as the Webometrics Rankings that evaluates the design and the popularity of the content on university websites.