15 October 2006

NUS Does Well in International Rankings

NUS does well again in another study ranking top universities around the world.

1 Harvard University
2 University of Cambridge
3 University of Oxford
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4 Yale University
6 Stanford University
7 California Institute of Technology
8 University of California, Berkeley
9 Imperial College London
10 Princeton University
11 University of Chicago
12 Columbia University
13 Duke University
14 Beijing University
15 Cornell University
16 Australian National University
17 London School of Economics and Political Science
18 Ecole Normale Supérieure
19 National University of Singapore
19 University of Tokyo


Anonymous said...

really? wats the f**king use when graduates from NUS lose out to foreigners with some jiapalang degrees in the job market?

such bullshit ranking is used for student enrolment here, to woo 3rd world foreign students who cannot afford to go to 1st world universities in the west more than anything else.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at Sunday, October 15, 2006 11:04:50 AM:

Thinking out of the box... use the NUS ranking to get your degree recognized by foreign migration offices. Then you'll be a FT in foreign lands, and probably will enjoy a better work-life balance than the FTs in Singapore :-P

If you decide to exit, suggest checking-out Sam's Alfresco Coffee Shop for a community of like-minded people ;-)

Anonymous said...

It's good to see NUS ranking among the global top 20. Wonder if it's too much of a pipe dream to aim for top 10? :)

Anonymous said...

I don't understand all this obsession with rankings. Surely the ranking is only as good as the criteria. For something like education, surely there are intangibles that ranking criteria fail to capture. Just think of the rankings they used to give JCs and schools.

Singapore is also highly ranked on many things. Our judiciary is one of them. Our airline is another. Then there's also our economy. If there was a ranking for statesmen, I'm sure LKY would come up highly. Hey, even his daughter in law comes up quite high on the ranking of influential people. But we all know that rankings hide as much of the truth as they reveal.

Personally, I think that the idea of reducing performance of a complex task to a single score or index or ranking is too ludicrous to take seriously. At most, we might want to look more closely at what's being measured and ask ourselves which aspects of performance we can improve on.

Anonymous said...

The criteria is already spelt out on the sites to which Mr Wang provided hyperlinks.

Just because intangibles are intangible doesn't mean that it isn't useful to measure tangibles.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed useful to try to measure the intangibles. But this should be taken with a pinch of salt.

For example, we know that the exam measures a student's performance, but we also know that it's possible to be exam smart and performa well in exams and yet learn very little. In fact, the ones who read widely may not do well in the exams. Similarly, it is possible to focus one's performance on those aspects that are quantifiable (if one is minded too) but neglect those that are not quantifiable.

How many NUS students and graduates out there have experienced studying in NUS and studying in another top institution and found NUS lacking in some important X-factor, eg the intellectual buzz, the openness of the discourse, the flexibility in student assessment criteria etc?

Anonymous said...

I think that credit should be given where credit is due.

NUS has done well in the rankings, and the rankings are based on criteria formulated by an independent 3rd party which has no ulterior motive in wanting to see NUS finish any higher or any lower in the rankings.

If you wish to pooh pooh the study, then you are no better than the PAP leaders who poohed poohed the study where Singapore was ranked 140th for press freedom.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not pooh poohing the study because NUS did well. I'm saying take all rankings with a pinch of salt, whether they are from third party or not because they don't and can't give you a complete picture and is arbitrary to relaive degrees. So yes, by all means, congratulate NUS because it did well, but I wouldn't read too much into its actually quality.

Whether a university is good or not is a multi-dimensional question and there is a lot of controversy about what should be included and what shouldn't be and what is the weight to be given to each criteria... At the risk of repeating myself, I'm not sure reducing it to a score or index or rank really means that much. I'd much rather qualitatively analyse its relative strengths and weaknesses (eg the way we discuss policies - we wouldn't think an international ranking of governments or prime ministers or political parties would make much sense would we?)

So no need to get personal. That would really be displaying a characteristic PAP trait.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I forgot to provide a link to show NUS recently being ranked outside the top 100 universities by "an independent 3rd party which has no ulterior motive in wanting to see NUS finish any higher or any lower in the rankings". Of course, you won't find this ranking referred to on the NUS website. But that's not my point. The question remains, if you believe in such rankings at face value, then how good is NUS really?

The home page: http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2006/ranking2006.htm

The page on which NUS is ranked:

Anonymous said...

If only u know wat's going on in ground zero in the Uni sector ...

Anonymous said...

Oh, pray tell... enlighten us...

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I checked the methodologies for the two studies, and although I didn't get as much detail as I would have liked, this seems to be the main difference:

to do its rankings, the first study focuses on the university's current situation (eg 2006 rankings are based on the university's performance/achievements in 2005)

whereas in the 2nd study, there is weightage given for historical achievements which happened as far back as 1901.

Eg if a university had academics who won Nobel Prizes in 1960 or 1975 or 1990, that counts for nothing in the first study; but it counts for something in the 2nd study.

The great difference in NUS's rankings in the two studies (20th place in the 1st study and 100th+ position in the 2nd study) may indicate that NUS has improved tremendously in the relatively short span of a few years.

Anonymous said...

oh.. believe me, when you have gone to the other local institution to study, you would have appreciated the fact that NUS is indeed 'world class'. Although I might have complained quite abit when I was there a year ago, I must say that it is world class in its own sense: 1) administrative system, 2)internet portal service for students, 3) considering the fact that top academics are indeed employed in NUS (or would like to come to NUS).

Don't be too cynical.

Anonymous said...

Let's just say, tat if u r a student there, n u've experienced the system, n let's oso just say that if u r a staff there. n u noe wat's going on.

Survey n rankings are highly dependent on the criteria n subjective in the interpretation.

Look at the citation ranking of NUS for example, I tink, it is 8 i.e. 8 out of 100 w 100 for the No 1. Wat does this say?

The previous THES exercise included a new criterion abt employability I tink, the ranking result there is not too great.

Lemme put it tis way - in the first v first THES exercise, Prof Linda Lim from Michigan came out w a long essay in our 140th MSM abt tis. I shd say tat the essay is highly enlightening. Tho I cant quite recall.

Finally, ranking or no ranking, the 140th MSM had an editorial calling for a striving for eminence (rather than in my own word - prominence). Oso, there is s'thing called noise level activity. Put it tis way, whatever we do, do we want high signal-to-noise ratio, or high noise-to-signal ratio.

Anonymous said...

well, i'm quite cynical abt this ranking!! Looks something bias.

Anonymous said...

This is a surprising result. There are at least a handful more universities that I would have thought should be ranked above NUS. Research quality is said to have accounted for 40% of the score. This was measured through peer review by 3,703 academics who were asked to identify up to 30 universities best for research within their own field of expertise, and citations per faculty. It would be interesting to find out if the up to 30 universities ranked by each academic was ordered and whether this ordering fed into the ultimate ranking. Also, I hope those visiting professors who are mostly only there in name didn't count.

Anonymous said...

it's a big surprise that NUS is ranked so highly worldwide. i am a product of the institution but when i came out to work, employers preferred a graduate from foreign universities.

the underlying perception seems to be that if the guy has gone overseas, he's probably more independent, more creative, (since he's been exposed to another way of living) and altogether, more superior. than the local grad.

i hope NUS works hard to stay in the rankings. it's very important to me personally. i'm saving a huge amount of money for my kids' overseas education. (i don't want them to go through the same discrimination i did) imagine. if NUS is ranked top 10 in 18 years' time when they go to school, i'd just pack them off to kent ridge. and save the hubby and myself a huge amount of money. we'd have a ball of time in retirement.

Anonymous said...

Lemme put this way oso: it's not tat sinkies r useless or stupid, if it were so, we would hv sunk long ago.

Today's interview on Justin Quek is interesting. It basically means that S'pore is too small for him, so he went to Taiwan, n prob as a stepping stone to China next. Watever it is, it oso means that there is not enuf critical mass, not enuf mkt size. That means that the world class (the serious ones) foreign talent will nvr come to S'pore. Do u see George Lucas based in S'pore? Not tat I noe of.

To make matters worst, we oredi have had on a relative scale, the Singaporean diaspora, n there are supposed to be other countries interested in grabbing Singaporeans, just tat there are no promises that we will be paid as well as in S$, I suppose. I heard tat China is trying to catch up on animation or if you will like the new term Interative Digital Media. Talk abt scale - tey just need 2million youths going in, n there u have it.

Will there be another urgency to do another Remaking? I doubt so.

Today's front page seems rather telling oso. Let us speculate a little. We have 2 DPMs, one Home Affairs n one Law. Look at the recent IMF-World Bank 'saga'. It seems that if we had allowed foreigners to really go havoc, let's say, then we would have no choice but to apply our draconian law to world wide outcry. Jump to the front page article. And yet I was told (I didn't hv time to bother to read MSM nowadays), the other change is not yet coming - tat of allowing the arrested or whoever to be given legal counsel as the Police interrogates or watever. I can prob tell u that our police officers will be so clueless as to how to professionally deal w the lawyers. Tat's my guess.

I tink we r in serious trouble as it will take a long time to change the laws of the land to reflect the new global landscape n ways of doing things from buzz to IRs to sleaze to protests n wat hv u.

We r in a conundrum of sorts. I hope I haven't gone out of point. I started off saying dun just tink of ranking, n ppl r not stupid certainly not University ppl, n certainly the youth in education system. It's just tat we have not evolved to think n act out of the biggest box. And the law is in a certain sense in the way.

Anonymous said...

Oxford slipped behind Cambridge.

Cambridge slipped behind Harvard.

If Cambridge becomes top, then our N, O and A Levels are set by the top University in the world.

How proud we are!