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The Gap at the Top: Real Concern or Red Herring? Stephen Tallman E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "The Gap at the Top: Real Concern or Red Herring? Stephen Tallman E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Gap at the Top: Real Concern or Red Herring? Stephen Tallman E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor

2 The Rankings Gap Does Exist  QS World University Rankings Top 200 /2013 show:  Times Higher Education World University  13 Emerging Market nation universities  28 Emerging Market nation universities  10 BRICS nation universities Rankings Top 200 include:  3 BRICS nation universities

3 And is NOT Evenly Distributed THE:  Brazil – 0 in top 200; 2 in the range  Russia – 1 in the range (plus some high-ranked specialist institutes)  India – 5 in (including 4 IIT)  China – 2 in top 200; 8 in  South Africa – 1 in top 200

4 BRIC National Planning  Brazil: “13 th ranked producer of new knowledge”  Russia: 5 in the top 100 by 2020 – Putin  India: “We must play the same game”  China: Huge resources and a state-backed drive to build world class universities

5 but…BRIC Outcomes Grads of the top BRIC institutions are the equal of grads from the US top 20, even if their schools are not in the top world rankings. & The returns to university educations in this group of countries are increasing (although at different rates) -Carnoy et al.

6 1. Are the BRICs and other emerging market nations doing the right thing, but failing to gain recognition? Leading to: 2. Is the game rigged? 3. How can we do things right? So....Three Questions Emerge

7 THE Criteria  Research – 30%  Citations – 30%  Learning environment – 30%  Undergrad teaching related – 25.5%  Reputation & PhD – 4.5%  Internationalism – 7.5%  Industry research ties – 2.5% = Total research related – 74.5%

8 Doing Things Right: Climbing the League Tables  Increase research output – time & money  Increase citations in Web of Science [English language] journals  Bring in foreign students & faculty and ‘promote the brand’ Hire foreign or foreign-trained faculty and encourage and support research scholarship

9 The Star System in Action Mk1

10 BUT … What does this do, anyway?  Increases the cost of the educational system while targeting the elite schools  Pulls the high potential faculty out of the classroom, especially the u/g classroom  Investing in researchers generally leads to shorting teachers  Importing stars devours budgets

11 The Star System in Action Mk2

12 1.Are the league tables a distraction, suggesting that national priorities are being shaped by publicity demands? And further: 2. Does the game matter? 3. What IS the right thing to do? So....Three Alternative Questions?

13 THE Criteria: Doing the Wrong Thing?  Research – 30%  Citations – 30%  Learning environment – 30%  Undergrad teaching related – 25.5%  Reputation & PhD – 4.5%  Internationalism – 7.5%  Industry research ties – 2.5% = Total research related – 74.5%

14 Doing the Right Thing: Indigenous Development of HE  Building more LOCALLY high-quality undergraduate programs, especially STEM programs, economics, IT, other development-oriented programs  Economic and institutional development  Individual investment and payoff  High quality technical and practical education  German system  US community colleges  Research by and for local context as an emergent skill

15 Example: US Economics Educators Developmental Approach  Helping foreign educators to teach market economics  Focus on widespread understanding of basics  Desired outcome of widespread economic literacy (ability to understand and apply concepts)  Organic emergence of research scholarship

16 Innovation: In and Beyond the Universities  Raising productivity and rewards in the economy – privatize both costs and benefits of education at all levels  Cultural change – respect for the craftsman & entrepreneur  Educational change –  Fundamental research is mobile; focus on exploitative research & learning skills  Education and training for industry needs  Apprenticeships and work-study programs  Fewer overeducated, undertrained, under-employed grads (hundreds of thousands of Indian & Chinese ‘engineers’? Already bloated government sectors?)

17 Universities: Going Beyond the League Tables  Mass education matters, especially in BRICs  Employment matters, especially in BRICs  Innovation matters, but is not the same as “scholarly research”  If creating a few elite research institutions distract from societal goals, then rankings are - Perhaps not just red herrings but poison bait!

18 Thank You Stephen Tallman E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor


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