Global rankings are distorting universities’ decisions, says ANU chief

Jordan Baker:

Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt has questioned the validity of the global ranking systems relied upon by universities to market themselves, saying they mislead students and distort universities’ research priorities.

Professor Schmidt, a Nobel Laureate in physics, said the companies behind global rankings arbitrarily chose to reward science and engineering but overlook teaching quality, humanities research, and subjects with little interest beyond Australia, such as local literature and history.

“Everyone says [rankings] don’t matter, but they do,” Professor Schmidt, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, told the Herald. “They drive students to you, they hold up your prestige in community and governments. It’s a shame they really aren’t very good.