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ANU still number 1?

By johnboy 10 October 2008 27

The Canberra Times reports that ANU has rated 16th in the world and is, according to the Times Higher Education world rankings the finest university outside of the US and Britain.

So Rioters… Does this match with your own experiences of ANU and other seats of higher learning?

What’s Your opinion?


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ANU still number 1?
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thetruth 8:30 pm 07 Feb 09

I got degrees from both UC and ANU – I found both to be quite good. The ANU degree has been worth more as an investment. I enjoyed the educational experience at ANU, I think research led education is a little richer (but it still comes down to the individuals)

Fredster 5:23 pm 07 Feb 09

RuffnReady said :

Pseudo beat me to it by 15 minutes… I find it ironic that people ask “what is it based on?” when we are talking about university ranking – didn’t they teach you how to research? I have a link here to the actual rankings, not a story about the rankings, so go there and click on “methodology”:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/hybrid.asp?typeCode=142&pubCode=1&navcode=118

Did any of you read the methodology? Well I did and by the way, I’m a statistician. First and foremost I can tell you that the THES rankings are severely flawed. Why? Because they asked 200,000 academics to respond to their survey and the response rate? Well less 1%. Considering there are thousands of universities around the world – who’s to say that these few academics have the knowledge to rate universities around the world and across disciplines.

In regards to publication the metodology makes no reference to how the sampling was approached and how they managed to deal with universities from non-English speaking countries that don’t publish research in English. A scan of the list shows that many top European universities were withe ranked poorly or didn’t make the list.

Other flaws? The 2008 rankings changed to using z-scores which is problematic because the sampling distribution was NOT NORMAL considering the sample response rate. Hence the volatility in the rankings from year to year. In fact it wouldn’t be surprising if you find that the universties towards the bottom of the list ranked below 180 got only 1 or 2 votes. That is, they made the list not because they are elite, but just because one of the 2000 respondents surveyed happended to list them in their top 30.

In 2008 the ANU was ranked above UC Berkeley, Stanford, McGill, The University of Michigan, UCLA and The University of Tokyo. Very well done but you have to be absent minded not to find that peculiar.

As for Nobel Prizes – this is problematic because many Nobel Prize winners affiliated with a university usually didn’t conduct their ground breaking research there.

Employer review score – the methodology is so vague about this and doesn’t even state which so ‘called’ employers were asked to rate the universities. And who within various companies would have the right credentials to rate students across universities. There’s simply no validity in the method.

Berkeley ran an interesting article a while back. Did you guys know that the THES rankings are actually a marketing gimmick to make the magazine money? All the universities that are listed in the rankings are contacted and asked to purchase publication and media “packs” costing up to $40,000 so they can have their university listed in media publications and world university directories that the company produces.

Research and science (both of which the ANU claims strengths in) is based on TRUTH and QUESTIONING the validity of your sources through investigation. Since the ANU publicly endorses the THES rankings you really need to question the integrity of the university and whether it’s as great as it puts it out to be.

Why is all this problematic? Well economically it paints a picture that Australian universities are prosperous and world class research powerhouses when in fact they are severely lacking in funding and research grants.

One area that the THES fails to take into account the SELECTIVITY. That is does the university attract the best students in the country and the world as indicated by how selective it is?

Davo111 7:38 pm 11 Oct 08

RuffnReady said :

My experience of science at the ANU (chemistry, biology, ecology, human ecology) over a decade is that the lecturers are mostly excellent and often highly reputed globally in their field, the resources are abundant, and the class sizes are small. Really, you couldn’t ask for much more.

Agreed
(Except i’m doing SRES, geology, psychology, and computer science courses)

astrojax 6:06 pm 11 Oct 08

and CiT offer degrees in photography and other design courses. http://www.cit.act.edu.au/future/courses/photography_advanced_diploma_bachelor_design/

so no, they are not ‘breaking the law’ r’n’r – they go to extraordinary lengths to pass through a long and complex process of ed. board review to have a course certified to ‘degree’ level.

Sleaz274 1:19 pm 11 Oct 08

Overheard definitely the best advice to anyone is take a year off after Year 12 and decide for sure. Our chemistry teacher at high school used to bemoan the fact that the highest rate of dropouts at uni were private school kids who went straight from year 12 to uni. I had a year off before joining up and it was the best thing for me. I happily pass that advice on to anyone considering uni.

ant 1:08 pm 11 Oct 08

Which TAFEs offer degrees? Well, this one, for starters:
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/06/17/1087245038860.html?from=storylhs

RuffnReady 12:36 pm 11 Oct 08

Which TAFEs offer degrees? The highest qualification a TAFE can offer is an advanced diploma. If a TAFE is offering a degree level course they are breaking the law.

Some decent commentary here on ANU’s shortcomings – it is a highly academic institution, so expect to come out with excellent research, analysis and writing skills, a solid grounding in the theory, and not much else. CU and CIT are far more towards the practical application end of things. Choose which of those aspects you need to get where you want to go, and go from there.

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