University jumps to 55th in Times world rankings

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first_imgThe university jumped 18 spots this year to No. 55 on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings list.The Times rankings, published Oct. 6., placed USC just under Boston University at No. 54 and just above King’s College London at No. 56. USC was ranked below UCLA, which came in at No. 13. California Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Stanford University took the first three spots, respectively.In September, U.S. News & World Report ranked USC 23rd in the country above UCLA at No. 25.The Times evaluates universities worldwide in five major categories: teaching, international outlook, industry income, research and citations. A score out of 100 is generated for each category and the scores, weighted based on their significance, are combined to determine an overall score.USC received a score of 41 in international outlook, its lowest individual score.Even with the overall jump, some students said they were unsure about the results of the evaluation. The low score in the international outlook category confused students, because USC holds a reputation as one of the most international schools in the United States.“USC advertises itself as the most international school in the nation and we have a lot of study abroad,” said Julia Thomas, a junior majoring in theatre.Thomas also expressed surprise at the university’s low teaching score, a major factor in the difference between USC and UCLA on the rankings chart.“We have an excellent teaching staff,” Thomas said. “A lot of the people I’ve talked to have only had great things to say about their professors.”The five categories are comprised of 13 separate performance indicators. These indicators are either statistical data, such as faculty-to-student ratio or Ph.D. degrees awarded per bachelor’s degrees, or interpretations of the results from the Academic Reputation Survey, a worldwide poll conducted by the Times and completed by 17,500 experienced university scholars. The Times said it has full confidence in its unique ranking methods.USC earned an overall score of 64 out of 100, faring best in industry income, a measure of innovation, and in citations, a measure of the number of faculty members referenced in professional journals.Last year’s score of 60.7 rose because the sub-scores in all five categories increased or remained the same, with a nearly 10 percent increase in citations and international outlook. USC also provided the Times with industry income data this year, which it did not previously offer, earning a score of 99.3 in the category.Students also voiced doubts about the accuracy of the Times’ core ranking methodology — the Academic Reputation Survey.“If you do have a ranking system, it should be based on the contributions of the students who come out of the school,” said Svadharma Keerthi, a freshman majoring in biological sciences.Sara Burton, a sophomore majoring in music industry, said colleges appeal to students for a variety of reasons and these reasons cannot be encompassed in a college ranking.“The whole thing is really silly, that there’s a ranking system at all,” Burton said. “Each person is going to have a different reason to go to college and the college they choose is going to be based on what they want, not on what people say is the best place to go.”last_img read more