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ARWU Ranking 2013

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Replies to: ARWU Ranking 2013

  • CatriaCatria 11199 replies150 threads Senior Member
    A ranking that would be primarily focused on undergraduate education would likely have publics and privates together at the top...

    Ranking Methodology of Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2013 - ARWU methodology

    QS World University Rankings Methodology | Top Universities - QS methodology

    The essential elements in our world-leading formula - Times Higher Education - Times Higher Education methodology

    Admittedly some of the indicators are flawed; there are research-less schools that can teach much better than schools with high grad students-to-undergraduates ratios...
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  • Time2Time2 675 replies33 threads Member
    Rankings help sell newspapers or magazines, but I wouldn't recommend using them to help decide which college to attend. There are an endless number of threads on here about the validity/or lack there of relating to the criteria being used.
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  • simba9simba9 3296 replies20 threads Senior Member
    there is no discernible difference in the quality of teaching at the top public versus the top private institutions

    I totally agree, but different rankings look at different criteria. US News seems to focus heavily on the quantitative statistics of entering freshman classes, and that's what I was comparing the ARWU rankings with. (Although I guess it would have helped if I'd actually said it.)

    It's really a question of whether you believe in these types of rankings in the first place. While they're fun to look at, I don't put much faith in them.
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  • NCXferNCXfer 315 replies13 threads Member
    UCSD, UCSF, etc higher than UNC Chapel Hill? UC Boulder being higher than UNC is a joke. I understand these UC's are quality, but I guess my main point is that UNC should be higher. I guess I can live with top 50 in the world though.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 81240 replies729 threads Senior Member
    simba9 wrote:
    US News seems to focus heavily on the quantitative statistics of entering freshman classes

    That also seems to correlate with typical notions of prestige -- the idea that the worst undergraduate student at a "top" university like Harvard is still pretty smart, much more so than the worst undergraduate student at some other university like Arizona State.

    However, that is not necessarily well correlated to research-based rankings, nor does it necessarily mean that a given major is stronger at the "top" university than at some other university. Also, someone looking for the best students may find that there are plenty of best students at Arizona State to look for, despite the large number of not-as-good students there.
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  • ldavisldavis 565 replies107 threads Member
    I dont understand this comment. Why couldn't a public be better than a private?? not necessarily inflation...
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  • Pat1120Pat1120 593 replies12 threads Member
    UCSD and USF both above Umich? Hmmm...

    (no problem with UMich's ranking, just find that a bit peculiar)
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  • goldenboy8784goldenboy8784 1663 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Why does JHU do so well in all of these international rankings compared to other schools like Duke, Northwestern, etc.?

    Also, there is no way in hell that Minny, Wisconsin, and UCSD have stronger faculties than Duke.
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  • beyphybeyphy 2195 replies42 threads Senior Member
    JHU routinely gets the most funding from the NIH:

    Top NIH grant funding by institutions, states for 2010 | MedCity News

    Currently has the best hospital out of thousands evaluated:

    Best Hospitals 2013-14: Overview and Honor Roll - US News and World Report

    Has been associated with 37 Nobel prize winners:

    Johns Hopkins University - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And is quite possibly the only elite university to have the backing of a living billionaire:

    $1.1 Billion in Thanks From Bloomberg to Johns Hopkins

    In addition to this, historically, Northwestern and Duke have probably also been more pre-professionally oriented than JHU. Of the Nobel laureates that I mentioned earlier, 15 are JHU alumni; Duke only has 2 NL alumni, and Northwestern only has 3.

    List of Nobel laureates by university affiliation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    That said, JHU has its share of weaknesses. JHU's endowment ($2.59B) is much smaller than Northwestern ($7.1B) and Duke ($5.6B). It should be noted however that Duke and NU have over twice as many students as JHU does.
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  • wondervawonderva 65 replies28 threads Junior Member
    Woot, go UCSD. Well deserved.
    Beyphy, do you also think UCLA is also a bit higher than it should be?
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  • beyphybeyphy 2195 replies42 threads Senior Member
    No, UCLA has a top 5 medical center (best in the west for like 30 years,) top 5 dentistry school, is about to have one of the world's leading medical school (via DGMSs,) has been associated with two Turing award winners, one Fields medalist, and has had big scientific breakthroughs like discovering HIV and did research which helped found the internet.

    UCLA is generally between the top 10 to the top 15 in international rankings; UCSD however is not, and I think there's a consensus that it's certainly a notch below Michigan, Penn, and JHU. Congrats to UCSD for doing well as it has however. I will admit that it's certainly accomplished a lot in its short history.
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  • Sam LeeSam Lee 9273 replies176 threads Senior Member
    In addition to this, historically, Northwestern and Duke have probably also been more pre-professionally oriented than JHU. Of the Nobel laureates that I mentioned earlier, 15are JHU alumni; Duke only has 2 NL alumni, and Northwestern only has 3.

    Most of those winners from JHU were heavily skewed toward medicine. When the school is consistently in the top-2 in one of the Nobel categories (medicine), it's going to produce at least a dozen winners, regardless of the orientation of the student body.

    In addition, Nobel is simply a very poor measure of anything. Most often, the work were done well after the winners left their undergrad/grad schools. The relationship is therefore tenuous at best. It's also way too elusive to establish a pattern. I'd think prestigious fellowships like Rhodes, Marshall, Gates Cambridge, Mitchell, Goldwater will be better indicators. You can debate their validity but they are far more indicative and related than Nobel.

    As far as which is more "pre-professional" goes, it really depends on what you mean by that. When you have almost 400 med school applicants out of a class of less than 1300, do you consider that pre-professional? That's JHU and I'd think that's just as pre-professional as anybody. To me, I don't consider, say, journalists, especially those that cover a wide range of issues, to be any less intellectual than typical doctors in the hospitals or clinics. By the way, JHU started offering business majors recently.
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  • beyphybeyphy 2195 replies42 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps we'll have to agree to disagree on Nobel laureates then. I think JHU's Nobel laureate alumni amount is impressive, especially if it's class size has stayed the same throughout its history.

    I suppose that you are right though on the pre-professional comment. But I would like to point out that even if you took away JHU's medicine Nobel laureates, it would still have more non-medical Nobel laureate alumni than Duke and NU. Perhaps that's only the case because we don't have a Nobel prize in journalism or something. I'm not really sure.
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  • coureurcoureur 11196 replies190 threads Senior Member
    >>No, UCLA has a top 5 medical center (best in the west for like 30 years,) top 5 dentistry school, is about to have one of the world's leading medical school (via DGMSs,) has been associated with two Turing award winners, one Fields medalist, and has had big scientific breakthroughs like discovering HIV and did research which helped found the internet.<<

    I agree that UCLA is a first-rate university, but nobody there discovered HIV. That virus was first discovered by Luc Montagnier at the Pasteur Institute and Robert Gallo at the National Cancer Institute.

    There was disagreement for years as to which one of those two discovered it first. And there was eventually a negotiated agreement between the governments of France and the US to give them equal credit as co-discoverers (and perhaps more importantly co-inventors on the patents). But later genetic analyses of the virus isolates involved showed that Gallo had probably not actually isolated the virus but has was actually working on a specimen of Montagnier's virus that had been shared with him earlier. Thus, among scientific community Luc Montagnier and his team are widely recognized today as the sole discoverers of HIV. And sure enough, when the Nobel prizes for the HIV work were awarded in 2008, Montagnier got one and Gallo did not.
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  • beyphybeyphy 2195 replies42 threads Senior Member
  • Sam LeeSam Lee 9273 replies176 threads Senior Member
    beyphy,

    I never said the number wasn't impressive. I just don't think there's any basis to make any inference or generalization out of it. But if you are going to do that, then you need to explain why you can't do the same with the numbers for prestigious scholarships like Rhodes, Marshall, Gates Cambridge, NSF, Fulbright, etc.

    It just doesn't sound logical to me to say school X is more intellectual (or whatever adjective one may use, promote, or sell) than school Y simply because it has more Nobel winners (we are talking about a pretty small number vs an even smaller number) while totally ignoring the fact that school Y may have far more prestigious fellowship winners who were usually still in the school at the time of the awards were granted.

    It seems to be cherry-picking just for meaningless bragging to me.
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  • Sam LeeSam Lee 9273 replies176 threads Senior Member
    By the way, I wouldn't consider coming up with a fancy name to summarize the symptoms a "breakthrough discovery" (Initially, they even termed the disease Gay-Related Immune Deficiency). Finding and isolating HIV virus is, calling what HIV infection resulted as AIDS is not.
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  • beyphybeyphy 2195 replies42 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps it's a coincidence that the people who end up being Nobel laureates enroll in the same small number of universities. They're good schools, for example, where many people have won the prize previously. And perhaps these people would have won the prize if they'd gone to any other university. That's not something I can accurately comment on. I do think that having faculty capable of winning the prize brings in other strong faculty and graduate students that want to work with them. This in turn helps establish a strong program within the university (which winning the prize strengthens even more.) And eventually this also draws undergraduate students interested in those programs.

    I shouldn't have used the word 'pre-professional' as it doesn't get at exactly what I was trying to say. I was trying to say the pre-professional fields of Duke and NU seem less scientifically oriented. i.e. the students that go into these fields of business and law, for example, don't do these for the research aspects of the fields. I don't think that that makes NU or Duke students are 'less intellectual' than JHU students. All of these universities are amongst the best in the U.S. I do think that it shows that the universities students bodies have different interests. And there's nothing wrong with that.

    Furthermore, my original comment was qualified by 'historically' since students who get Nobel prizes attended these universities decades before they received their prize. For all I know, the students of all universities are equally intellectual now.

    The reason I brought up the Nobel prize is because there's no question that it and its equivalent prizes (Fields, Turing, etc.) are the most prestigious academic prizes awarded. My point was in response to Goldenboy's question. And unsurprisingly, an inspection of the ARWU's methodology reveals that the number of alumni and faculty who've won the Nobel prize/Fields medal is a large part of the ranking:

    Ranking Methodology of Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2013

    As you can see in the methodology, there's no criteria for 'Rhodes, Marshall, Gates Cambridge,' etc. I'm also unfamiliar with any international ranking that does include them in its methodology.

    With regard to my original comment, I'm no longer surprised by UCSD's placement. It's been associated with far more Nobel prize faculty than UCLA and has been associated with more Fields medalists as well (2 vs 1) While UCLA has had more alumni win the prize, that's weighted lower within the ranking.
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  • bclintonkbclintonk 7683 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Also, there is no way in hell that Minny, Wisconsin, and UCSD have stronger faculties than Duke.

    Oh, really? Let’s start with the assumption that graduate program rankings are a reasonable proxy for faculty strength. Here are the current US News graduate program rankings. I don’t have time to slog through the NRC rankings, but I am confident that they’re broadly similar.

    Economics: Minnesota #11, Wisconsin #13, UCSD #15, Duke#19
    Political Science: UCSD #8, Duke #10, Wisconsin #15, Minnesota #19
    Psychology: Minnesota #9, Wisconsin #9, UCSD #14, Duke #21
    Sociology: Wisconsin #1, Duke #14, Minnesota #20, UCSD #35
    History: Duke #14, Wisconsin #14, Minnesota #24, UCSD #30
    English: Duke #10, Wisconsin #17, Minnesota #36, UCSD #39
    Chemistry: Wisconsin #7, UCSD #21, Minnesota #21, Duke #45
    Physics: UCSD #14, Wisconsin #17, Minnesota #26, Duke #40
    Biology: Duke #13, UCSD #15, Wisconsin #15, Minnesota #32
    Math: Wisconsin #16, Minnesota #18, UCSD #20, Duke #24
    Computer Science: Wisconsin #11, UCSD #14, Duke #27, Minnesota #35
    Earth Science: Wisconsin #13, UCSD #17, Minnesota #28, Duke #45
    Engineering: UCSD #14, Wisconsin #18, Duke #28, Minnesota #29
    Medicine (research): Duke #8, UCSD #15, Wisconsin #29, Minnesota #38
    Law: Duke #11, Minnesota #19, Wisconsin #33, UCSD N/A
    Business: Duke #11, Minnesota #23, Wisconsin #34, UCSD #73
    Public Policy: Wisconsin #12, Minnesota #16, Duke #16, UCSD N/A

    Mean ranking: Wisconsin 16.1, Duke 20.9, Minnesota 22.5, UCSD 24.1
    Median ranking: Wisconsin 15, Duke 16, UCSD 17, Minnesota 21

    This suggests Wisconsin is the strongest of these four schools in overall faculty strength, with Duke arguably second but very close to UCSD and Minnesota. Duke’s strongest assets are its medical (#8), law (#11), and business (#11) schools, plus political science (#10) and English (#10). It is notably weaker than the other three schools in chemistry (#45), physics (#40), and earth science (#45).

    Wisconsin shows strength across the board in the arts and sciences, with every program in the top 20 and most in the top 15. It is somewhat weaker in its professional schools (#28 medicine, #33 law, #34 business). Minnesota and UCSD are spottier. UCSD is a less “complete” university, lacking a law school and a public policy school, and its business school (#73) brings down its average. Toss that one outlier and UCSD’s mean ranking would be slightly better than Duke’s. But UCSD is weaker in some social sciences and humanities (sociology #35, history #30, English #39). Minnesota has many top 25 programs but not as many top 15 programs as the others. On the other hand, its weakest programs (#35 computer science, #36 English and #38 medical school) are not as weak as Duke is in some basic sciences.

    On the whole then, the faculties of these four schools are quite comparable, with Wisconsin having a slight edge in these disciplines. Arguably Duke is second-strongest of the four, but by a small margin, and it's also the most uneven. It's close enough that by the time you added in all the disciplines not represented here--for example, agricultural sciences and natural resources where Wisconsin and Minnesota are globally renowned powerhouses--the relative rankings could change. I think most people in academia would say all four of these schools have very strong faculties, but I think most would give Wisconsin the edge overall.
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  • Sam LeeSam Lee 9273 replies176 threads Senior Member
    As you can see in the methodology, there's no criteria for 'Rhodes, Marshall, Gates Cambridge,' etc. I'm also unfamiliar with any international ranking that does include them in its methodology.
    Fair enough. And that's exactly where the weakest link is for the ranking, which says
    Quality of Education = ALUMNI of an institution winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals [REALLY????]
    How about this alternative instead:
    Quality of Education = STUDENTS of an institution winning Rhodes + Marshall + Gates Cambridge, etc.
    The alternative doesn't include graduate students. Other than that, I think it is far better for obvious reasons. That said, I don't mean I believe in it. I guess I should say the alternative is *less bad*.
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