Work programme 2009-2012
U-Multiranks's Final Conference
On June 9 2011, the results of the feasibility study on a new, multi-dimensional global ranking in higher education will be presented.
On 2 June 2009 the European Commission announced the launching of a feasibility study to develop a multi-dimensional global university ranking.
Its aims were to "look into the feasibility of making a multi-dimensional ranking of universities in Europe, and possibly the rest of the world too". The Commission believes that accessible, transparent and comparable information would make it easier for students and teaching staff, but also parents and other stakeholders, to make informed choices between different higher education institutions and their programmes. It would also help institutions to better position themselves and improve their quality and performance.
The Commission pointed out that existing rankings tend to focus on research in "hard sciences" and ignore the performance of universities in areas like humanities and social sciences, teaching quality and community outreach. While drawing on the experience of existing university rankings and of EU-funded projects on transparency in higher education, the new ranking system should be:
- multi-dimensional: covering the various missions of institutions, such as education, research, innovation, internationalisation, and community outreach;
- transparent: it should provide users with a clear understanding of all the factors used to measure performance and offer them the possibility to consult the ranking according to their needs;
- global: covering institutions inside and outside Europe (in particular those in the US, Asia and Australia).
The project would consist of two consecutive parts:
- In a first phase running until the end of 2009 the consortium would design a multi-dimensional ranking system for higher education institutions in consultation with stakeholders.
- In a second phase ending in June 2011 the consortium would test the feasibility of the multi-dimensional ranking system on a sample of no less than 150 higher education and research institutions. The sample would focus on the disciplines of engineering and business studies and should have a sufficient geographical coverage (inside and outside of the EU) and a sufficient coverage of institutions with different missions.
In undertaking the project the consortium was greatly assisted by four groups that it worked closely with:
- An Advisory Board constituted by the European Commission as the project initiator which included not only representatives of the Directorate General: Education and Culture but other experts drawn from student organisations, employer organisations, the OECD, the Bologna Follow-up Group and a number of Associations of Universities. The Advisory Board met seven times over the course of the project.
- An international expert panel composed of six international experts in the field of mapping, ranking and transparency instruments in higher education and research. The international panel was consulted at key decision making moments in the project.
- Crucially, given the user-driven nature of the new transparency instrument designed within the project, interested and committed stakeholder representatives met with the project team over the life of the project. The stakeholder consultations provided vital input on the relevance of potential performance dimensions and indicators, on methods of presenting the rankings in an informative and user-friendly format, and on different models for implementing the new transparency instrument. Stakeholder workshops were held four times during the project with an average attendance of 35 representatives drawn from a wide range of organisations including student bodies, employer organisations, rectors’ conferences, national university associations and national representatives.
- The consortium members benefitted from a strong network of national higher education experts in over 50 countries who were invaluable in suggesting a diverse group of institutions from their countries to be invited to participate in the pilot study.
U-Multirank final report This is the Final Report of the multi-dimensional global university ranking project. Readers interested in a fuller treatment of many of the topics covered in this report are referred to the project website.
The report “Design phase of the project: Design and testing the feasibility of a multi-dimensional global university ranking” from January 2010 lists the general design principles and present an overview of indicators used in current quality assurance systems, rankings, student information sites and classification schemes.
The interim report on preparation of the pilot phase presents the results of the “Testing phase” of the project U‐Multirank. The report elaborates on three project components:
- Pre‐testing of designed instruments on ca 10 pre‐test institutions;
- Compiling an updated indicator list after a number of consultation rounds, further analysis, and pre‐test results;
- Preparing a pilot study for ca 150 pilot institutions.
The U-Multirank project has a stakeholder focused approach. In designing and testing the feasibility of a global multi-dimensional ranking of higher education and research institutions, its users/stakeholders have a prominent role.
After the first stakeholder meeting in October 2009, a second stakeholder event was organized on 17 December 2009: the stakeholder workshop on the relevance of the U- Multirank indicators.
The goal of the third meeting was to collect the views of various stakeholders on progress made so far in the U‐Multirank project and to hear their views on the plans of the project team with respect to the tools for presenting (and visualising) the outcomes of the project.