Posted on January 16, 2018

Qatar University (QU) in partnership with Times Higher Education (THE) yesterday hosted the “THE World University Rankings Data Masterclass”, which discussed how the World University Rankings are built and which data are collected, as well as THE ranking methodologies and future plans for teaching excellence.

The masterclass also looked at the performance data of universities in the Arab world and on how rankings and performance indicators can evolve to best meet the developmental needs of institutions in the region. The event drew the participation of several presidents, faculty, experts, and researchers of universities from Qatar, Iran, Oman, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Attending the event were QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham, QU leadership, deans, heads of departments, program directors, faculty members, and staff.

QU co-hosts Times Higher 1 [].jpgA presentation by Mr Trevor Barratt, Managing Director of Times Higher Education, detailed THE’s data credentials and the data for the World University Ranking -- Performance Data from universities (via THE), Reputation Data from academics (via THE) and Bibliometric Data from academics (via Elsevier). Mr Barratt highlighted the eleven ranking subjects which include arts and humanities; social sciences; business and economics; clinical, pre-clinical and health; law; education; life sciences; physical sciences; engineering and technology; computer science, and psychology.

He noted that the academic reputation survey increased from 143,484 votes in 2016 to 144,863 votes in 2017. He also highlighted that the THE World University Rankings 2018 Scopus Dataset includes 12,431,514 total publications and 62 million citations.

On THE World University Rankings methodology, Mr Trevor outlined the 13 metrics -- doctorates to academic staff ratio, doctorates to Bachelor degree ratio, field weighted citations, income to academic staff ratio, industry research income to academic staff ratio, international to domestic staff ratio, international to domestic student ratio, papers to academic staff ratio, publications with at least one international author, research income to academic staff ratio, research reputation, staff to student ratio, and teaching reputation. He also outlined the five ranking pillars which include Citations (30%), Industry Income (2.5%), International Outlook (7.5%), Research (30%), and Teaching (30%). He said: “The calculation of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 has been subject to independent audit by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) making these the only global rankings to be subjected to full, independent scrutiny of this nature.”

The presentation also showcased the results of the THE World University Rankings 2018 and 2016-17, the characteristics of a world class university, and the Arab Ranking 2018. Following was a session on teaching excellence metrics led by Mr Phil Baty, Editorial Director, Global Rankings, Times Higher Education.

In his presentation, Mr Baty noted that the THE World University Rankings are very heavily focused on research. It is right to focus on research for the world university ranking, he said, adding, “but of course we recognize the importance of the teaching mission, and we recognize some universities have no mission to research, and those who do of course take their teaching role extremely seriously. So, we forged a new partnership with the Wall Street Journal to develop a new teaching-led ranking.”

He highlighted the 2017 College Rankings which are based on the 3Ps of the learning process -- Biggs, Gibbs et al -- and gave a brief on the student factors (prior knowledge, ability, and motivation), the teaching context (objectives, assessment, climate/ethos, and teaching procedures), the learning focused activities, and the learning outcomes (skills, facts, and involvement).

Mr Phil Baty outlined the WSJ/THE College Rankings Methodology which includes 6 sources (IPEDs, THE Student Survey, College Scorecard, THE Reputation Survey, Elsevier Scopus, and BEA); 15 metrics (finance per student, faculty per student, papers per faculty, student engagement, student recommendation, student interaction, subject breadth, graduate salary, graduation rate, reputation, debt repayment, student diversity, faculty diversity, percentage of international students, and student inclusion); and four pillars (Resources, Engagement, Outcomes, and Environment). He also noted that THE is planning to push the new teaching metrics globally.

QU co-hosts Times Higher 2 [].jpg

On the sidelines of the masterclass, QU hosted on January 15 a gala dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, Doha. The ceremony featured the screening of a short video on QU and a presentation on “QU Overall Ranking Results” delivered by Mr Cesar Wazen, Director of QU Scholarships and Partnerships Office. In his remarks, QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham said: “Qatar University recognizes the importance of international rankings such as the Times Higher Education rankings, which include clear and highly accurate indicators and various details related to universities’ work and role.”

Dr Al Derham also highlighted the negative impact of the illegal blockade imposed on Qatar on all areas including the academic field and family relations. He noted that QU has accommodated the national students who have been affected by the Qatar-Gulf crisis and that the University did not end the service of any faculty member due to his/her nationality.”

Mr Phil Baty said: “We are a very global business and our role is to help universities improve through data analytics and through face-to-face meetings to discuss the issues that matter to institutions. We have a great relationship with Qatar University and Qatar is a very good hub to have international discussions about the needs and policy-environment for universities in the Middle East region.”