Ellen Hazelkorn: The plusses and minuses of university rankings

The plusses and minuses of university rankings Podcast

Every year, university leaders around the world anxiously await the publication of the latest university rankings. Whether their institutions improved their performance and gained positions, will determine their success (or failure) as administrators. 

In principle, it all makes perfect sense: it is only natural that the quality of universities should be measured, and the element of competition can be a powerful driver of improvement and innovation. And yet, there is hardly a more fiercely contested topic in international higher education than university rankings. Why? What are the problems and consequences (intended or not) of pitchting universities against each other? Are there better ways? And – perhaps more fundamentally – why are rankings so hugely important, if everyone seems to be unhappy with them? To answer these and many other questions, we are joined in conversation by Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, one of the leading experts on international higher education (not that we would dare to rank them!).

About Ellen Hazelkorn

Ellen is a Joint Managing Partner of BH Associates, Professor Emeritus at the Technological University Dublin, and Joint Editor of Policy Reviews in Higher Education. She has worked as a higher education policy consultant and specialist with international organisations and governments, such as the European Commission, UNESCO and many more, for more than 20 years. Ellen regularly undertakes strategic and research evaluations for European and national research/scientific councils and universities. She is a member of numerous boards and commissions and is internationally recognised for her writings and analysis of ranking and other forms of quality and transparency instruments within higher education. Additional biographical information on Ellen can be found here.

Additional resources

For further insights into the topics touched on in this episode, the following resources may be of interest:

January blog on rankings in University World News by Ellen Hazelkorn and Georgiana Mihut

Research Handbook on University Rankings: Theory, Methodology, Influence and Impact

EAIE Podcast: Didi Griffioen: Teaching and research – a balancing act

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The EAIE podcast brings you voices, perspectives, ideas and insights into the world of international education. Host Laura Rumbley chats with special guests about the issues that matter most for your day-to-day work internationalising higher education.