Australia: UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaUNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis

23:00  11 september  2019
23:00  11 september  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis © Ryan Stuart UNSW vice-chancellor Ian Jacobs chats to students on the Kensington campus.

The University of NSW is ascending the latest international higher education rankings faster than any other top 100 institution in the world, leading a strong performance by Australian universities buoyed by their links with China.

Almost two-thirds of Australian universities rose in the 2020 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, announced on Thursday.

UNSW recorded the biggest jump of any university in the top 100, leapfrogging 25 places to number 71 on the league table, regarded as the most influential in higher education and a key driver of international student enrolments.

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The University of Melbourne remains the country's highest-ranked institution, with its position at number 32 unchanged. It is followed by the Australian National University, which slipped one spot to 49th.

The University of Sydney was third, slipping one place to number 60. A spokesman said Sydney improved its overall score slightly on last year, but the top 100 was "incredibly competitive," he said. "It's simply the case that other universities were able to improve a bit more," he said.

Nineteen of the 35 Australian universities ranked lifted their positions this year, only five fell.

Oxford remained the world's top university, but last year's number two, Cambridge, was pushed into third place by the California Institute of Technology. Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology rounded out the top five.

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Higher scores in the teaching reputation and research reputation surveys drove UNSW's ascent. It comes after a difficult year for UNSW, in which a move from a two-term academic calendar to a three-term version angered students and some academics.

Vice Chancellor Ian Jacobs said the university's aim was to move into the top 50 across the key rankings, including The Times, by 2025. He said this year's rise was "rather quicker than we expected" and put the university's average ranking at 69.

"Those last 19 places to get us in the top 50, that's still some shift to make but we are on the right trajectory," he said. "It does reflect four years of incredibly hard work and change, to deliver on what was [when developed] in 2015 an unashamedly ambitious, altruistic and idealistic strategy."

After warning in 2018 that Australian universities risked being overtaken due to government funding cuts and pressure to cap international student numbers, the editors of the survey this year described their performance as "extremely commendable".

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Local politicians and commentators have questioned universities' reliance on income from students from China and collaborations with Chinese universities, but chief knowledge officer, Phil Baty, said it was one of the key elements behind their success.

“Australia has made growing relations with China a focal point of its higher education strategy, and this sharing of knowledge and expertise appears to be paying off for both parties," he said.

"Chinese institutions are getting better at attracting global talent and collaborating with foreign institutions, while Australian universities are benefiting both financially and academically from an influx of Chinese students and academics.”

THE rankings measures universities on their teaching, research income and reputation, citations, international outlook, and knowledge transfer to industry. Highly ranked universities attract more prestige, can charge higher fees, and are more popular with high-calibre international students.

But the Grattan Institute's Higher Education program director, Andrew Norton, warned too much focus on rankings threatened to sidetrack universities.

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Pictures: World's top 50 universities of 2020

UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis
UNSW rockets up global rankings as China links help lift Australian unis

"I am concerned that the focus on rankings may be distracting public universities from their broader mission in Australian society, which should be teaching and research which is related to Australian topics," he said.

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