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Rice slips in THE rankings

By Mengjia Liu     10/17/14 5:31am

Rice University dropped in ranking from 65th to 69th in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2014-15.

Universities receive scores in five main areas: teaching (worth 30 percent), research (30 percent), citations (30 percent), industry income (2.5 percent) and international outlook (7.5 percent). Rice received an overall score of 59.8 out of 100, with sub-scores of 41.7 in teaching, 70.8 in international outlook, 34.6 in industry income, 37.1 in research and 99.9 in citations.

Despite experiencing a score decrease of 2.4 in teaching and 0.6 in industry income from 2013-14, Rice improved scores in all other areas, with citations, which measures research influence, remaining at 99.9. The net score remains unchanged.

Vice President for Finance Kathy Collinssaid she believes small fluctuations in ranking from year to year are to be expected, since over 400 universities around the world receive rankings. 

“I wouldn't describe Rice's move from 65 to 69 as falling because Rice has consistently been in the top quartile for the past few years,” Collins said. “We are still doing better than we were two years ago when we were at 75.”

Collins sad 33 percent of the total score is based on The Academic Reputation survey and the Research Reputation survey.

“Because we don’t know about the response rate, or who is filling [the surveys] out, we don’t know whether it is skewed to certain parts of the world,” Collins said. “I don’t think you can say that being ranked at 65 or being ranked at 69 is a statement about a change in our teaching quality or academic quality”

Although Rice does not disregard the rankings, the university is more focused on teaching, research and making an impact rather than on directly improving ranking, according to Collins.

“The first thing to remember is that Rice does not exist to play the ranking game,” Collins said. "We can strengthen and support our faculty and research and expand our research profile both in terms of awards and citations. That’s helpful to us and may also be helpful in the rankings.”

Hanszen College senior Andrew Clark believes a fluctuation in rankings should not concern students.

"Rice is a great institution,” Clark said. “An arbitrary small change does not really mean a lot.”

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