By Richard Vedder
I had to fly 10 time zones to Central Asia to learn this, but I now realize that non-U.S. universities are even less oriented than American ones. Bob Morse of US NEWS and I attended the International Rankings Group meetings in Kazakhstan. A few impressions:
1) Most rankers care little about what students think or what they want to know that would enhance students choices as to schools;
2) They are mostly interested in enhancing rankings through faculty publications and citations. They also believe most human knowledge of importance is in the sciences, showing indifference or disdain towards the social sciences and humanities;
3) There is no doubt an attempt to dislodge American universities from the top 100 world university list;
4) IREG (the ranking organization) wants to go into the ranking certification business, an idea that I am somewhat skeptical of;
5) Some efforts at personalized (do it yourself) rankings are beginning to appear, a move I view with enthusiasm.
I just heard US NEWS is selling space on its web site for schools to peddle its wares, which I must say potentially could impact on the objectivity of the survey, although I hold Bob Morse (who actually does their rankings) in the highest personal esteem. He is a man of great honesty and integrity. I must say, with the Clemson scandal (on top of one at the University of Southern California)in mind, that I feel better about the Forbes/CCAP rankings, which are much, much more difficult to "game" than that of US News.