Washington, D.C., Oct. 8, 2008—The ranking of colleges and universities continues to be a growing phenomenon around the world, and today more than 30 different nations regularly publish ranking systems. In addition, several international ranking systems compare multiple countries and their higher education institutional efforts. To ensure ranking systems contribute beneficially to the perceptions of quality in postsecondary education it is critical that knowledge and information is shared among all interested parties—ranking organizations, higher education institutions, governments, and researchers.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) recently launched a new online knowledge center to increase understanding about the breadth of and global impact of college ranking systems. The IHEP Ranking Systems Clearinghouse provides a road map of the complex ranking landscape for more than 30 countries, offering annotated links to national and international ranking systems. The clearinghouse contains a collection of thousands of documents, reports, books, journals, and newsletters focusing on specific ranking topics such as access and equity, impact on institutional decision making, impact on student decision making, policy development, and world class universities.
“IHEP remains committed to contributing to the ongoing international efforts to make ranking transparent and applicable for current higher education dialogue and for all engaged in this work to learn from each others’ experiences,” said IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. “Not only does this clearinghouse support our organization’s mission of fostering access and success in higher education around the world, it builds upon current research to determine other ways in which higher education institutions might draw on rankings for planning and campus change.”
The IHEP Rankings System Clearinghouse is an outgrowth of the organization’s larger ranking initiative, the New Agenda for College and University Rankings, which was created to understand the impact of rankings on decision making at both the institutional and policy levels. Since 2002, IHEP has been involved in the global dialogue about higher education rankings with the UNESCO-European Centre for Higher Education (UNESCO-CEPES) and the International Rankings Expert Group (IREG). Most recently, IHEP collaborated with both
UNESCO-CEPES and Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Institute for Education for the third annual meeting of the International Ranking Expert Group. A full accounting of the international efforts to improve ranking systems, and IHEP’s role in this work, is included in the clearinghouse.
In May 2006, IHEP collaborated with the UNESCO-CEPES and hosted a meeting in Berlin resulting in the publication Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions to focus on effective practices to improve and evaluate ranking systems over time. In April 2007, IHEP released the first monograph in a three-part series titled College and University Ranking Systems: Global Perspectives and American Challenges to highlight the ongoing global phenomenon of college and university ranking systems and the urgent need for constructive dialogue about ranking. The two remaining publications will (1) examine the impact of ranking on institutional decision making and (2) review ranking’s potential impact on state and federal policymaking in the United States.
The IHEP Rankings Systems Clearinghouse is being supported by Lumina Foundation for Education, an Indianapolis-based private foundation striving to help people achieve their potential by expanding access to and success in education beyond high school. It offers free access to anyone interested in learning more about national and international ranking systems. For more information about the IHEP Rankings Systems Clearinghouse, visit the organization’s Web site.