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World Class Universities and the Rest

World Class Universities and the Rest
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Author(s): David A. Turner (University of South Wales, UK)
Copyright: 2017
Pages: 20
Source title: World University Rankings and the Future of Higher Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Kevin Downing (City University of Hong Kong, China) and Fraide A. Ganotice, Jr. (The University of Hong Kong, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0819-9.ch006


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University rankings and the concept of “World Class Universities” have captured the imagination of academics and policy makers, and they are now both firmly established as part of the higher education scene. The rankings have been criticised on many grounds: the arbitrary nature of the measures used, the arbitrariness of the methodologies used and the need of rankings to respond to other imperatives. This chapter looks at what function rankings have in legitimising funding regimes that focus investment in “centres of excellence”, and what this implies for reduced / worse funding of other institutions. This central philosophy of focusing investment where there is a critical mass of research activity has dramatic implications for the relationships between universities and their communities. These pressures will be experienced differently in different academic fields. This chapter examines the ramifications of adopting a one-size-fits-all policy to diverse disciplines with different requirements.

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