Universities Fall in International Ranking

News Brief: Oct. 2010

Austrian universities fell in international ranking for the 2nd year in a row, according to the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2010/11, with Austria ranking 21st in the national survey.

The University of Vienna ranked 195th this year, a drop of 63 places, and the University of Innsbruck ranked 187th, thus surpassing Vienna for the first time since the ranking began in 2004. As in earlier years, American Universities topped the list, with Harvard in first place, followed by the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the elite three.

After severe criticism of the criteria, this year’s study included 13 independent indicators, focusing less on esteem and educational heritage, but more on research activities, teaching methods and transmitting knowledge.

“We have seen a 30% increase in students since 2004”, justifies Georg Winckler, head of the University of Vienna, “but a staff increase of only 10 to 15%. And our budget increase did not even hit the 5% mark.” Claiming that the “Rahmenbedingungen”, the general conditions are worsening, a more equal student-staff ratio would place the university among the top 100.

“The listing in the study clearly shows that investment in higher education leads to elite universities that are capable of motivating the best students and teachers,” the study’s authors wrote.

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