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Sussex maintains a top spot in university world rankings
The University of Sussex has once again been named as one of the world's top 150 universities.
The 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), published today (Tuesday 14 August) by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, puts Sussex in the top 150 globally, and top 14 in the UK.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, said: "Sussex is consistently ranked among the best universities in the world. We will continue to look at ways in which we can further develop our global reputation as a centre for research excellence and as an institution that welcomes talented students from around the world."
Now in its 10th year, the ARWU is the longest-established international ranking system for universities. The rankings are based on six criteria, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals; the number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Scientific; the number of articles published in the journals of Nature and Science; the number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index - Expanded and the Social Sciences Citation Index; and per capita performance with respect to the size of an institution.
More than 1,200 universities are actually ranked by ARWU every year and the best 500 are published.
This world ranking table makes no provisions for the Arts and Humanities, of which Sussex is very strong. In addition, the increasing reliance on league table rankings as an exhaustive, or even accurate picture of how a university 'performs' relative to others, is something we should be concerned with. If the imposition of audit targets and criteria by ranking bodies becomes the sole measure of what a University is worth, we can expect to see a shift in the behaviour of the institutions toward meeting these targets and criteria. The worry then becomes that heteronomy of this kind might steer Universities away from the pursuit of (and teaching of) knowledge for knowledge's sake, and instead toward a rigid set of teleological ends that undercut the potential of the institution itself.
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