This seminar is based on a paper that uses institutional financial statements – which are available at over 90 per cent of target institutions – to examine the past decade’s worth of expenditures at institutions which place in the top 200 of the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
Based on this analysis, Alex Usher and Marcos Ramos suggest that two traditional generalisations about world-class universities need to be re-thought.
First, apart from Germany and Switzerland, we see little evidence of an emergence of new ‘two-tier systems’ of higher education in response to the ‘world-class universities’ phenomenon.
Second, we see very little evidence that additional funds, on their own, improve relative publication rates or publication impact or rankings outcomes.
To improve institutional outcomes, improving institutional management may be a better strategy than simply increasing institutional resources.
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Alex Usher is President of Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA), a consulting firm which advises governments, institutions and corporations in the higher education sector on policy and strategy. In addition to being Canada’s most-recognised expert on student financial aid, his policy work spans issues such as access to education, higher education finance and measurement of institutional performance. Overseas, his works spans six continents, and clients include the European Commission, UNESCO, the World Bank and other development agencies in Asia and Africa. He writes a popular daily commentary on Canadian higher education called One Thought to Start Your Day.
Marcos Ramos Jr. is a Research Associate at Higher Education Strategy Associates. His work focuses on institutional policy and programme evaluation; bringing data analysis and ethnography together to monitor trends and shifts in tertiary education worldwide. He is currently working on HESA’s inaugural 2018 Global Review of Higher Education Funding, due out in December of this year.