Careers & Work Experience

The Times Higher Education Impact Ranking 2020 – a brave new world?

As a University Guidance Counsellor interested in the impact that university education has in bringing the changes our world needs, the 2019 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings (THE Impact Ranking) attracted my attention in a very positive way last year.

This is the first ranking of this type that I had seen, and it brought to the forefront the work of many well-known and respected universities, but equally many other universities who were newcomers in terms of global visibility.  This ranking system measures how universities are integrating social, economic and cultural necessities into their courses, programs and research, making our education systems more useful in terms of a sustainable world.

Living as we are right now in challenging times, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, educational institutions need more than ever to ensure they integrate this into their programmes and courses. Following the latest 2020 THE Impact Ranking, the Rector of Sao Paulo, Vahan Agopyan says, quite rightly, that the relationship between higher education and the public has never been more important, adding that universities must prove their civil value in this challenging period.

The Times Higher Education Impact Ranking

Last year, 551 universities from 80 countries across 17 regions and six continents submitted data for the ranking. Of these, 462 were ranked.  This year a further 291 universities have signed up to measure their performance against the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As mentioned in an earlier article, when discussing how education can and could lead to a better, more equitable world, I talked about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), explaining how THE Impact ranking evaluates university performance on 11 of these goals:

  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Climate action
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Partnerships for the goals.

The deputy vice-chancellor (research) of the University of Sydney, Duncan Ivison, believes that the SDGs give universities a useful framework to demonstrate their impact and work in partnership. Many instances of the importance of such alliances became clear in recent times.  Over the last few weeks, it has been dramatic reading the stories of universities and businesses collaborating to produce medical ventilators and equipment for hospitals and other institutions – to help ensure that SDG 3 – the right to good health, is respected and protected.

Please take a look at the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020 results. Have a look at the universities who are taking the United Nations SDGs to heart. Universities that wish to give their students an education which will enable them to be part of the solution. Rather than part of the problems we face today.

Author Bio

Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin
Career and University Guidance Counsellor – Collège Champittet

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