Focus on Strategic Planning to Boost Global Ranking, Expert Says

By: Farah Omar

While there are a number of different ranking organizations for universities worldwide, the head of Education Policy Studies at Pennsylvania State University Kevin Kinser says that higher education institutions should build their brand names on the standard of facilities offered and cultures of excellence.

Kinser was speaking at a lecture on Quality, Innovation and International Rankings at Shafik Gabr Hall last week.

Kinser said that quality isn’t assumed but is evaluated, assessed, and validated.

“It is determined by mission not measured by ranking, hierarchy or prestige,” he said.

Some institutions may fall back on their strength in providing up-to-date technology facilities as a standard for quality. but this could be a pitfall.

Kinser quoted researcher Roy Amara about technology’s influence.

“We tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run,” he said.

In his career, Amara extensively researched the pros and cons of technology’s effect on sustainability, general access and intercultural engagement.

The drawbacks of technology make for unclear strategies for consolidating an academic institution’s reputation, or building engagement with other academics.

The 2016 QS World University Rankings has placed AUC at the 365th best university worldwide, behind George Washington University, Northeastern University and Virginia Tech.

By comparison, the QS ranking put the American University in Beirut at 228.

AUC is currently ranked 600-800th place by the Times Higher Education World Universities Ranking report in London.

According to the Madrid-based Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain, AUC ranks 1355 globally, behind Cairo University (743) and Alexandria University (1130).

The “Webometrics Ranking of World Universities” is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the

If AUC or any other academic institution is to improve its ranking it must focus on strategic planning.

“Start with ‘where are you now? Where do you want to be? How will we get there?” Kinser said.

In order to establish this level of excellence you must build an organizational capacity with policies, structure and strategy, he added.

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