|Abstract: ||The development of higher education is an important index to a nation’s economic and social progress. As a result, most governments would allocate huge amount of budget to upgrade the performances of higher education. One of the key indices to assess the performances of higher education is to look at the university world rankings. Consequently, politicians as well as university administrators would take world rankings as an indication of their achievements (Hazelkorn, 2013). There is quite a dispute, however, regarding the real effects of aggressively pursuing university world rankings on the mission of a university (Wang, 2009), i.e., the responsibility of providing quality education to young generations. In fact, one of the prevailing arguments against it is that climbing up world rankings would probably sacrifice student teaching and counseling, especially to undergraduate students.|
Way back to 1990, Ernest L. Boyer, serving as the president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, thoroughly discussed the fundamental purpose of university education and foresaw that the 1990s would be the decade of the undergraduate in American higher education. The reason why undergraduate teaching was emphasized is because university students were losers under the working systems of academic communities in which research is the priority of the professoriate. Nowadays, the situation surrounds university campus nowadays is no different after more than 20 years has gone by. Those who are in charge of school administration are still pressing faculties to spend more time conducting research and publishing papers since research outcome is a major, probably the most important, evaluative factor found in most university world rankings. Consequently, the proclamation of ‘university students were losers’ continues to be a problem for universities staring at the world university rankings.
Admittedly, appearing on world rankings might be a quick way to boost reputation for universities that are not prestigious enough or not yet on the rankings. For those universities, world ranking pursuance might benefit faculties and students. One reason is that those universities will have to launch some projects in order to get their name out. For example, they would increase as well as improve teaching and researching facilities; build up student qualifications in the job market; invite or hire world renowned professors; attract and recruit outstanding prospective students; to name just a few. To this end, the decision of pursuing world rankings seems to be a valid alternative to better higher education performances.
Generally speaking, there are always pros and cons for any course of action. Pursuing university world rankings has its merit; however, it would also create some problems. The purpose of this paper is to present the case in Taiwan and hopefully it would help to explore the effects of university world rankings on higher education.