The University of Otago English and history departments
have been ranked in the top 30 university departments in their
respective disciplines in the world, in recent QS World
Both departments are also ranked top in their respective
university fields in New Zealand. They have also had striking
success in gaining a series of highly competitive research
grants, particularly from the prestigious Marsden Fund.
In the past nine years, six staff in the Otago English and
linguistics department have gained eight Marsden grants,
totalling about $3 million, and a prestigious US National
Endowment for Humanities award.
Over a similar period, Otago history academics have gained
nine Marsden grants, understood to have generated at least $3
million in research funding.
That funding success had enabled some key Otago academics to
focus on pursuing their research and generating high quality
Prof Tom Brooking, of the Otago history and art history
department, said the high international rankings of the
English and history departments partly reflected the
long-established strengths of those and other humanities
areas, including the Law Faculty, at Otago.
Prof Brooking said he had gained two Marsden grants,
amounting to about $1.1 million, which had helped him produce
a series of academic books.
The funding and QS ranking outcomes were adding to the
reputation of Otago departments and the division.
''We're doing pretty well and we're getting both national and
international recognition,'' he said.
Otago University deputy vice-chancellor, academic and
international, Prof Vernon Squire, said the university was
''pleased'' to have the English language and literature join
psychology, history and law as its subjects in the
international top 50 in the latest QS rankings.
The Otago psychology department earlier topped the country in
its official PBRF ranking score.
Otago researchers were ranked 28th in English language and
literature and 30th in history.
Dr Chris Prentice, who heads the Otago department of English
and linguistics, said the department's high ranking in
English language and literature reflected its ''strong and
continuing tradition'' of scholarship and teaching across the
diverse areas of the discipline.
The department ''takes pride'' in the ranking, and its
research grant and award successes also reflected
''strength'' across many historical and contemporary literary
areas, she said.
Dr Thomas McLean, an Otago English scholar who recently
gained a Marsden grant of more than $390,000, said recent
''positive results' were ''a reminder that the humanities are
alive and well at Otago''.