University thrilled with move up world rankings

Harlene Hayne.
Harlene Hayne.
The University of Otago is "delighted" after moving up the world rankings.

The university maintained its position as the second-top New Zealand university in the QS World University rankings rankings behind Auckland and its overall position climbed from 169th in the world to 151.

Otago University vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne said  the university was delighted with its position and modest rise up the rankings.

"This overall rise in the rankings  — the second for Otago  in as many years — is due to gains across a range of areas, including academic and employer reputation, and citations per academic staff member," Prof Hayne said.

At 28th in the world, Otago was the top-ranked New Zealand institution on the "international faculty" measure, which was used to assess how successful a university has been in attracting academics from other nations.

Prof Hayne emphasised the rankings were only one measure of success and Otago should also be judged on its performance in the Tertiary Education Commission’s national Educational Performance Indicators (EPIs).

"The university’s near clean sweep of first placings among New Zealand’s eight universities in the last [2016] EPI round reflects how our amazing students, through their own hard work, are making the most of the rich opportunities we offer here."

Otago University academics had also won the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence five years in a row.

Otago University’s success comes as five of the country’s eight universities have risen in the latest QS rankings. Waikato University is the standout success, leaping more than 100 places in three years to 292nd place — in the top 1.1% of the world’s 26,000 universities. Universities NZ director Chris Whelan said the biggest driver was the Performance-Based Research Fund, which allocates research funding to universities based on a formula in which the biggest factor is publications in international journals.

"It’s meant we have actually had quite a single-minded focus on lifting the level and impact of our research," he said. 

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