[Blueboard] Ateneo's response to the THES World University Rankings

Alumni alumni at admu.edu.ph
Fri Nov 17 15:06:01 PHT 2006

A response to the
THES World University Rankings
date posted: 2006-11-17 10:37:05

(Note: On Oct. 5, 2006, a global survey of higher educational 
institutions — the Times Higher Education Supplement - Quacquarelli 
Symonds [THES-QS] World University Rankings — was released. Among 
thousands of universities surveyed, 4 from the Philippines made it to 
the top 500. These are the University of the Philippines [299th], De La 
Salle University [392nd], Ateneo de Manila University [484th], and the 
University of Santo Tomas [500th]. [The complete results are posted in 
QS Top Universities Website 
To enlighten the community regarding the results of the THES survey, the 
University President writes the following response .)

The context of the Times rankings is the process of internationalization 
of universities; in particular, they are intended for students looking 
for places abroad to study. Ateneo understands that internationalization 
in the university is important in our globalizing world and, thus, we 
understand the purpose of these rankings. However, each university and 
each country have their own priorities. The priority in the 
vision/mission of the Ateneo has been the formation of leaders in 
Christian and Jesuit values and contribution to overcoming poverty and 
national development. Thus, we have responded to internationalization by 
what is the most advanced student mobility and study abroad program in 
the country. 

    * JGSOM's Junior Term Abroad creates opportunities for college
      juniors to spend one semester in any of the Ateneo's many partner
      universities. This year, 114 Ateneo college students are spending
      a semester in universities in Asia (particularly China, Japan,
      Singapore), in Europe and the United States. We will have 150
      students annually in study abroad programs in the next two years
      and this will continue to grow. 
    * We have students from the Schools of Science and Engineering,
      Social Sciences, Humanities and the Graduate School of Business
      who also spend a semester or year abroad. We also have summer
      student cultural programs to Europe (through our European Studies
      Program) and Asia (particularly Macau, Hong Kong, and China). In
      the next years, we want to tap more partners in these countries
      and to go into new partnership agreements with other countries in
      Europe, (Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany) and Asia
      (Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand). 
    * Those who cannot go abroad are offered the opportunity of studying
      with foreign classmates through our inbound students. Our
      agreements have also allowed us to host a mix of international
      students on campus from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore,
      France, Germany, the US, Japan, Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, and

These programs follow our priority of leadership formation, since we 
believe that leaders of tomorrow will have to be increasingly global in 
their perspective. We do receive international students. However, a 
focus on attracting foreign students (the purpose of the Times rankings) 
has been a secondary priority for us. 
 From our international exchanges, we see that we are highly respected 
among those who have come to know us. Just in the last few months, when 
China decided to set up Confucius Institutes for the teaching of Chinese 
language and culture in about 100 universities around the world, the 
Ateneo de Manila was the first (and so far the only) university 
designated in the Philippines. In addition, the World Press 
Photojournalism Institute in the Netherlands has also chosen the Ateneo 
as partner for its program in photojournalism. We will exert more effort 
to better communicate this to the outside world. Our alumni abroad can 
help us a lot in this regard. 
There are other efforts to increase the number and quality of our active 
international partnerships and programs. We have been benchmarking for 
quality (IEEE standards for ECCE, attendance of conferences, networks) 
and sending our students to regional competitions, among others. 
However, because of our small size and relatively few programs until 
recently, our international reach has been limited. In surveys like 
this, size matters, both in the number of students and the diversity of 
In a world dominated by science and technology, it was only in the last 
ten years or so that the Ateneo has established itself in science and 
technology. We were thus small, both in terms of number of students and 
diversity of programs. But we must also remember that it was this small 
size and the focus on formation and the core curriculum (esp. 
philosophy, theology, literature) that our alumni treasure most. It is 
to the formation they obtained in this focus of the Ateneo that they 
attribute their own growth in leadership. Thus, while the smallness 
makes us less widely known outside the Philippines, the same 
characteristic has formed important leaders in business and government 
in our country and has established Ateneo as a well-known and great 
school in the Philippines . 
Today, we are a University of about 7,585 undergraduates and 3,300 
graduate students. Relative to its size, the proportion of Ateneo 
graduates in local and regional leadership positions in the academe, 
government, and business is impressive. We have a growing number of 
alumni abroad who have become leaders in the international world. We 
believe that a great part of their success comes from Ateneo's focus on 
formation and on core curriculum courses such as philosophy and 
theology. As mentioned above, we are becoming better known through our 
growing international contacts and through our students studying abroad; 
our culture of forming leaders and contributing to national development 
is highly respected. 
The area of research, particularly research published in ISI journals, 
is an area where we realize we have to do much more. The tradition of 
the Ateneo de Manila, and the tradition of the great majority of 
universities until the last few decades, has been that of preparing 
leaders for society. In recent decades, the role of the leading 
universities has moved towards the creation of new knowledge, namely 
research. The Ateneo de Manila, in particular the Loyola Schools, has 
invested much to increase research efforts. We have chosen certain areas 
where we feel we can make a significant difference, and we are excellent 
in these areas. But we realize that much more needs to be done. This 
will require, however, careful discussion and planning, because we do 
not want to lose focus on our priority goals of leadership formation and 
contribution to national development. These latter goals, we believe, 
are still Ateneo's most important contribution to the Philippines. 
The rankings challenge us to improve our efforts in internationalization 
and research, but it has to be recognized that the criteria, purpose, 
and survey instrument (please refer to Notes below) also do not reflect 
certain aspects that make the Ateneo an excellent Philippine university. 
As mentioned above, the formation of leaders and contributing to 
national development is our priority; however, these priority concerns 
of ours are not given weight in the Times rankings. 
Rankings in the Times survey are important because they measure how the 
world perceives us. But just as a person has to take what people think 
of them in the context of their own values and priorities, we, too, have 
to reflect on these perceptions and measures within our own view of our 
vision and mission. Thus, while we will work on strengthening our 
research and publications in ISI journals (because these are the 
dominant measures in the Times and other surveys), we need to do this in 
a way that does not move us away from our vision/mission and our 
traditional strengths: leadership formation and contribution to national 
development. These have to continue to be our priorities as a Jesuit 
university committed to the service of faith and the promotion of 
justice and as a university in a Philippines whose greatest challenge is 
overcoming poverty and national development . 
The survey criteria:

    Peer Review - 40% (name recall and contacts)
    Recruiter Review - 10%
    International Faculty Score - 5%
    International Students Score - 5%
    Faculty/Student Score - 20%
    Citations/Faculty Score - 20% (number of researches in ISI journals
    and/or the number of times publications have been cited by other work) 

The survey asked the Ateneo to supply only the following:

    1. Number of faculty (teachers, teaching assistants, full time
    2. Number of international faculty
    3. Number of undergraduate students
    4. Number of international undergraduate students
    5. Average course fees per year for an undergraduate course
    6. Average course fees per year for an international undergraduate
    7. Number of postgraduate students
    8. Number of international postgraduate students
    9. Average course fees per year for a postgraduate course
    10. Average course fees per year for an international postgraduate
    11. Library expenditure for the most recent academic year
    12. Average entry requirements for an undergraduate course
    13. Percentage of graduates employed six (6) months post-graduation

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