Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011-2012 Times Higher Education Rankings of Top Universities in the World

And the winner is...CalTech...ranked as the number 1 university in the world, based on a variety of metrics, including obviously quality of research. Of my three alma maters, they ranked #2, #6, and #35, respectively. I am particularly proud of the University of California, Santa Barbara (the one ranked at #35).  UCSB ranked higher than the likes of Dartmouth, Brown, the London School of Economics, Kyoto University, Rice, Emory and Indiana University, among many others. I always thought UCSB's academic reputation consistently got dinged for its gorgeous location, a result which is both unfair and irrational. There is nothing that says you can't have a widely recognized, first-class institution located in a beautiful place (look at Stanford and Cambridge, for example). There is also the problem of being one of the "lesser UC's", perpetually in the shadow of UC Berkeley and its cousin to the south, UCLA.  And there is still a residual bad taste left from the 1960s and the burning of the Bank of America and the curfews that were set in Isla Vista, the college town immediately adjacent to campus. All long before my time, but that subtext was still palpable over a decade later when I attended school there in the early and mid 1980s. At any rate, I think it is a terrific school and always have. I am glad to see its reputation start to catch up with what has been the academic reality for some time.


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