The University of Auckland has climbed in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for the first time in three years.
For the latest 2020 THE rankings, the University of Auckland was ranked 179th in the world – about 30 places higher than its 2019 place. Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon says he is pleased to see the university do well internationally, but does not place much importance on the rankings, as year-to-year fluctuations have little bearing on reality. “Having said that, I do not underestimate the efforts by University of Auckland academic staff, and the support provided by their professional colleagues, that go into achieving these rankings,” he says. McCutcheon says while the results may be encouraging this year, New Zealand universities will struggle to compete internationally unless the government increases their investment in tertiary institutions – particularly as other countries have chosen to prioritise funding the development of tertiary education providers.
Hopefully, the upturn in rankings heralds the end of the university’s THE slide – which had seen it fall from 52nd place (as of 2006), to 179th in a little over a decade. At its lowest point, the university wasn’t ranked at all – instead, the 2019 rankings list simply said the university was somewhere in the 201st to 250th region.
The release of the new THE rankings has also seen AUT climb several places, as it moves out of the 301-350 bracket and into the 251-300 bracket. AUT Vice Chancellor Derek McCormack says AUT will always prioritise “great graduates” over international rankings, but admits it was “nevertheless very encouraging” to see the university performing well in international rankings.
Other New Zealand universities saw little to no movement: the University of Otago was placed in the 201-250 bracket, the University of Canterbury in the 301-350 bracket, and Lincoln, Massey, Victoria University of Wellington, and Waikato University were all placed in the 501-600 bracket.