Calderon also said it’s worrying that employer reputation scores are also falling. All but one of the Group of Eight universities saw a decline in employer reputation, while only two institutions saw an improvement in the faculty-to-student ratio, which assesses teaching resources.
Andrew Norton, a senior researcher at the Australian National University, said the rankings reflect universities that have increased their research output over the past 20 years.
“QS also relies heavily on opinion polls, and we cannot be sure that the people who take part in those polls can objectively assess the relative merits of universities around the world,” he said.
Of the 38 Australian universities ranked, nine were in the top 100 and another six in the top 200.
Australia had the highest average scores for international teachers and the proportion of international students, reflecting its status as a top study destination, according to QS. Australian higher education enrolled 619,370 foreign students in 2022, an 8 per cent increase since 2021 but an 18 per cent fall since 2019.
QS chief executive Jessica Turner said the Australian higher education system has consistently prioritized and pioneered internationalism.
“Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Australian institutions are making a remarkable comeback, attracting more students from emerging markets,” she said.
Australia performed well on citations per faculty, employment results and the new sustainability indicator, said QS Research Director Ben Sowter.
“By reducing the weight of the faculty student ratio, Australia’s strength on other indicators is more evident,” Sowter said. “However, the introduction of new measures in favor of Australian universities will only happen once, so we expect to see more mixed results next year.”
The University of Technology, Sydney rose from 137th to 90th place, while Macquarie moved up from 195th to 130th place. Western Sydney University saw the biggest improvement, moving up more than 120 places to 375th place.
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott said the achievements in the rankings were significant and reached “a defining moment in the history of higher education in Australia”.
“Of course there are areas where all universities need to improve and that is where the focus is [federal government’s] We hope that the University Agreement will pave the way for significant reform. We need to think about how the overall university experience meets the changing needs of students and brings our student satisfaction to the level they deserve,” he said.
Last year, university enrollments in New South Wales fell by more than 12,000 full-time students, largely due to a weak domestic market.
ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt said nine universities in the top 100 were a remarkable achievement under difficult conditions.
“The evolving methods of rankings tend to take orders of magnitude into account. ANU has chosen to maintain its unique human scale so that we can offer students the best possible experience – something that feedback from our students shows has been recognized and appreciated,” said Schmidt.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology topped the QS rankings for the twelfth consecutive year. The University of Cambridge took second place, while the University of Oxford took third place.
The QS ranking evaluates 1,500 universities and is based on the analysis of more than 17.5 million scientific papers and insights from more than 240,000 academics and employers.
The ranking measures nine indicators, including an institution’s citations, its faculty-to-student ratio, its proportion of foreign teachers, the number of foreign students, sustainability, and its reputation with employers and academics from other universities.
With Robyn Grace
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