Wrapped Up In Books

U of T, tossed salads.
January 14, 2009, 3:43 pm
Filed under: A, potpourri | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I got this in my utoronto email yesterday and it made me smile a bit. Cut and pasted pour vous.

Publications and Citations

We continue to attract excellent students because we continue to recruit and retain excellent faculty and staff. One measure of the excellence of our community is its collective scholarly output. Across a staggering range of disciplines – including many more than those mentioned in Figure 1 – the University of Toronto is one of the leading research universities in North America. Only Harvard publishes a greater number of scholarly papers. Put simply, from the standpoint of overall excellence in scholarship, no post-secondary institution in Canada is close to the University of Toronto.



Omnibus rankings of universities continue to be generated by various media outlets and agencies, just as questions continue to be raised about the basis of the various metrics and combinations thereof that are compiled and published.

The issue, of course, is not the need for rigorous assessment and disclosure of discrete dimensions of performance, but rather the tossed salads of measures served up annually to those seeking – with apologies to Mencken – simple answers to complex questions.

Among those specific measures of performance that we have long taken seriously is assessment by academic peers. While peer-review surveys have their own limitations, such surveys can shed some useful light on how a university’s scholars are perceived by others in the same field. The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), for example, ranks U of T 41st in the world according to its ‘tossed salad’ of criteria. But when the THES asked the scholars at different universities to rank each other, our peers placed us 9th in the world – and top among Canadian universities. In fact, the University of Toronto is one of only five universities peer-reviewed in the top 16 in every field considered by the THES. The other four were Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge and Stanford.

Figure 2 shows some of the most recent rankings of research-intensive universities.




One thing I always applauded my alma mater for was its ability to rank so highly despite only having an itsy fraction of any other non-Canadian top school’s funding. Maybe it’s in Canadian nature to be crafty like that. (Notice how Queen’s barely makes these lists? Ohhhhhhh.)

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