Impacts and Challenges of University Rankings


Rankings are important to universities. For Asian universities trying to compete with their Western counterparts, rankings provide a frame of comparison. As all universities look to attract top global talents, rankings has become a key differentiator for many. For governments and other stakeholders of a university, rankings are benchmarks of progress that they can easily understand, allowing them to sense the return on their investments.

However, as grades never fully reflect a student’s intellect, a university’s rankings do not determine its full excellence. This is especially the case for many Asian universities, which have tremendous local influences but are not highly ranked globally. Part of the reason is that global university rankings focus on research output, whereas many Asian universities concentrate on addressing local needs, such as skill training and industry collaborations. What does ranking truly mean to a university? How do Asian university leaders see rankings? How to strike a balance between pursuing rankings and responding to local needs?

With more than 20-years experience on Academic Rankings on World-Class Universities (ARWU), On February 17, Professor LIU Niancai, Dean of SOE, also the founder of DAU, with professors from other top Asian universities, participated in DAU 7 and shared insights on global rankings. Professor LIU first reviewed history of global rankings, compared variations in ranking results, and discussed impacts on rankings. Professor Nancy Ip from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Professor Reini Wirahadikusumah from Institut Teknologi Bandung; and Professor FENG Da Hsuan from University of Texas at Dallas joined this dialogue.

Click the button to watch the recording of DAU 7.

Reference: DAU | Dialogues On Asian Universities (

Edited by: CHEN Ruoxi