On the back of the recent success in the 2018/19 CWUR World University Rankings published last week, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) continues its upward trajectory in global ranking systems rising in both the 2019 QS World University Rankings (QS WUR) and the2018 Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings (THE YUR), announced on Wednesday, 6th June 2018.
In the 15th edition of the authoritative QS World University Rankings (QS WUR), UJ has moved up markedly by at least 41 places into the 551–560 rank band worldwide, ending a consistent five-year stint in the lower 601–650 rank band, in which it had been placed since its debut in 2013.
QS WUR evaluates the performance of universities, spanning 85 countries, across six rankings indicators. More than 4 000 universities were considered by QS in this year’s world publication before analysing 1 233 of them with 1 011 ultimately making the cut in the final list.
Two of the indicators, Academic Reputation (40%) and Employer Reputation (10%), pertain to global perceptions and account for a hefty half of the overall score. Faculty Student (20%) and Citations per Faculty (20%) carry the same weighting and factor in the core business of a university, teaching and learning and research. Internationalisation of both students and academic staff make up the last two rankings indicators – International Students (5%) and International Faculty (5%).
UJ has achieved a higher overall score and improved its global rank position in each of the ranking indicators, with a considerable climb in the rank of 57 places for employer reputation and notable jumps in the twenties for the staff-to-student ratio and for the proportion of international staff and students. UJ surpassed the global average of ranked universities in three rankings indicators, namely, staff-to-student ratio, international staff, and international students. Nationally, UJ is one of nine universities ranked in South Africa, the youngest to boot, and is the only South African university that bettered its position. UJ has advanced nationally taking the fourth spot in the country, outperforming the University of Pretoria (UP) in the 2019 edition.
In its seventh year, the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings (THE YUR) now lists the 250 best young institutions in the world from 55 different countries, up from 200 that were ranked in last year’s 2017 edition. Not only has UJ, once again, been ranked among these leading youngsters, aged 50 years and under, but it has also leapt into the top 150, positioned in the 101–150 rank group, gaining ground in its outstanding second showing having placed in the top 200 in its debut the previous year. UJ was one of two South African universities that featured in this ranking, joined this year for the first time by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). THE YUR assess each young research-intensive university’s strengths against all of its core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook. The ranking adopts the same set of 13 performance indicators as the flagship world edition. The corresponding weightings carefully recalibrated to exemplify the unique traits and national imperatives of younger universities, assigning greater significance to the teaching and learning components, such as graduate output, as well as to research productivity, and lesser emphasis to subjective indicators of academic reputation, which count for less. The performance indicators grouped into five areas are Teaching (30%), Research (30%), Citations (30%), International Outlook (7.5%), and Industry Income (2.5%). UJ tremendously triumphed across the board, improving upon its scores in all of these five areas. This ranking provides a glimpse into the future, highlighting not those institutions with centuries of history and entrenched global reputation, but the rising stars that show massive and extraordinary potential.
Says Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UJ: “This is an exceptional feat, reaffirming the notable headway that UJ has made in attaining global academic excellence and world-class status.”