Academia has an ambivalent relationship with rankings. On the one hand, academics constantly complain about them; on the other, they always look for ways to “fix” them. A similar observation could be made about scholars researching higher education. I argue that this ambivalence contributes to the further entrenchment of rankings as a practice in higher education and I call for a heightened appreciation of reflexivity in the research on the subject.
One of the most surprising aspects of the English educational system—speaking as a non-English who does research on higher education (HE)—is how imbalanced it is for almost every student involved. Let me explain what I mean by this.
It’s usually once a day that I browse through Twitter or other social media sites and see the word “top” connected to academia somehow. Most of the time, this word drives me completely mad. I stopped to think for a moment why that is.
I often wonder how commonly held the myth of a certain kind of higher education is—of tweed-jacketed dons in lifelong jobs, with iron-plated pensions, spending lots of time with happy, engaged students, teaching with passion, with space for slow, thoughtful scholarship.
“Pre-covid” life in the UK almost feels like an aeon ago, but we’re only six weeks into it. At the end of February I was in London, co-hosting an event with colleagues, and was still recruiting and interviewing participants for my research project in mid-March. How things have changed. […]
Colleagues outside UK may have noticed, on social media or elsewhere, that a significant number of UK staff, both academic and administrative, have been on strike for the past couple of weeks. Those not so familiar with recent […]
For a while now, university rankings have been intensely debated all over the world. Despite the prevailing sentiment among academics that rankings are harming the academic profession, the actual resistance […]
In what is now a classic paper, Paul DiMaggio and Walter Powell (1983) explained that companies/firms in any given field (loosely speaking, an industry) often resemble each other after a time. They described how the process […]