THE Times Higher Education (THE) has released its long-anticipated, prestigious 2021 Global University Rankings for the category—national, regional and international “Impact”. The best universities are ranked using “Impact” as the criterion for measuring their performance excellence.
The rankings for 2021 are more competitive than prior years. In 2020, 768 universities were ranked from 85 countries. In 2021, the number increased to 1,115 universities from 98 countries and cities, an increase of 45%.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles made the announcement and discussed the University’s performance in these latest rankings during a media conference. Joined by Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs, Dr Luz Longsworth and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Academic, Industry Partnerships and Planning, Professor Densil Williams, he shared details of how The UWI has consistently top performed in Times Higher Education’s rankings since 2018, as well as the University’s strategy for pursuing advancement of the SDGs in the region.
The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are based on universities’ performance across the spectrum of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Universities that met the merit bar for rankings are assessed using four of the SDGs. They are evaluated using data that highlight their performance in three areas: leadership and stewardship; research output and teaching and advocacy.
Of the four SDGs, only one, SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals, is compulsory, while the three other SDGs are open choices. The UWI chose: SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being); SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). The UWI’s relative performance in these four categories further enhanced its international standing, consolidating its reputation as a global leader. It maintained its status as the only university in the English-speaking Caribbean to make the global elite ranking.
According to UNESCO and the International Association of Universities, 20,000 of the 30,586 universities in the world from 196 countries are officially accredited. The UWI was included in the top 1,115 of these universities for world SDG “Impact Ranking”. Using UNESCO’s base data, the Times impact ranking positions The UWI in the top 2.5% of the best universities globally in 2021.
This impressive result confirms that the strategic leadership and stewardship of The UWI, and its scholastic research output and advocacy, were internationally monitored and measured and adjudged to be excellent. They reflect the excellence of UWI researchers in the SDG categories, and support the effectiveness of The UWI’s global partnering strategies.
They also give context to the United Nations’ selection of our Vice-Chancellor as a higher education strategist to provide visioning for the global university sector up to 2030 and beyond.
“THE continues to affirm The UWI’s stellar performance as a reputable higher educational institution on the global stage. This is a testament that, through the work of our scholars, administrators, and students; and with the support of our governmental partners, plurilateral agencies and the regional private sector, The UWI continues to add significant value to the regional and global community,” stated Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Densil Williams, The UWI’s lead strategic planner.
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs, Dr Luz Longsworth, noted that “The UWI’s emergence in the global higher education arena is the basis of its future financial sustainability. Without a respected ranking status there will be no competitive success in winning international students, and securing substantial research grants; and critically, international donor funding will be minimal without top class international partnerships.”
These assessments were supported by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who said that “through international partnerships universities are positioned to develop innovative research, mobilize science, and distribute knowledge in order to impact policies for economic growth, social inclusion and job creation.”
He added further, “The UWI is here to serve the development of our region as its top priority. In a community that is vulnerable to existential threats—climate change, chronic diseases, and COVID-19—the impact of universities such as ours has never been more critical. This global ranking confirms that The UWI is at once excellent and ethical.”