The impact ranking systems have on universities around the world was discussed at a UKZN gathering which featured visiting United States academic, Professor Luc Beaudoin.

A Vice-Provost for Internationalisation and Associate Professor at the University of Denver, Beaudoin said university rankings undoubtedly had a major influence on how each institution was perceived and could be seen as an accurate reflection of an institution’s general performance and could also have an influence on enrollments.

However, the measurement system had a negative impact on some newly-established institutions working hard for international recognition and to attract students from around the world. The ability to attract international students created a positive financial flow for learning institutions, enabling them to build sustainable international relations.

Beaudoin opened the discussion on the advantages of internationalisation and the structure of how universities are ranked.

He made it clear that to be recognised internationally universities needed to do more than just publish large amounts of academic material.

Beaudoin said funding and preparing students for international experiences were important factors in encouraging strong international relations between universities.

He congratulated UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division for continuously strengthening the University’s brand through building relations with international universities, such as Denver University.

UKZN Acting Executive Director for Corporate Relations, Ms Normah Zondo said: ‘The lecture provided us with a global perspective on university rankings and how they impact on our ability to attract students across the globe. It further highlighted reputation as a major contributor on the rankings and how can the institutions differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive environment.’

Words: Nokubonga Nomasiko Jele