Special Talk on ‘Universities Ranking and Benchmarking’

Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC), VIPS organized a special talk on ‘Universities Ranking and Benchmarking’ by Dr. Mamta Rani Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Association of Indian Universities (AIU) for the faculty members of the institute on April 5, 2019 at the Vivekananda Hall.

The lecture commenced with a warm welcome to all by Dr. Isha Rawal.The ceremonial lamp lighting was done by the esteemed guest,Dr. Mamta Rani Agarwal, Mr. Suneet Vats, Vice-Chairman, VIPS, Prof. (Dr) B. T. KaulChairperson,Vivekananda Schoolof Law and Legal Studies, Prof. Anuradha Jain, Principal VIPS and Prof. (Dr) Shilpa Khatri Babbar, Director (Academics & Students’ Welfare). Dr. Isha Rawal introduced the revered speaker to the audience which was followed bythe felicitation of Dr. Agarwalby Mr. Suneet Vats and Prof. Anuradha Jain.Dr. Rawal apprised the guest of the achievements and major milestones made by VIPS during its existence of almost two decades. Post this, a small video on various Schools of VIPS was played for the august guest.

Dr. Agarwal, a charismatic speaker, delivered an elaborativeand extensive presentation on ranking system across the globe. She shared the nuances of how the business of ranking universities evolved over the years. Dr. Agarwal left no stone unturned to explicate what exactly it is that makes a university rank high on world university rankings like the Times Higher Education Ranking (THE) and the QS World University Ranking (QS) systems. She raised important questions regarding the policies of Indian Universities towards their faculty and highlighted the importance of emotional belongingness in any institute.

Dr. Agarwal continued to explain how the ranking system came into play with the advent of the internet.Her lecture had a mix of science, technology and social science to elucidate the methodology used by the ranking systems around the world. She revealed the status of Indian Universities in comparison to those in countries like Japan and Luxembourg, which are smaller in size and population than Haryana, a state in India.

Dr. Agarwal enlightened the audience with the reason for poor performance of Indian Universities in the world ranking. She citedthat Indian universities have failed miserably to choose an integrated research model of delivering education after independence. Her emphasis during the lecture was on the significance of research as sheadvised that Indian Universities should give freedom to their faculty to pursue their areas of research.

Dr. Agarwal drew a relation between the high rank of an institution and its reputation. She exhibited rankings like THE and QS have as high as 15% of the total metrics to reputation surveys. In fact, her revelation exhibited that 50% of the ranking system is based just on perception. During her talk, she referred to a lecture by Mr. Subroto Bagchi where he had mentioned a book on the title ‘what works?’ and linked it to institutes like Harvard and Stanford, and stated that‘they work’.

Dr. Agarwal believed that the reason Indian universities are lacking today is because of their inability to satisfy the psychological skills needs of their students. She recommended building an emotional infrastructure with their faculty and students, through proximate leadership, rich communication and extreme inclusivity. She elucidated that another reason for the lagging appearance of Indian Universities in the world rankings could be lack of interdisciplinary research and dearth of conducive environment for the teachers.

She also showed the stark difference in the teacher-student ratio between top universities like California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as they maintain the teacher-student ratio as good as 1:4.4.Dr. Agarwal suggested to integrate industry with academia as it is now imperative for academia to earn the trust of the industry. Her talk ended with a resounding round of applause by the audience.

The session concluded with delivery of ‘Vote of Thanks’ by Mr. Suneet Vats. He expressed gratitude to Dr. Agarwal for sharing the insights on Universities’ ranking and benchmarking process.

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