DLSU ranked in the 451-500 range in this year’s Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, an annual ranking of the world’s top universities.
The University’s rank declined from the 401-500 range in 2009 and 2008. Three other Filipino universities entered the top 500: Ateneo de Manila University at 307, University of the Philippines (UP) at 314, and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the 551-600 range.
The biggest criterion in the QS methodology – and also the most controversial – is the peer review. QS uses an opinion survey called the Academic Peer Review, which asks the academe around the world about the top universities they know of in their respective fields. This accounts for 40% of a university’s score.
The next most important criterion in grading is the research output of the university. It accounts for 20% of the total grade and is measured in terms of citations per faculty member and faculty to student ratio.
A recruiter review, a survey given to the employers of graduates of a specific university, comprises 10% of the grade. The international orientation, the percentage of international students and faculty studying and teaching in a university, also accounts for 10% of the score.
DLSU Chancellor, Br. Ricardo Laguda FSC says that DLSU acknowledges the value of such surveys. However, he stresses that DLSU hasn’t actively participated in such surveys in the last five years.
“Many top universities do not participate in these surveys because their methodologies are still being questioned,” Bro. Ricky notes. He furthers that there is no data that can accurately capture the performance of a Catholic school such as DLSU.
Br. Ricky admits that it will take time for the academe to discuss the different measures, definitions and criteria that makes a university an “excellent university”.
The QS methodology has been criticized for its lack of credibility in measuring the actual performance of the different universities around the world. The criteria have been changed several times and still, many universities do not believe in the standards set by the survey.
Br. Ricky also claims that the international surveys may not necessarily reflect the Lasallian mission. According to him, “DLSU’s priority is its mission of serving as a resource for the Church and nation, focused on academic excellence and holistic development of the youth under its care.”
“The University will continue to provide excellent services through education, research and community engagement, with or without DLSU’s being part of a survey of rankings,” Br. Ricky reaffirms.
He adds that the university is undergoing a strategic planning process since June that will enable DLSU achieve its vision and mission.
Despite the low ranking of DLSU in the recent QS survey, the University is the first to receive the highest status given by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU). DLSU was reaccredited to the Level IV status last academic year.
According to the PAASCU guidelines, academic institutions that are given the highest accreditation status offer high quality academic programs, which are comparable to the programs of international universities.
Br. Ricky clarifies that the PAASCU accreditation and QS ranking are institutions with different goals and objectives. PAASCU will always be an important partner of all Lasallian schools in improving the education they offer their students.
“DLSU acknowledges [the values of surveys] and the University will continue to study and track measures, definitions and criteria of these different surveys, and see which ones are appropriate to DLSU’s vision and mission values. [For as long as the survey methodology is credible] it will be good [to use it] for benchmarking purposes and a tool for performance management,” Br. Ricky concludes.
The QS ranking was originally part of the Times Higher Education (THE) – QS World University Rankings (THE-QS). Last 2005, THE and QS decided to form their separate ranking methodology. THE is now known as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THES) and QS retained its name.