With students worldwide looking for an exemplary tertiary education, Universities are under pressure to achieve a “world class” title, which is something not self-proclaimed.
Jamil Salmi, World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator, says in his The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities, “elite status is conferred by the outside world on the basis of international recognition. World-class universities are recognized in part for their superior outputs.”
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is a publication made by the Centers for World-Class Universities and the Institute of Higher Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University established last 2003. The Economist in 2005 commended ARWU for being the most used annual ranking for the world’s research universities.
The publication uses six objective indicators to rank universities. These indicators include the number of alumni and the number of staff winning Nobel Prize and Field medals, as well as the number of highly cited researches produced, and the per capita performance with respect to the size an institution.
The ARWU has been widely cited and used as a baseline standard for identifying strenghts and weaknesses; DLSU would be wise to consider this as a starting point in becoming a world-class research university.
The aforementioned characteristics are shared by many of the top universities in the world. With its thrust of becoming a world-class research university, this begs the question of how much progress has DLSU made.
Venturing into the World-Class Path
“We have set our minds to become a [world-class] learner-centered research university and that is very clear for us,” DLSU President and Chancellor Br. Jun Erguiza FSC shares. He, however, notes that at the moment, while the University is making significant progress, the University has yet to meet the expected standards.
College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Vice Dean Dr. Feorillo Demeterio shares that the University has had problems in funding research production. He shares that CLA has in-depth need for external funding because few people or organizations fund research on social sciences and humanities.
Br. Jun shares that the University needs more funding to support research; he shares that tuition may not be sufficient. “If we rely on your [students] tuition fees, we cannot be a research university,” Demeterio emphasizes. He furthers that DLSU needs external and government support to pour more funds into research, but since DLSU is a private university, the government is not obligated to assist.
In spite of this, certain organizations and accreditation bodies have recognized DLSU and its efforts.
As of late, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has issued the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Information and Technology, and Teacher Education as Centers of Excellence (COEs) while Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering as Centers of Development (CODs). COEs and CODs are institutions that have exhibited high levels of research and academic performance.
In 2010, the ASEAN University Network Quality Assurance (AUN QA) assessed five different departments in DLSU, namely the Literature, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Chemistry, and Psychology.
The Literature Department, in particular, received a relatively high rating of 4.45 – 5.0 in the 5.0 scale.
The AUN QA uses a more learning-centered standard rather than output-based indicators. The AUN incidcators encompass the areas of teaching and learning strategy, academic staff quality, student quality, facilities and infrastructure, student and staff development, and stakeholder feedback and satisfaction.
Attracting faculty with research capabilities, getting students within the top 10% of the ladder and improving facilities, Br. Jun points out, are the initiatives that the University needs to carry to keep track of its goal.