By Simon Marginson (auth.), Michele Rostan, Massimiliano Vaira (eds.)
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Extra resources for Questioning Excellence in Higher Education: Policies, Experiences and Challenges in National and Comparative Perspective
Consequently, all higher education institutions may be considered equal but different. The variety of higher education institutions in terms of the types of subjects they teach constitute what Teichler (1988; 2005) calls horizontal diversity. Secondly, however, institutions may also be measured against one or a number of common denominators that form the basis for hierarchies of institutions within national systems or internationally. g. g. percentage of professors holding advanced masters or doctoral degrees), selectivity at entry, achievement levels of students, professional success of graduates, publication record of researchers, reputation of researchers and the like.
2008). Rankings and classifications in higher education: A European perspective. In J. ) Higher education: Handbook of theory and research. Dordrecht: Springer. Simon Marginson Centre for the Study of Higher Education University of Melbourne 20 IVAR BLEIKLIE EXCELLENCE, QUALITY AND THE DIVERSITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEMS INTRODUCTION Excellence is one of the many usable concepts in the area of higher education that are precise enough to evoke a number of positive and sometimes negative emotions, yet vague enough to offer fertile ground for theoretical development as well as empirical research.
With past performance (‘track record’) installed at the centre of the regulatory system, and more so in rankings such as the Times Higher Education that use ‘reputation’ indictors, reproduction is stabilized. The only credible rankings are those where the list is consistent with the received wisdom about ‘quality’, the bedrock of comparison. Ranking only seems to work when the old university and imperial interests are sustained. Harvard should be number one; that is the common sense of the sector.