LitDaily

Daily Notes on Literature, Pop Culture & Media, and Academia

The New Doctoral Rankings

Posted by litdaily on September 30, 2010

The National Research Council has issued its doctoral program rankings, which carry an incredible amount of weight and authority in the lives of prospective and current graduate students.  The rankings can be checked on the Chronicle of Higher Education website…>>

One reviewer of the results, Mark Bauerlein, asserts that there are two problems or “dubious measures of the quality of research” with the rankings: Diversity of the academic environment and faculty output (measuring quantity instead of quality)…more>>

On both counts, Bauerlein seems to be right on the mark.  It’s important to know how diverse departments are, especially if you don’t belong to the dominant group. The rankings, however, only take into account underrepresented, non-Asian groups and females.  This is highly problematic in the humanities where Asians, male and female, are often far and few in-between and lack majority or minority representation. Faculty output, similarly, should be measured differently across departments. In social sciences, the production of work is much different than fields like English where research is drawn from many other fields.

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