UT ranks 25th in Times Higher Education survey

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UT-Austin jumped into the top 25 in a listing of the world’s top universities after ranking 29th last year.

The University ranked 25th best in the world on the 2012-2013 Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings. The University’s score increased by 3.9 points to 78.8 out of 100 possible points. The rankings are based on 13 separate performance indicators which include teaching, research, industry income, international outlook and citations in research publications.

The University did not participate in the survey for the 2010-2011 rankings. UT ranked 15th in the world in 2004 but fell to 76th by 2009.

UT spokesperson Gary Susswein said many U.S. universities opted out of the survey because of changes in management and methodology. According to a 2011 The Daily Texan article, UT President William Powers Jr. said Times Higher Education worked with some of the universities who eventually decided to participate. Powers said Times Higher Education did not work with UT after they decided to opt out.

“Those issues have been resolved, and we see this as a sound and important ranking,” Susswein said.

UT vice president and provost Steven Leslie said the University’s ranking increased because of several years spent on improving undergraduate core curriculum.

“What we have done is truly representing excellence here at the University,” Leslie said. “This has happened over a period of time, but it is coming to fruition now.”

UT’s research score improved by 4.6 points this year to 80.7, above the University’s averaged total. Leslie said the improvement was a result of an increased emphasis on
faculty recruitment.

“We have focused on a strategic recruitment of faculty who are leading nationally and internationally in both teaching and research,” he said.

Leslie said that the University has continued to perform at a high caliber despite having to overcome budget cuts during the past year.

“We’ve had cuts without question,” Leslie said. “But we stayed centered on supporting the core excellence of the University.”

In a statement released after the announcement, Powers said he is proud of the University’s ranking compared to the other top universities who surpass UT in private endowments and public funding.

“If we can make the world’s top 25 with the relatively low funding we have now, imagine what we could do with a robust and sustained commitment,” he said.

The UT System Board of Regents and Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa released statements congratulating Powers and the University’s faculty, staff and students.

“The fact that UT Austin’s scores increased during a time when global competition has been strengthening is particularly heartening,” board chairman Gene Powell said in the statement.

Cigarroa said the University’s performance in the rankings proves UT’s motto of “What starts here changes the world.”