How you read the rankings

VC Glyn Davis used the Times Higher Education ranking, in which his University of Melbourne rates really well, to explain why the Melbourne model, of general undergrad and specialist masters degrees, should stay. “The University of Melbourne has climbed up the THE and other rankings in recent years in part due to the move to the Melbourne Model. … This world-class model is being jeopardised by the reform plans to be discussed in federal parliament this week,” he said.

And Group of Eight chief executive Vicki Thomson points to THE commentary accompanying the rankings that, funding cuts could make things tough in the future, especially given the rise of Chinese universities. “It would be hard to find a clearer independent warning. Our universities cannot continue to deliver against the financial odds and we are now facing funding cuts, the most severe in 20 years,   that affect our students directly and through our budgets the education we can provide for them,” she said last night.

On the other hand Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the THE result showed why the changes he wants are essential. “It’s clear that Australian universities punch above their weight on the international stage. … (but) In a competitive world Australia and our universities cannot rest on their laurels. We need to adapt and respond to student needs and ensure our universities are set up for the future.”

You work with what you have.