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排名的价值——大学改进的一种途径

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“There can never be a single, reliable, overarching ranking system that is acceptable to all universities and interested parties, because universities mean different things to different people,” says Gerald Wangenge-Ouma, director of institutional planning at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. But universities should use ranking as a means to improve, while ranking systems should support stability and recognise multiple expressions of excellence.

“永远不可能有一种排名体系既可靠又包含一切,还能被所有大学和利益相关方接受,因为对不同的人来说大学有不同的角色,” 南非比勒陀利亚大学制度规划处主任Gerald Wangenge-Ouma说道。但是大学应该把排名作为一种改进的途径,而排名系统应该维护稳定性,并认可对卓越的多样表达。

“I’m for a system that supports stability so that universities don’t think they have to keep moving here and there to clincha top position in the ranking. I’m for a ranking system that acknowledges that universities are different, are located in different political economies and perform different roles.

“我希望有这样一种排名体系,它能维护稳定性,这样大学就不会为了维持在前几名而变来变去。我希望有这样一种排名体系,能认识到大学之间是不同的,它们处于不同的政治经济体中,扮演不同的角色。

"I’m for a rankings system that acknowledges the multiple expressions of excellence across the various things that universities do.”

“我希望有这样一种排名体系,能从大学做的各种事情中认可卓越的不同表现形式。”

Wangenge-Ouma will participate in a panel on university rankings at the British Council’s Going Global 2016 conference being held from 3-5 May in Cape Town, South Africa, under the theme “Building Nations and Connecting Cultures: Education policy, economic development and engagement”. University World News is a media partner and is previewing some of the themes. 

Wangenge-Ouma参加了5月3日至5日在南非开普敦举办的英国文化委员会“走向世界2016”会议。这是有关大学排名的会议,主题是“建立国家、连接文化:教育政策、经济发展和参与度”。大学世界新闻网是此次会议的合作媒体,因此能够事先了解到一些议题。


Hyperactive
极度活跃

The field of university rankings is bustling with activity. Global ranking systems are evolving quite rapidly and there are new rankings coming in, and off shoot rankings drawn from existing information such as those for Asia, Latin America and ‘young’ universities.

大学排名领域一直活动频繁。世界排名体系发展迅速,不时有新排名出现,现有排名中也有分支排名出现,比如亚洲、拉丁美洲和‘年轻’大学排名。

Many countries have national rankings and some – such as the United States – have numerous rankings across a range of indicators from research to cost to safety. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom and South Africa, have de facto rankings in the form of research assessments, and others such as Kenya are considering producing rankings. The European Union is supporting U-Multirank, a ranking that is everything to everyone.

许多国家有国家排名,而有些国家——比如美国——有各种类型的排名,这些排名依据一系列从科研水平到花费到安全性的指标。有些国家,例如英国和南非,有以科研评估为形式的事实排名(de facto rankings),还有一些如肯尼亚的国家正在考虑研发排名。欧盟正支持多维度全球大学排名(U-Multirank)的发展,这个排名致力于给每个人想要的一切。

Rankings, Wangenge-Ouma points out, are big business and lots of people want a piece of the pie. “So going forward, we’re going to see more and different kinds of rankings coming on to the scene and trying to distinguish themselves from existing rankings,” he told University World News.

Wangenge-Ouma指出,排名是大产业,许多人都想分一杯羹。“因此越往后发展,我们就会看到更多的和不同种类的排名产生,它们都想将自己和已有的排名区别开来,” Wangenge-Ouma对大学世界新闻网透露道。

“There are going to be a lot more rankings and more that are focused on particular areas or regions. We’re likely to see departments that have oversight of higher education institutions coming up with ranking systems.”

“将会有许多专门针对特定领域或地区的排名出现。我们可能会看到监管高等教育机构的部门随着排名体系而设立。”

There has been a lot of criticism of the main ranking systems for not considering country or regional specificities, or country policy thrusts that should keep higher education busy, or for focusing too heavily on research and on science fields.

有许多人批评主要的排名体系没有考虑到国家或地区的特性,或推动高等教育繁荣发展的国家政策推力,也有人批评排名体系太注重研究和科学领域。

The big players have made changes to their systems. For instance, QS won’t consider an article with more than 10 authors. The humanities are getting more attention and there are efforts to measure teaching and learning – which is important for regions like Africa where there is a strong focus on the training function of universities. There is a push for university engagement to be considered.

大的排名机构已经对其体系做出了调整。例如,QS不再将超过10名作者的文章列入参考。人文学科越来越受到重视,也有了衡量教学的举措——这对像非洲这样的地区是很重要的,因为这些地方很注重大学的人才培养功能。QS还致力于推动将大学参与度加入考虑之列。

“We’re seeing people coming up with all manner of things, claiming that they are trying to address the limitations of the current ranking systems. In certain instances they are making the whole thing unwieldy,” Wangenge-Ouma believes.

“我们会看到人们想出各种措施,表示他们正在努力着手填补目前排名系统的缺陷。然而在某些情况下,他们是弄巧成拙了,” Wangenge-Ouma认为。

There remains considerable resistance to university rankings, which are essentially hierarchical and thus never going to be satisfactory to all institutions, alongside widespread acceptance of their importance.

大学排名还是有很大的阻力,排名在本质上是分层级的,因此,和大众对其重要程度的普遍认可相比,不可能所有机构都对排名感到满意。

“Where hierarchy kicks in, people start saying: no, but you must understand that we’re only 10 years old; but you must understand that we are addressing government imperatives; but you must understand we are a social science-based institution; but you must understand that we don’t receive sufficient funding from government.”

“当把层级考虑在内时,人们就开始说:不行,你必须理解我们才建校10年;你必须理解我们注重的是政府命令;你必须理解我们是社科类大学;你必须理解政府没有给我们提供充足的资金。”

Taking advantage of rankings
利用排名

University ranking is like globalisation, says Wangenge-Ouma: “You cannot say you’re out of it because it sucks you in.” Universities are approached to provide data. “They say it is voluntary and it is OK if you don’t want to. You say ‘we don’t want to’. But when the ranking is released you see that you’re there.”

Wangenge-Ouma说,大学排名就像全球化,“你不能说你可以置身事外,因为它早已把你卷入其中。”大学开始提供数据。“它们说提不提供数据全凭自愿,如果你不想提供也是可以的。你可以说‘我们不想提供’,但排名公布的时候你却可以看到你在榜上。” 

The University of Pretoria has referenced a few rankings – Times Higher Education, QS, the Leiden University ranking produced by its Centre for Science and Technology Studies, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities. Institutions should decide for themselves which rankings to use.

比勒陀利亚大学参考了一些排名——THE、QS、莱顿大学科技研究中心发布的莱顿大学排名,以及上海交通大学的世界大学学术排名。大学应该自己决定该利用哪些排名。

“We reference these rankings to drive internal performance. The University of Pretoria has determined that it wants to be a leading research university. There are certain things we want to achieve. We use these ranking systems interalia to determine how we are doing.” For instance, how does the institution’s research in genetics compare with the best in the world?

“我们参考这些排名来推动内部工作。比勒陀利亚大学已经决定成为一所领先的研究型大学。我们想达成某些目标。我们特别利用这些排名系统来决定我们该怎么做。”例如,比勒陀利亚大学遗传学方面的研究怎样才能和世界顶尖的相匹敌?

“It helps us in making internal decisions, in terms of what we might need to do to improve our performance in certain areas.”

“为提高我们在特定领域的成绩,我们可能需要做出某些举措;在这方面参考排名有助于我们做出内部决定。”

Wangenge-Ouma argues that universities should relate to rankings vis-à-vis institutional objectives and national imperatives for higher education, “and not use a ranking as an end in itself, as a flag that you fly high up there when you appear in some ranking, and say ‘We’re the best in the world'.

Wangenge-Ouma说相对于机构目标和国家要求,大学应该与排名联系起来,“我们不应该只将排名作为一种目的,或者把它看做跻身排名前列的标志,并因此认为‘我们是世界上最棒的’”。

“Because people change the ranking criteria, so the following year you might not appear – and what do you say then? Has your quality suffered. Are you now a mediocre university?” 

“因为排名标准的改变,下一年你可能就不在榜上了——那么你会怎么想?你们的质量下降了吗?还是意味着你们现在变成了一所普通的大学?”

 The case of Africa

非洲的例子

Could Africa use university rankings in an innovative way?

非洲能以创新的形式利用大学排名吗?

“One hundred percent. I don’t believe in this idea of African exceptionalism. We're not doing this, we’re not doing that because of our colonial history, because we don’t have this, because we don’t have that.”

“百分百可以。我不相信非洲例外论。因为我们的殖民历史、我们没有如此种种条件,我们才没有和其他地方一样。”

Continental plans and declarations, such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and resolutions that came out of the African Higher Education Summit held in Dakar last March, aspire to enhance research on the continent. 

非洲大陆计划和申明,例如非洲联盟议程2063,是去年三月在达喀尔举办的非洲高等教育峰会上做出的决议,希望以此加速非洲大陆的科研发展。

Rankings, says Wangenge-Ouma, could play an important role, for instance in determining which universities have the wherewithal or concentration of capacity to set up centres of excellence. “Were cognise that we do not have sufficient resources, so why is everyone on the continent doing the same things with the little resources that they have?”

Wangenge-Ouma指出,排名扮演着重要的角色,比如决定哪些大学有必要资金和集中力量来建立卓越中心。“我们承认,我们没有充足的资源,那为什么我们每个人还要用这点有限的资源来做同样的事呢?”

Rankings can be used by universities not only at the institutional level but at the subject level to identify people who are doing exceptional things in their fields. “What might that mean for the rest of Africa in terms of enhancing science, support for postgraduate education or partnerships across the continent?”

大学可以利用排名来支持在其领域中杰出的人,这不仅可以用在机构层次上,也可以用在学科层次上。“在推动科学发展、支持硕士教育或非洲大陆的伙伴关系上,这对非洲来说意味着什么?”

Although only a few African universities are performing well in current rankings at the global level, “if you dig deep further down, you see there are very interesting things happening across the continent.

虽然只有很少一部分非洲大学能在目前世界排名中占得一席,“但如果你深入了解一下,你会发现在这片大陆上正在发生很多有趣的现象。”

“And so the question becomes, how do you optimise these things to enhance excellence – whether it is in teaching or research or community engagement – and draw lessons?”

“那么问题变成了,如何充分利用这些现象来加强卓越性——无论是在教学、科研或社会参与方面——并且以此为借鉴?”

An African university ranking system would be a useful tool, Wangenge-Ouma believes, but should not be approached from the point of view of exceptionalism – that Africa should have a different ranking system in order to avoid being compared against the best in the world. “We would be lying to ourselves."

Wangenge-Ouma相信,非洲大学排名系统将会是一个有用的工具,但是不能从例外论的角度想——即非洲应该有一个不同的排名系统,这样就不会与世界最强的做比较。“这是在自欺欺人。”

Universities are embedded at multiple levels –local, regional, national and international. “They have to keep an eye on these multiple levels of embeddedness and see how best to position themselves."

 大学嵌入在不同层次中——本土、地区、国家和国际。“他们必须盯紧这些不同层次的嵌入,看怎样才能找到适合自己的最好位置。”

Times Higher Education is developing an Africa university ranking based on its existing database.

泰晤士高等教育在现有数据基础上发展了一项非洲大学排名。

There are, says Wangenge-Ouma, also continental bodies that could produce an African ranking, such as the Association of African Universities, which has legitimacy and broad membership across all regions of the continent. The capacity to produce a ranking would have to be developed, perhaps with support from the African Union’s higher education desk.

Wangenge-Ouma说,也有一些非洲大陆机构可以研发出非洲排名,例如非洲大学联盟,它正当合法,在每个地区都有广泛的成员。如果有非洲联盟高等教育机构的支持,它或许也有制作排名的能力。

The Academic Ranking of World Universities is produced by a research unit at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and African rankings could also be produced by a strong African university.

世界大学学术排名是由上海交大的一个研究小组研发的,那么非洲排名也可以由一所有能力的非洲大学做出。

A differentiation point of view
差异化的观点

Considering the differentiated nature of higher education systems and the fact that universities (rightly) pursue different things, any ranking system should take into account that universities exist inparticular contexts and have particular niches and visions.

高等教育系统有区别性的本质,大学也(正确地)追求着不同的目标,考虑到此,任何排名系统都应该考虑到大学是立足于特定的环境中的,有独特的定位和视野。

“My position, from a differentiation and diversification point of view, is that universities occupy particular spaces in their societies and perform different roles across their regions. We can’t take just one of the roles, which is privileged across many ranking systems, and say you are only going to be considered a good university if you are doing this well.”

“我的立场是,从差异化和多样性的观点来看,大学在其社会中占据特殊地位,扮演不同角色。我们不能只考虑其中一个角色——而许多排名系统都是这样——不能说只有在这方面表现好你才能被称作是一所好大学。”

While knowledge is universal, Wangenge-Oumaargues, there are universities producing very context-specific knowledge that is, for instance, supporting subsistence farmers or being taken up immediately by communities.

Wangenge-Ouma表示,虽然知识是具有普遍性的,但也有大学提供有特定背景的知识,例如帮扶农民的知识,或者易于社区理解消化的知识。

“Ranking systems should acknowledge some of these things. What we’ve seen is universities running away from their areas of strength, and trying to do things that are privileged by the ranking systems, even though they don’t have the capacity to do them."

“排名系统应该了解这样的事。我们现在看到的是大学偏离了它们擅长的领域,而试图跟随排名系统偏好的方向发展,即使它们并没有这方面的能力。”

Humanities suffered drastically because of the rankings' emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Now that the QS ranking is including the humanities more – “a good thing in my view”, he says – some universities are once again supporting humanities.

人文学科受到了猛烈的打击,因为排名大多注重科学、技术、工程学和数学。既然QS排名正越来越将人文学科考虑在内——他说“在我看来这是件好事”——某些大学又要再次支持人文学科的发展了。

And that’s why Wangenge-Ouma wants rankings systems that are stable, recognise difference and context, and acknowledge multiple forms of excellence.

 这就是为什么Wangenge-Ouma希望排名系统能稳定,能意识到差异性和环境,并承认对卓越性的不同形式的表现的原因。

作者:Karen MacGregor

戴舒瑶 译介

(原文标题 “Value of rankings – A means for universities to improve “,载于《University World News》, 2016年2月27日,第402期)




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