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 slugreportSLUG REPORT > UCSC named seventh best university under 50 years old

UC Santa Cruz recently placed seventh on a list of the top 100 public and private international universities younger than 50 years old.

The UK-based list, titled the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50, aims to identify the rising stars of the new global university system. Of the 100 universities listed, only two U.S.-based universities (UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz, both established in 1965) placed in the top 10, with East Asian countries dominating the list (South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology snagged the top spot).

According to a report by Phil Baty written for Times Higher Education, the selection had specific aims in mind.

“The analysis is about a new breed of global universities—those that have already managed to join the world’s top table in a matter of years, not centuries, and others showing great promise, institutions that could reach the top, in time,” says Baty’s report.

UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal sees the school’s ascent as natural, and a reflection of recent reports placing UCSC at or near the top of world research impact rankings.

“It proves what I’ve often said: UC Santa Cruz continues on an upward trajectory,” says Blumenthal.

The criteria used to rank the universities are largely the same as those used by Times Higher Education for their annual international university rankings (such rankings are predictably dominated by venerable British and American institutions like Harvard and Oxford). But an important change was made for the 100 Under 50 rankings: the importance of subjective indicators of academic prestige (e.g., extensive alumni networks) was greatly reduced, from one-third of the score to one-fifth.

“It was agreed that an analysis of younger institutions, designed to examine future potential as much as current excellence and to move away from heritage or legacy, should be based more on hard, objective performance indicators,” said a Times Higher Education Report that explained their ranking methods.

In a February 2012 article for the site Inside Higher Education, Daniel Lincoln, a visiting scholar at the Centre for International Higher Education, has this to say: “Picture the year 1640. You are an educated, upper class Englishman, having a hearty laugh with your mates in London at the news that those religious fanatics in the colonies have now ‘founded’ their own university in Boston, led by the benefaction for a certain John Harvard—priceless. A few generations later, I’m guessing no one was laughing.”

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