One year after hitting the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, the University of the West Indies (UWI) has climbed to a spot in the top four percent of the best universities in the world.
At a media conference hosted at UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados last week Vice-Chancellor, of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles announced that the regional University had climbed the rankings, following its debut last year.
Not only has UWI retained its position as the number one ranked university in the region, in the Latin America and Caribbean region, it also moved from the top three per cent to the top two per cent. The scores for its global rankings show that it moved from the top five per cent to the top four per cent of ranked universities.
“This upward trajectory into the top four per cent of the world’s best universities reflects the extraordinary effort of the management team and the UWI family to honour the pledge within the strategic plan to be an excellent global university rooted in the Caribbean”, Beckles said in a press release.
Beckles also declared: “it is the intention of the University to be located in the top three per cent of ranked universities by the end of the current strategic planning cycle in 2023.”
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings provide the definitive list of the world's best universities, evaluated across teaching, research, international outlook, reputation and more.
Following its positive results last year, the university moved to strengthen its competitive position in key areas, particularly in enhancing the international recognition of its published research, which is reflected in recognised global research citation indices.
The evidence of UWI’s enhanced global visibility is found in key areas such as its leadership and participation in international projects.
Additionally, its concerted efforts to expand and deepen industry-academic partnerships was noted.
“The university has experienced a considerable rise in self-confidence since participating in these global rankings,” Vice-Chancellor Beckles said.
He further noted that the university has an excellent executive management team, and is focused on sustaining its reputation revolution while demonstrating daily proof of greater efficiency and public accountability.
He expressed gratitude to project leader, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Densil Williams and his technical team, and all members of the community who actively participated in the data gathering focused on implementation schedules and framed the dialogue associated with rankings as a tool of performance measurement.
Describing the ranking process, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Williams made the comparison that for the 2019 World University Rankings, there were 1,258 universities on the list, (UWI placed at 591), while for the 2020 World University Rankings 1,397 universities made the list (UWI came in at 571).
“The UWI has moved significantly up the trajectory,” he said. He further noted that the university has seen significant movement in all THE’s criteria of teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook.
Importantly, the regional university which is much smaller and less-resourced than many of its competitors on the list received very high scores for ‘citations’ and ‘international outlook’ placing it among the top 75 percentile of universities across the globe in those criteria.
“I am very confident,” he stated, “that going forward The UWI will see better days. And given what we now know about our global University, and the quality of work that we have been doing, I expect us to continue to rise in the near future.”
Recently appointed University Registrar, Dr Maurice Smith, who served as Chair of the media conference last week commented that the THE’s rankings have “placed us alongside the wealthiest and the best in some of the biggest countries across the globe”.
He added, “The rankings show how we have been aligning ourselves with our strategic mission to radically transform and improve The UWI’s regional and international academic standing as an excellent global university that is rooted in the Caribbean.”
In 2016, UWI rolled out its five-year strategic plan (2017-2022) built upon three pillars — Access to tertiary education, Alignment with partners and stakeholders, and Agility in the effort. Under the theme, "Revitalizing Caribbean Development", this plan mobilizes the University to “rekindle and sustain Caribbean Development.”
UWI appears in the World University Rankings 2020 which includes almost 1,400 universities across 92 countries and is still the only Caribbean University on the prestigious list.