Highlights — 20 October 2018 — by Courtney Menzies
UWI ranked among Times Higher Education’s top universities

ST. LUCIA, Fri. Oct. 12, 2018– The University of the West Indies (UWI) was included among the top universities listed in Times Higher Education’s (THE) World University Rankings. Today, UWI held a press briefing to discuss this accomplishment as well as what it means for the university’s strategic agenda.

UWI is the first and only Caribbean institution that has been listed in THE’s World University Rankings — being placed at the 591st spot out of the best 1,258 universities worldwide. Although UWI is a relatively young institution, being in existence for only 70 years, it has thus achieved a ranking in the top 5% of the over 2,500 recognized universities globally.

Professor Densil Williams, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Planning at UWI, emphasized that UWI’s ranking was not by chance, but rather a deliberate move that had been in the works for some years. UWI’s operations were guided by the objective to be recognized globally. In order to do this, the school devised their “Triple A” strategy, which stands for “Access, alignment, and agility.”

“Access” refers to widening access to the institution so that more persons are able to get a quality tertiary education. “Alignment” is a reference to an effort by UWI to align its initiatives and key objectives with the need to contribute significantly to the region and produce graduates to benefit the the region. Lastly, “agility” involves being nimble in accepting opportunities and engaging in global connections and possibilities.

Through this strategy, UWI was able to meet the threshold to be invited to be a part of the World University Rankings, along with 1,643 other schools, for the year 2019. After being invited, they were asked to provide data to show what they have been doing for the past 5+ years. This data was then analyzed and only 1,258 of the 1,643 schools were able to make the cut.

As mentioned before, UWI ranked at 591 out of 1,258 universities, which puts them in the top 5% of all the schools that were ranked. However, out of all the recognized universities globally, the ranking puts UWI in the top 3%.

THE, in determining the ranking, looked at five features of each university: teaching, research, influence of the research, industry income, and international outlook. The first three categories make up 90% of the universities’ scoring. In the third category, research influence, UWI scored in the top 30%, with a ranking of #370, and in the final category, international outlook, it scored in the top 10%, with a ranking of #290.

Professor Williams mentioned that, in reference to UWI’s international outlook, THE had commented that UWI had accomplished in a single decade what some universities take decades to do.

Professor Williams also said that, in light of this ranking, UWI will continue to aim for a higher ranking in the World University Rankings. To do this, UWI will begin to invest more in key educational and organizational resources. Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles has already approved the budgetary allocation in order for the university to acquire critical databases, critical dynamic models, and critical systems.

Williams predicts that in the next 2-3 years, UWI will rank in the top 2% of universities worldwide.

THE is the world’s most authoritative source of data, analysis and information on higher education, with 5 decades dedicated to the field.

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Deshawn Swasey

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