In recent years there has been much discussion about ranking universities according to their contribution to teaching and learning rather than their research prowess. Times Higher Education (THE) has produced three rankings that it describes as teaching-focused for the USA, Europe and Japan.
The latest edition of the THE Japan University Rankings has just been published. One significant feature is that some international universities have fared badly because of falling scores for international students, finance per student, or courses taught in a language other than Japanese. These include Akita International University, International Christian University, and Kyoto University of Foreign Studies.
The methodology is based on 16 performance indicators grouped under five pillars:
- Resources, including finance per student, faculty-student ratio, publications, research grants, and mock university exam scores
- Engagement, based on surveys of students and high school advisors
- Outcomes, based on academic and employer reputation surveys
- Environment, including international staff, students, and exchange programmes, and courses taught in foreign languages.
At the top of these rankings, changes have been limited. The top five universities overall this year are:
- Tohoku University, Miyagi
- University of Tokyo
- Osaka University
- Tokyo Institute of technology
- Kyoto University.
The top universities in each of the four pillars are:
Resources; University of Tokyo
Engagement; Akita International university
Outcomes; Kyoto university
Environment; Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Oita.