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The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa hosted an international university rankings symposium, which brought together chief data strategists and ranking managers from four of the most well-known international rankings. The event attracted more than 200 participants from 90 universities in five continents, and many from UH also took this opportunity to learn how to better understand and use the rankings. The two-hour symposium on March 25 was organized by the Mānoa Institutional Research Office (MIRO).

The symposium featured two sections:

  • “Understanding university rankings in a pandemic era” involved leaders from four of the most popular international rankings organizations—U.S. News and World Report, Times Higher Education, Shanghai Ranking Consultancy and Quacquarelli Symonds. They introduced their rankings’ foci, methodology and trends in the higher education landscape as reflected in their rankings—especially during challenging times in the midst of a global pandemic. This was followed by a Q&A session from the attendees about how rankings can be used by universities, how rankings will adjust to the changes in admission requirements and how to communicate rankings information with prospective students.
  • MIRO’s strategies for tracking, sharing and using ranking information” featured MIRO’s staff sharing its strategies to help UH understand and use ranking information. MIRO demonstrated its ranking web page and the ranking tracking tool that MIRO developed to easily locate ranking information for marketing, recruitment and student/community engagement initiatives. The UH Office of Communications also shared its collaboration with MIRO to produce ranking stories.

m i r o virtual symposium logo

MIRO is committed to help UH Mānoa and the general public make better use of our university’s rankings through easier access to timely and quality ranking information,” MIRO Director Yang Zhang said. “We will also continuously make efforts to improve understanding between higher education institutions and major ranking agencies.”

“Recognition from major international rankings is important to us at UH Mānoa, because it recognizes the extraordinary talent and achievements of our faculty and students, and reaffirms our stature as belonging among the very best in the world,” UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno said. “I hope that our UH Mānoa community will build upon the momentum created by the symposium and will fully utilize the major international rankings in order to showcase UH Mānoa’s world class academic programs and research strength across so many disciplines.”

Rankings and international student recruitment

Moto Tomita, UH Mānoa regional director for international recruitment, attended the symposium. He regularly uses rankings information in his work with the Office of Admissions.

“In the age of extensive access to any university around the world, impressive rankings and stellar program reputations can greatly influence both undergraduate and graduate applicants to select a particular institution over others,” Tomita said. “International recruitment is highly competitive and should be attended to with the utmost care and follow-through.”

UH Mānoa’s collaboration with major ranking organizations

Mānoa Institutional Research Office has been a leader in the institutional research community in the field of rankings.
—Robert Morse, U.S. News and World Report chief data strategist

The ranking symposium is a continuation of MIRO’s collaboration with major international rankings organizations over the course of a few years.

“Mānoa Institutional Research Office has been a leader in the institutional research community in the field of rankings—communicating all of the issues that relate to both national and global rankings to stakeholders at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa who need to be informed, and bringing rankers to communicate with higher education institutions through the institutional research conferences and the virtual symposium,” said Robert Morse, U.S. News and World Report chief data strategist.

For more information about the symposium and UH Mānoa’s rankings, visit MIRO’s rankings symposium webpage, MIRO’s ranking webpage and see MIRO’s 2020 rankings summary report (PDF).

This event is an example of UH Mānoa’s goals of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF) and Enhancing Student Success (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

By Marc Arakaki

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