The Rise of Global ‘World Class’ Universities; Can There be Stanfords and Harvards Everywhere?

From my preliminary research, its appears there are many high impact student entrepreneurs coming out of leading research universities. A recent study from the World Bank, “The Road to Academic Excellence: the Making of World Class Universities” has garnered much attention as most policy leaders globally believe research universities are the key to growth in today and tomorrow’s economies.

A commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education by the authors of the World Bank study, Jamil Salmi and Philip G. Altbach:

A recent global study of patents shows, for example, that universities and research institutions are now driving more scientific strides in biotechnology than are private companies. Add to this the fact that the new world-class universities, whether in Chile, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, and the United States, also serve as hubs for new thinking in the humanities and social sciences.

For these reasons and more, it would be tempting for poor and middle-income countries to think that a top-flight research institution is all that stands in their way of reducing poverty, leaping forward in their national development, and establishing profitable new footholds in the global economy.

But this decision cannot be simply tactical. It must be a long-term strategic decision that aspiring countries take, weighing all the facts, while banishing any notion of fast results. A new World Bank study, “The Road to Academic Excellence: the Making of World Class Universities,” charts the experience of 11 leading public and private research universities in nine countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. It concludes that top performers in this rarified world share common characteristics, without which 21st-century universities cannot hope to survive, let alone excel.

Three factors distinguish elite international universities from their competitors, namely: a high concentration of talented academics and students; significant budgets; and strategic vision and leadership.

I look forward to reading this study and seeing how it compares to Slosson, Flexner, Kerr, and Rudolph’s findings on the rise of world class universities.

via New ‘World Class’ Universities: Cutting Through the Hype – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education.


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