University of Auckland tops world rankings

The University of Auckland has been ranked Number 1 in the world in the inaugural Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings.

The new global ranking measures how well institutions are delivering on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals – which include providing inclusive and equitable quality education, achieving gender equality and fostering innovation – were adopted by the UN in 2016 and provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way.

Phil Baty, THE’s editorial director of global rankings, says the new ranking is the first global attempt to measure the broader impact of universities and provides a showcase for the work being delivered by universities within communities, demonstrating the differences they can make to the world.

Some of the metrics for the Impact Rankings include the number of graduates in health professions, the proportion of women in senior academic positions and policies and practices regarding employment security. All universities in the world were invited to submit data, and five hundred were ranked.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon says he is delighted the University’s work in this area has been acknowledged internationally.

“I’m proud that policies that are entrenched within the way this university operates have been recognised, particularly across areas of equity, of staff and student wellness, and in our academic programmes including in health-related fields.

“We are fortunate we operate in a legislative environment established by successive New Zealand governments that supports these workplace practices. On top of this sits our own solid and innovative work that aligns with the UN goals and which is carried out across the University. Some of this is initiated in areas such as our Equity Office and across Pro Vice-Chancellor portfolios, and there is shared implementation with faculties and divisions such as Campus Life. Our policies are adhered to – we walk the talk.”

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were developed and agreed to by 194 nation states, providing an internationally recognised framework for achieving sustainable development.

“Universities have an important role to play in generating the knowledge and capacity necessary to achieve these objectives,“ Professor McCutcheon says. “Correspondingly, they are valuable to universities because they enable us to frame our research, teaching, operations, capacity building, networks and partnerships in a way that enables the contributions we make to be universally recognised and understood.”

The Vice-Chancellor says the introduction of the Impact Rankings helps demonstrate how relevant universities are.

“This is an outstanding result for the University of Auckland because it recognises our commitment to sustainability and making a positive social impact.”

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