Are we still talking about university world ranking? Not done yet? I saw two letters written by my USM colleagues in The Star and Sun newspapers. I thought they were rather sarcastic, praising UM, yet being defensive about people who don't want to play the game. Enough of that?
Ah, but we can't get enough of being ranked or rated. Even sustainable campus efforts are getting rated. That's why I am seeing STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System), an effort in North America to rate all the public universities (they call it endowed universities) according to a set of sustainability criteria. Guess what? Harvard still came up in the Top 10! The big difference in this is that they are totally (?) transparent. All details submitted by the universities in the survey form are published on the website. No, it does not insist on an external audit as yet. The criteria seems quite clear, though there are some who dispute how points are given. For instance, should hybrid vehicles be awarded points under alternative fuel? It is not a ranking system, but a rating system. So, no university can really claim to be in what top position on top of who.
I believe their main intention is to push all public universities to become "sustainable" by publicly showing where each of them stand. Can universities opt out? I believe so. Private universities can opt in, but they have to pay for the cost of the survey (not much, about $700).
The big question of course it whether all those criteria actually measure sustainability. It's essentially still a numbers game. And I am still cracking my head how USM can stand apart. Not that we want to be different. But to make a difference.