Reputation is everything they say. Reputation matters because public education fails.
One of my earlier career was working in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor in communication research, and that involved analysing the results of The Times Higher Education various rankings. The Office never put much weight on the accuracy of any university rankings. It was a reputational game, but as reputation it mattered.
You could cut cake any way you wanted, and most academics knew the gameplay being deployed. In Australia, The University of Melbourne, where I worked, usually was ranked first or second to the Australian National University. The University of Queensland usually ranked fourth, but doing better in the medical research field. The point here is that without specific knowledge of a higher education field, members of the public only had reputation.
The rankings do not tell the reader the information on the precise field of studies each may wish to engage: course themes and topics, the reputational work of the specialist researchers, and the skills of the teachers. The idea of rankings is competition, and this is where the stupidity sets in. Education is not competition. In competition there is a first, second, third, etc. Education never works like that for comprehension. Reductive-thinking economists are stupid in their competitive obsession.
The fields of History-Philosophy-Theology demonstrates that point well. Is there any rational legitimisation for putting one precise field of studies over another? No. It is all a matter of personal preference in career ambitions.
Image: The Intellectual Arches of Queensland (left) and Melbourne (right) Universities
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