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MU enters THE World University Rankings 2023

Article by: Alexandra Isabelle G. Delavin and Robert Kobe T. Garcia

Graphics by: Cassius Klai C. Francisco

Last October 12, Mapúa University (MU) made its debut in Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2023, securing a spot in the 1501+ bracket with an overall score of 10.4-18.3 out of 1,799 participating universities from 104 countries and regions.

The Root of Progress

In an interview with MU President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea about the University’s recent feat, he shared that it has always been the University’s goal to become a global center of excellence in education using state-of-the-art delivery of courses as part of its vision in 2010. Nonetheless, the preparation had started way back when MU was still known as Mapúa Institute of Technology. 

In order to be considered in THE’s rankings, Dr. Vea noted that MU had to first obtain university status. Hence, MU developed an outcome-based education system. This shift led to the accreditation of 11 programs in the field of architecture and engineering evaluated by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in 2010. Following this, MU offered more programs and reiterated its goal to remain research-driven. In 2017, the school was granted its university status by the Commission on Higher Education. “Without preparation for ABET, we would not have the confidence to go for [the] global center of excellence in education in general and the university status,” MU President and CEO added.

Following this, the University was assessed by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), an international agency that evaluates based on specific criteria. Under the QS Intelligence Unit’s QS Star Rating System, MU attained a QS 3-star rating in 2017 and climbed up to a 4-star rating in 2020. 

Additionally, Dr. Vea noted that THE assessed the University based on its Impact Ranking wherein the University ranked 601+ in the same year. However, he also emphasized that it was the University’s focus on being research-driven that led its way to the world rankings as there was an increase in the number of research publications of the school. 

The Branch to Success

Stressing the significance of the University being one of the best universities on a global scale, Dr. Vea stated that the stamp of quality they have received “can be used by students, the school, in whatever dealings it will have with the outside world.” 

In compliance, MU had to meet three key requirements to be considered, which included teaching undergraduates, working across a range of subjects, and publishing at least 1,000 Scopus-indexed papers over the course of five years, which underwent evaluation by Elsevier, a Netherlands-based publication company. As shared by the MU President and CEO, the University surpassed this after producing around twice the required number of Scopus papers in the past five years, which became a substantial factor in the University’s entry into the prestigious list. It published 1,694 Scopus-indexed research papers since 2017.

With this, MU was ranked second in the country for research with a score of 13.5. Additionally, the University garnered 13.8 points in teaching, 8.5 in citations, 36.9 in industry income, and 16.9 in international outlook. It ranked in five key pillars, namely Research (#1139), Citations (#1703), Industry Income (#1716), Teaching (#1757), and International Outlook (#1771). 

In the teaching pillar, the University was evaluated based on the number of bachelor’s and doctorate degrees awarded, the teaching reputation, the institutional income of the academic staff, and the student-to-academic staff ratio. As for the primary criteria used in the research pillar, the requirements considered were the number of publications per staff, the research income-to-academic staff, and the research reputation. In the citation pillar, this considered the number of citations by other researchers. The industry income-to-academic staff ratio is the primary basis for the industry income pillar. Lastly, the international outlook pillar examines the number of international academic staff, the co-authorship of papers, and the number of international students present in the school.

Aside from the overall ranking, the University also ranked in three subject areas, namely Computer Science (801+), Engineering (1001+), and Physical Sciences (1001+). Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Lilibeth D. Sabino shared that there is a subject ranking differentiation. Similar to the overall ranking, the subject areas’ evaluation also revolved around the five pillars, with the same range of 13 performance indicators. However, the evaluation for each subject ranking was slightly altered, with each indicator’s weighing changed depending on how much it suits each individual field.

Fruits of Labor

Dr. Vea affirmed the University’s commitment to being a global and digital university, noting that being the only school in the Philippines with the ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System) certification. This certification solidifies its role in THE Impact Ranking and the fight against climate change and the promotion of environmental health. “When we say we are a global and digital university for people and planet, it’s not just a slogan,” he noted. 

Having achieved the University’s vision of being among the best universities in the world, Dr. Vea believed that there is still room for improvement. He further elaborated that research citations are a major area in improving the ranking. With this, Dr. Vea urged Mapúans to be active in international collaborations with other universities. “If you’re with the group doing research on nanotechnology, on porcelain or something like that… you’ll tend to cite one other’s work… And that’s how the profession advances actually – by working collaboratively and looking at each other’s work,” he said.

Still, the University’s President and CEO expressed his utmost gratitude to the students who made the prestigious achievement possible. Envisioning the next step, Dr. Vea stated that they aim to improve MU’s ranking. “…We broke in and now we have to climb in the rankings,” he remarked.

MU is among the four Philippine universities included in the rankings along with Ateneo De Manila University (#351-400), University of the Philippines (#801-1000), and De La Salle University (#1201-1500). 

Driven to excel more in the field, MU continued to gain recognition as the University joined the QS Asia University Rankings 2023  for the fifth consecutive time, clinching a spot in the 551-600 bracket. It is tied with Ateneo de Davao University and Siliman University on the Top 5-7 in the country. Other Philippine universities, namely the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and University of Santo Tomas also joined the rankings.

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