CWRU signage outside of Adelbert Hall in fall

CWRU makes gains in global rankings

A campuswide effort to improve Case Western Reserve’s global rankings continued to make progress across multiple publications this year—including the world’s two most influential lists.

The university came in at 119th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, a jump of 13 positions over last year—and 37 slots over 2017. Meanwhile, the QS World University Rankings saw the university leap 19 spots over last year to reach 167th—which also marked a 46-position gain over the past two years.

“These findings show that Case Western Reserve is a global, high-impact university,” said Molly Watkins, the university’s assistant provost for international affairs and leader of the global rankings effort.

While those two measures incorporate a wide range of metrics—including a sizable emphasis on reputation—the university also has demonstrated significant improvement in rankings that involve only objective criteria. Earlier this month, for example, Reuters’ annual listing of the World’s Most Innovative Universities saw Case Western Reserve climb to 47th, a position 20 spots higher than last year and 38 positions higher than in 2016.

Reuters’ methodology includes such factors as total number of patents filed over a five-year period, the percentage of those filings that result in patents, and how often an institution’s academic papers are cited in patent filings. Between 2016 and 2019, for example, the figure for patents filed climbed by one-third, while the success rate increased by one-quarter.

The university also performed strongly in this year’s global Leiden rankings, which evaluate scientific performance based on factors including the number of publications and frequency of citations. This year’s results—based on publications from 2014 through 2017—put Case Western Reserve at 60th overall, three positions behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and three ahead of the University of California at San Francisco. When the field is narrowed only to institutions in the U.S., CWRU stood at 24th, ahead of New York University (30th), Washington University in St. Louis (31st), Vanderbilt (35th) and Emory (36th). 

When the Leiden rankings field is narrowed to include only biomedical and health sciences, Case Western Reserve stands 10th in the world, two positions behind the University of Pittsburgh and trailed by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston—which includes the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center—at 12th,  Stanford (17th), and Duke (18th). Among U.S. institutions in this category, CWRU ranks 7th.

As impressive as these Leiden results are, they would not have been even close to possible without the university’s international rankings effort that Vice Provost for International Affairs David Fleshler and Vice Provost and University Librarian Arnold Hirshon launched in 2016. Two years ago, for example, CWRU’s Leiden global scientific ranking was 143rd, and biomedical and health sciences position 62nd. The dramatic improvement came as a result of the work of staff at the Kelvin Smith Library to ensure the accuracy of data relating to faculty citations—which in turn was catalyzed by guidance from a consultant the two engaged with support from the offices of the president and provost. Among other recommendations, he urged close attention to the information submitted and/or considered for various rankings—bibliometric factors among them.

As the initiative continues, Watkins emphasized the importance of sharing Case Western Reserve’s achievements to global audiences, engaging in additional research collaborations, and continuing to ensure the university submits the most current and accurate information to ratings organizations. 

The results of another global ranking released this month underscores her point. U.S. News & World Report, perhaps best known for undergraduate rankings in the U.S., added its own global university measure in 2014. It includes a range of criteria including academic and research reputational survey results, publications and their citations, and international collaboration. This year university fell three slots to 155th in that list.