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March 20, 2013 3:51 PM College Ranking “Professionals”

By Daniel Luzer

The United States isn’t the only place obsessed with college rankings. According to a piece by Andrew Trounson at The Australian:

Some Australian universities are paying about $100,000 a year each to employ full-time managers dedicated to working with ranking agencies and developing strategies aimed at climbing league tables.
The University of New South Wales recently advertised for a manager of strategic reputation, while La Trobe University was seeking a manager of institutional rankings. For $100,000, responsibilities included maintaining relationships with ranking agencies to “maximize” or “optimize” their positions in rankings.
Observers say such positions highlight the growing importance of rankings in influencing research and teaching plans. But there are concerns that the professionalized management of rankings risks warping university strategies and may prove more a marketing effort than an effort to boost the substance of an institution’s performance.

Yes, that is exactly what a focus on rankings will do. Just any American college administrator about how college rankings work and what steps the universities take to improve their position on various lists.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer