THE recently published Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023, as well as its Latin America University Rankings four months ago, demonstrate the impressive international resilience of The University of the West Indies (The UWI).
These rankings illustrate how The UWI — after its 2018 international début in the top four per cent of the best universities in the world, then its meteoric rising in 2021 to the top 1.5 per cent — has consolidated its elite position during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and also amid a surge in the number of universities qualifying for the prestigious global assessment. The UWI remains the number one-ranked Caribbean university and has maintained its excellent position within the top one per cent of Latin America's finest.
The latest edition of the World University Rankings data shows that while having seen a slight downward adjustment in its overall score, The UWI maintained its relative position among the best-ranked universities globally, in spite of a considerable rise in the number of ranked universities in the 2023 iteration of the assessment.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Densil A Williams, The UWI's chief strategic planner, noted, "Despite the pandemic, which resulted in universities experiencing a fall in the number of graduates from doctoral degrees — a critical contributor to the ranking scores — The UWI was able to remain strong and ranked in the top 150 best universities in the world for research impact — an illustration of its international resilience. This is a feature that is necessary to sustain its excellence as the leading Caribbean university in the competitive global higher education sector."
The research influence or citations score captures the average number of times a university's published work is cited by scholars globally. The UWI performed impressively in this category while its scores remained relatively stable among the other indicators used in the Times Higher Education ranking, including teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); international outlook (staff, students and research); and industry income (knowledge transfer).
Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles noted, "The UWI has become a mentor and inspirational force for many emerging universities in search of respected global rankings. We are happy to perform this role and function and welcome the surge in universities now seeking international rankings. This is the context within which The UWI has consolidated its position and exemplified its resilience."
Beckles added, "We must commend our colleagues for their enhanced commitment to teaching, learning, and advocacy, and specifically their dedication to publishing cutting edge research in the best journals and other fora that has enabled the university to maintain its elite global standing. UWI scholars have further good reason to celebrate since the university surged to number three for its research citation index in Times Higher Education's Latin America rankings. This is an outstanding achievement given that there are over 2000 universities and research institutes in the Latin America and Caribbean region."