In May 2014, the University of Mons (UMONS) had the honour of being included in the first U-Multirank ranking, launched by the European Union. This tool has been designed to help compare universities around the world and is much more nuanced than “traditional” single score rankings that do not take into account the size of the institution. On the contrary, U-Multirank classes institutions based on diverse criteria (research, teaching and learning, international orientation, knowledge transfer and regional engagement) giving a “rank” from “A” to “E”», corresponding to a scale ranging from “very good” to “weak”.
The results of the 2nd Edition of U-Multirank were released on the 30th March 2015, and UMONS was once again awarded very good scores. The university is among the 12% of the 1200 higher education institutions evaluated which have a performance rating of “very good”, with more than 10 “A” scores.
UMONS is classed as “very good” or “good” for 19 of the 29 criteria chosen by U-Multirank which are applicable to the Belgian system of higher education. The university obtained 15 “A” scores and was rated as average or above average for almost 80% of the criteria (23 out of 29). Better still, if we consider the criteria that specifically take into account the size of the institution, for example, academic staff or student numbers, for 6 of the 8 criteria UMONS is classed as “very good”.
"This globally positive result is the fruit of our constant effort to improve quality" says the Rector Calogero Conti, who highlights the positive effect of U-Multirank. ‘We hope that an objective comparison of different aspects of European universities can be made easier thanks to this tool. In U-Multirank, we finally have a more nuanced comparison that has not been possible with traditional ranking systems. These traditional ranking systems rarely provide adequate indicators for judging a university and are more international marketing tools than real comparisons.’
Centred on the user, U-Multirank evaluates a number of aspects of university life: research, teaching and learning, international orientation, knowledge transfer, and regional engagement. It is an independent ranking system, which will be financed by the European Union for the first few years. This new performance comparison tool gives information on more than 1200 higher education establishments, 1800 faculties and 7500 study programmes, in 83 countries.
Quite the opposite to the U-Multirank philosophy, traditional rankings do not consider the qualities of medium sized universities enough, as the majority of the indicators that they take into account to establish a score are indicators which are mainly focused on research. This type of ranking favours larger institutions, as the evaluated ‘scientific productivity’ is not calculated with regard to the number of researchers. Therefore, it is generally more the prestige than the quality of work produced which is evaluated.
Furthermore, universities with well developed “human sciences” departments do not perform very well in these rankings as work in the human sciences domain is largely ignored (it does not feature in the Nature and Science journals nor in the categories for the Fields medal). What’s more, universities offering teaching missions and other services to the community are overlooked in single score rankings.
UMONS’ Strong Points according to U-Multirank 2015
UMONS’ points for improvement
For more information on U-Multirank, please click here, or visit the European Commission's page on U-Multirank.