Marcel Winatschek's Tokyopunk


06/10/2015

I am pleased to start this week with the proud announcement of our achievement of being ranked in the Times Higher Education(THE) list of the world’s top universities.  This achievement marks our debut in the THE’s new ranking in the world’s top 800 universities. This is the result of committed focus on the part of QU leaders, deans, and faculty in addressing and targeting academic and research performance in line with international standards. As THE’s Editor Phil Baty noted, “based on this achievement, Qatar University is one of the elite 4 percent of higher education institutions in the world”.

 

Ranking as many of you know, is significantly impacted by faculty research output and publication in leading international journals. This measure is carefully assessed through bibliometric data, but also making your work known through other means such as sharing it in academic social networks, or presenting it in academic conferences are all factors in improving ranking by increasing QU’s international visibility. In light of this, I commend faculty successes in published works such as the recent study “Solar-powered devices from ultrathin carbon films”  by CAS Associate professor of the Materials Science Program Dr Ahmed Elzatahry featured in Nature Asia magazine in July this year.   I also congratulate the Public Health Program for being featured in  a recent piece in the US News and World Report. Nature and US News and World Report are brand-name publications, so to speak, with high readership and strong visibility but hundreds of faculty members continue to publish in high quality academic journals each week, and their work is equally commendable.

 

Such remarkable work increases our visibility, improves our reputation, and directly impacts our ranking.  Notably, in a table of Middle East universities published by THE earlier this year, based on Field-Weighted Citation Impact, QU featured in the top five institutions for the region. This indicator is directly affected by internationalization and we have strong evidence on our side that attests to our vibrant international outlook including the fact that we were at the top of the THE list of international outlook especially in terms of international collaboration in research.

 

We appreciate that maintaining a healthy balance between internationalization and localization in higher education is a delicate matter.  Internationalization has been one of the most pervasive forces within higher education during the last two decades. Today, internationalization touches directly on questions of social and curricular relevance, institutional quality and prestige, national competitiveness, and innovation potential. While offering tremendous opportunities and academic and cultural enrichment, internationalization presents new challenges including to the issue of cultural and national identity, social equity and others.  Striking the right balance between internationalization and localization is similar to striking a balance between academic standards and student expectations.  It is our view that ranking should not be at the expense of student focus and national priorities, and yet it is worthwhile to reach as far as we can on that agenda, without comprising these focus areas.

 

In our efforts to achieve this balance, initiatives that foster national identity are a core part of the QU strategy. A recent manifestation has been CAS MoU signing with the Center of Identity and Heritage, which again underlines our direction towards developing a niche of excellence in the humanities and Islamic studies.

This week, I look forward to meeting our students at the Meet the President event, the first in my tenure as QU President.  This is an important event that will help to bring our students into focus with developments and  changes at QU and similarly, provide me with an insight into their needs, expectations, concerns and aspirations.  I hope to see many students participating actively in the event and registering their names and sharing their concerns and questions online at http://www.qu.edu.qa/forms/stndal_meet_the_president.php