Disappointed in NRC Rankings Prominence
To The Faculty Newsletter:
I was disappointed to see the NRC rankings data given prominence in the recent Faculty Newsletter. There is widespread agreement that the study was deeply flawed in many respects. I think that seeming to crow about the results is in poor taste. If MIT had looked bad, we would surely be complaining (appropriately) about the way the study was conducted.
Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science
Editor's Note: The following is from the NRC [National Research Council] Website.
Assessment of Research Doctorate Programs
Revised March 9, 2011
NRC Response to University Comments of Ranking Data will Appear Shortly
The NRC has been reviewing each of the 453 comments and suggestions that it received in response to the release of its doctoral programs in late September.
Changes will be made in three principal areas:
1. Awards and honors. We discovered cases where these were undercounted. We have corrected these.
2. Citations. The NRC made an error in entering the 2002 citations. As a result, there will be slight changes in this measure for all programs except those in the humanities.
3. The academic placement measure. A few institutions had low response rates for this measure, which was derived from NSF data. To be fair to them, we have recalculated this measure so that the denominator is the number of respondents, not the total number of PhDs.
We will recalculate the ranges of rankings given these changes and a few other changes where the data sent to the NRC were incorrectly entered. These recalculations will result in some changes to the ranges of rankings. Other comments reflected disagreement with or misunderstanding of the NRC methodology. Our response to these comments will be to
suggest that the programs refer users of the NRC worksheet to their program website, where they may present what they feel is the correct data and may present updated data. The recalculations will be posted by early April.