MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXIII No. 4
March / April 2011
Protecting Education in America
The Contributions of Institutions Such As
MIT to a Knowledge-Based Economy
Reinventing and Sustaining the
Faculty of the Future
Departmental Discussions of Diversity
and Inclusion
Practical Considerations for the Involvement of Graduate Students in MIT’s International Engagements
The Roadmap to the Future of MIT’s
Student Information System
Free Market Apocalypse: Safeguarding the World from Large Disasters
About DSpace@MIT
Disappointed in NRC Rankings Prominence
MIT 3rd in World University Rankings
U.S. News & World Report:
Top 10 Graduate Engineering Schools
U.S. News & World Report:
Top 10 Graduate Business Schools
Printable Version


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.

John Guttag
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.

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