Wednesday, November 28, 2007

白做了!

到此較久的朋友應記得老頭曾連載升學權威iTxxHK老版主有關所謂大學排名榜、尤其對THES的非議。當然全文絕不止如此短,但因老頭近來事忙,故一直未有將餘下部份完成。


但撇除其他如交叉大學、US News等排名,至少THES部份是白做了!也是老頭眼拙,直到近日才發覺原來這英國「小報」對美帝國大學完全欠缺基本認識!簡直是做四年錯足四年!早知不用浪費如此多唇舌!

試打開2007年THES所謂世界大學排名,竟見:

38 – 密茲根大學 (University of Michigan)
73 – 伊利諾伊大學 (University of Illinois)
90 – 賓夕凡尼亞州州立大學 (Pennsylvania State University)
151 – 北卡羅萊立州大學 (University of North Caroline)
358 – 紐約市立大學系統 (CUNY)

(對照了首次2004年同一排名榜,以上如密茲根大學也是一般的錯,四年來全無改善!)

只要對美國大學制度稍有認識的朋友己可發現其荒謬處:以上所有「大學」根本並非一個體,而是三數所以至幾十所大學組成的一個聯盟!例如密茲根州的安阿伯分校、北卡羅萊納大學的教堂山分校雖然是其系統中的翹楚,然而安阿伯絕非等同密茲根、教堂山亦非北卡羅萊納中的整體,白馬是馬,但馬可不止白馬!

更無可抵賴的是,第22的加州大學柏克萊分校、第41的舊金山分校都被視為獨立學校,何以THES會對UC及UMich這兩個完全一樣的公立大學系統來過「歧視」?更莫說若密茲根、CUNY是一整體的話,巴黎大學、倫敦大學也應來個「攜手應戰」!

(更搞笑的是,THES將CUNY「合併」,但卻將附近的SUNY正確地分開,例如第224的石溪。)

與narius老叔叔在看其有關密茲根大學介紹時更是笑翻了我們這兩個老頭:連THES自己也清楚寫明UMich分成Ann Arbor及Dearborn分校(其實還有一Flint)!難怪老叔叔曰:「I am sure Dearborn students would be very happy about that」!

所謂「小報」雖然被視為內容、取向、探訪手法有點那個的報章,但亦有一「半官方」定義:採用比一般報章小一半的紙張。THES不但在尺寸上完全符合「小報」的定義,似乎連嚴謹程度亦與「小報」相差無幾!套用在香港,若「數字周刊」來個什麼世界大學排名(巧合的是THES也是一周一期),想來香港人也只會嗤之以鼻。但何以又會對這「英國壹仔」所做的排名榜如此推崇?是因為崇洋所以覺得即使只小報,總之是英國也是好的;還是因為名字中有個Times,便以為那是真正的泰晤士報/時報?

(順帶一提,昨日 - 2007年11月28日老頭以真名在某報章刊出了一篇類似內容、用字沒這此放肆的短文,一時眼訓誤將THES搞錯北京大學英文名的年份誤打成2003年,真殆羞萬古也!)

10 comments:

  1. THES is such a bad ranking

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  2. U of Michigan - Dearborn
    U of North Carolina - Charlotte
    U of California - Riverside
    U of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
    U of Illinois - Springfield
    U of Texas - Dallas

    嘩,好多名校

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  3. 溫馨提示:昨日 - 2007年11月28日老頭以真名在某報章刊出了一篇類似內容

    係2007年11月27日唔係28日呀呀呀...

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  4. I'm rather confused (and bemused) by your rebuttal of THES institutional labelling, especially the comment that "更莫說若密茲根、CUNY是一整體的話,巴黎大學、倫敦大學也應來個「攜手應戰」!"

    Whilst CUNY involves a system of 23 colleges and institutions, nevertheless it is considered (and indeed self-identified on its own web-site) as one overall university, which is hardly the same as comparing University College London (itself an educational insitution in its own right) even though it is still part of the bigger web of the University of London (see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/about-ucl/history/uol).

    I do take your point that treating "University of Michigan at Ann Arbor" as a unique institution in its own right would have been fairer and more consistent especially when UC Berkeley and UCLA etc are treated as independent insitutions in their own right.

    But is that criticism just ground for calling THES a "tabloid" newspaper that has nothing to do with the Times? Methinks you might be over-reaching a wee bit, to be honest. The clue is in the name, the Times Higher Education Supplement IS smaller in size purely because it is a SUPPLEMENT of the Times newspaper, but that in no way diminishes its broadsheet status in terms of quality of journalism. While its higher education rankings do leave much to be desired (my beef with it is far more to do with the validity of its scoring methodology than the mere confusion over a couple of US institutional labellings, however regrettable the latter mistakes were), but it does regularly publish thought-provoking pieces on the state of higher education in the UK/Europe, even if this may not be of interest (or indeed intelligble) to those educated on the other side of the pond.

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  5. 凡是研究、調查,methodology是一切根本,如果連methodology都可以大錯,即使名氣再大的機構做亦等同垃圾,更滑稽的是該消閒娛樂雜誌今年(2009年)終於有人提佢UNC唔係"一間"大學,但UMich就繼續錯,佢地既準則真係嚴謹得令人歎服(當然更令人歎服既係將咁嚴謹的"排名"放在頭版既大學)!

    (我都在NYC住過、身邊CUNY朋友多的是,與"同文同種"的SUNY人一樣會叫自己母校做水牛城、石溪等一樣,從來冇遇過將CUNY"合一"既講法 - 仲有睇樓上留帝派死肥仔兄既反應就知,佢都係帝國公立大學系統出身。)

    至於件野本身,again,雖然個名叫"Times Supplement",不過絕對唔係Times的supplement而係一份名字相似的獨立消閒雜誌,有關詳情請參閱 http://dodderer.blogspot.com/2007/05/blog-post_8996.html

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  6. Thanks for your reply old Dodderer :) And for your link to your previous post on THES. Let me declare that my understanding of THES stemmed from my subscription to the Times newspapers from 1990 to 1999, in which it had always been included as a supplement to the Sunday Times. (After 2001 I switched to reading the Guardian rather the Times, as I couldn't stomach the latter's conservative bias). THES belonged (was going to write "belongs" until a quick wikipedia search told me it was sold in 2005) to News International Corp. - i.e. it was a Murdoch rag until very recently. If Sunday Times is also considered the same as the Times newspapers, even though the latter has become a tabloid in format while the former remains a broadsheet, then it would not be erroneous to consider THES as part of the Times family of publications, even if (again a quick internet search shows that) it very recently began to be published as a magazine in its own right.

    Thus I'm sorry to be so blunt, but anyone who is in any way familiar with both THES and Next Magazine would simply scoff at the idea that they are in any way similar 消閒雜誌!

    As for the THES rankings itself, I already said that I considered its methodology faulty and thus the rankings untrustworthy. If you have used this as the grounds for criticism in the post above, I would have applauded you. But to deride the rankings purely on the basis that it got CUNY and Michigan wrong... again, as I said, I do think you're over-reaching there a wee bit.

    Also, another declaration: I too had lived in New York and while I had SUNY friends who self-identified as studying at Stonybrook or at Buffalo, I have never heard the same from CUNY people. More importantly, in academic conferences, CUNY researchers self-identified as from CUNY rather than from one of its constituent colleges. I think this is far more important for the purpose of university rankings than the historical institutional arrangement of the US public universities. (If you need an Irish example, it would be like someone considering the National University of Ireland as one institution even though to all intents and purposes NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth are completely distinct educational institutions with their own distinct educational ethos and research traditions).

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  7. Snowdrops兄:咁你既朋友或者比較...特別了;不過佢地個人點都好,CUNY/UMich體制上同帝國其他公立大學系統一樣係分校計而非"整體"亦在帝國近乎常識相信你唔會有太大異議吧?更搞笑的是今年佢終於發覺UNC唔係"一間"學校(足足錯左幾年)、吾友Reaper兄更常挖苦有關消閒娛樂雜誌連"Beijing University"都可以畀人投票 - 唔好當係小事,以所謂大學排名研究而言一個根本性大錯已經唔可以接受,而且佢稱得上錯得離譜既唔止一個;

    關於消閒娛樂雜誌、尤其所謂"英國壹仔"e個稱呼,後來我地在Discuss升學版都發覺唔係好對路:記得楊懷康在壹週刊好似都有提過UNC,佢從來冇犯過如此基本既錯誤,的確唔應該太侮辱壹仔,畢竟壹仔在有關範疇上的專業水平遠非THES可以比得上;

    另有查理先生在另一帖中對布關數字有詳細分析,或Snowdrops兄亦可參閱:

    http://dodderer.blogspot.com/2009/12/blog-post_22.html

    最後...好怕睇咁大段英文呀! XD

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  8. Thanks old Dodderer for indulging me in this little debate. But first things first, I'm a woman, and a feminist to boot, and so I don't feel comfortable being addressed as a brother, even though I appreciate that this was the formal polite address in traditional (read patriarchal) Chinese society :)

    I think our differences of opinions stem largely from whether you're approaching the rankings as a postgrad (or "graduate" in US speak) or undergrad perspective. Honestly the CUNY people I met at international conferences in my field never bothered with if they were from Brooklyn or Hunter or City (not sure if they have any graduate programs there to be honest and don't really want to spend New Year's Eve to fact-check), but I can appreciate that, to someone who's just trying to suss out which university to apply to do a Bachelor's, it makes sense for the rankings to remain faithful to the institutional sub-divisions of US public universities. But to be honest, to me that just smacks of US parochialism, nothing more.

    As for THES rankings, I really don't want to be portrayed as their defender here (however convenient that might be for your rhetorical purposes). I do want to defend THES as a publication, as should have been evident from my very first comment here. Whether you think THES rankings reflect the quality of journalism for THE as a whole is really a matter of your own opinion, but I'd suggest you try to read some THE articles before jumping to conclusions. (To be honest, my memory of THES stemmed from the 90's, and its quality may have gone downhill since, so if after reading the actual THE articles you still consider it to be on the same shite level as Next, well, at least then you would have formed an INFORMED opinion of the publication as whole, rather than taking pot-shots on the basis of the rankings which I reckon is something they produce to try to survive as an independent magazine outside of the Murdoch fold).

    I was going to apologise for the length of this comment or even for using English, and then I thought, Feck it! Aren't Hong Kongers meant to be comfortably bilingual? Especially for some-one meant to be well-versed in higher education in Western countries?

    But I do take you cue and so this would be my last comment you'd have to read here. Again thanks for indulging me in this little debate on your blog.

    Happy 2010 btw!

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  9. Oops, should have substituted the phrase "some gimmick" instead of just "something" in the last line of the third para.

    This really would be my last comment, sorry!

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  10. Snowdrops前輩:我睇英文真是不一般的眼花... @@

    只想講一句:你對THES的好印象可能真是被"Times"一字誤導了...到今時今日小弟久不久都有看真正的Times,其質素絕不見得有什麼下降,但不止於THES自己都講佢已經與Times沒關係,兩者的嚴謹程度簡直是差天共地:就以統計而論,methodology不一致已經可以直接投籃;

    但都歡迎前輩有空指教,立場相反沒所謂,有沖擊才有啟發,另祝一句happy new year!

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