Western’s stars align in latest QS rankings

Western has been awarded Five Stars by the QS Stars audit, authored by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), publishers of the QS World University Rankings.

The university achieved the top rating in seven of eight categories, including Teaching, Employability, Research, Internationalization, Facilities, Innovation and Access. Western received a four-star rating in Specialist Subjects (social sciences and management).

The QS Stars system offers students a wider look at an institution, reflecting the needs of students who may be interested in things beyond the traditional ranking markers. Accreditation looks at 51 different areas and awards universities between one and five-plus stars over eight wider fields, as well as an overall rating.

“A star rating assesses institutional performance in greater detail than can feasibly be accommodated in ranking results,” stated Ben Sowter, who heads the QS Intelligence Unit. “It can encourage users and readers to understand that ranking results ought to be analyzed and contextualized rather than simply taken at face value. It can also provide additional important information that may be used by prospective students during the earliest stages of the decision-making process for university applications.”

According to QS, a five-star institution must be world-class in a broad range of areas, enjoy an excellent reputation and have cutting-edge facilities and internationally renowned research and teaching faculty.

In September, Western found itself ranked No. 173 in the 2012-13 QS World University Rankings of the top 200 global universities. That number is down from No. 157 in 2011-12. In these recent stars rankings, however, Western found itself among the leaders.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ranked the top school in 2012-13, received a Five Star Plus rating. Cambridge University and Harvard University, ranked second and third, receiving Five Star ratings each.

Thus far, only one other Canadian institution has participated in the QS Stars audit. The University of Montreal, ranked No. 114 in 2012-13, received a Five Star Plus rating.

More than 110 institutions have been rated thus far; 40 were awarded a Five Star or Five Star Plus rating.