FOR THE fifth consecutive year, UST failed to gain a spot in the Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) worldwide subject rankings, left behind by University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle University.

UP ranked in four subjects, down from last year’s 11 subjects. The state university placed in the 101-150 bracket for English and Literature, 151-200 for both Agriculture and Forestry and the Modern Languages, and 301-400 for Medicine.

La Salle entered the 151-200 and 201-300 brackets for English Language and Literature and Education, respectively. Ateneo also placed at the 151-200 bracket for English Language and Literature.

The last time UST figured in the top 200 of the subject rankings was in 2011, when it entered the 101-150 bracket for English and Literature. The latest QS ranking by subject is the world’s largest subject ranking, covering 42 disciplines.

According to the official QS website, the annual World University Rankings by Subject provide employers, students, parents, and academics with the “most comprehensive insight into global university performance at the subject level.”

Beyond rankings

Fr. Herminio Dagohoy O.P. said UST was not in the QS subject rankings due to the University’s failure to submit data required by the London-based QS.

“I think hindi tayo seryoso mag-submit nung mga data na kailangan ng QS. You have to provide QS with the research and activities of the particular department where you want to be ranked,” Fr. Dagohoy said in an interview with the Varsitarian after ending his first term as Rector.

While research in UST is improving, there is a need to establish a central data management system, he said. “Our problem is structural in the sense that we need to have more dedicated people and come up with a very good data management system because our data is not yet computerized and that takes a lot of time,” Fr. Dagohoy said.

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But UST’s failure to appear in the QS subject rankings does not define its overall performance as a competent institution, he said.

“Universities are complex institutions and no ranking can say that one university is better than the other. The ranking does not capture the University’s role in the community,” Fr. Dagohoy said.

Lack of focus in research

General education department chairs pointed to the University’s perennial problems in research and publication.

Augusto de Viana, history department chairman, said there were limited slots for faculty who want to do research. “In our department, there are 28 tenured professors and there are only very limited slots for members who could be allowed to do research. The University also has limited funds for research,” De Viana said in an interview.

De Viana said the cessation of the publication of Unitas, the official scholarly journal of UST for the humanities, liberal arts and the social sciences, in 2009, and Ad Veritatem, the official multidisciplinary research journal of the Graduate School, in 2012, forced faculty members to publish outside UST.

“As a result of the two journals being shut down, we have to publish outside UST or abroad. The good thing is that our research are accepted abroad. The bad thing is we are killing our own publication and promoting the publications of others,” De Viana said.

Literature department chairwoman Joyce Arriola said research and publications in the University were not extensive.

“We have faculty members who are still just finishing their doctorate degrees so their priorities are in their coursework and dissertation writing. We have only a few faculty members doing research and a number are fellows of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS),” Arriola said, adding that creative writing under CCWLS is only half of the literary research required. The other half is the publication of criticism, which UST is poor at, Arriola added.

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The Philippines is one of the 60 countries worldwide that have universities recognized by QS. The rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.

In the QS world university rankings last year, UST kept its place in the 701+ bracket. UP, Ateneo and La Salle slid, placing in the 401-410 bracket, 501-550 bracket and 701+ bracket respectively.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology dominated the QS subject rankings. Alhex Adrea M. Peralta and Jerome P. Villanueva

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