University of Tsukuba launches specialist world ranking program

Ranking appears to be a booming enterprise or game. Fortune 500 is among those that are best known among businesspeople in many countries. This classic survey, of course, lists the most successful financial results of the world’s 500 top companies. You may wonder who the richest people are. Subscribe to Forbes, another American magazine which somehow finds those people out and publishes detailed data.

In addition to those and other well-known surveys, a cosmetics company conducts a survey to show which prefecture in Japan produces women with the most beautiful skins. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that it is northern Akita prefecture, Pola says the winners are the women in Shimane.

The government-run University of Tsukuba has joined in the booming ranking business. It published on October 30, 2015 results of a new initiative titled The World University Comparisons in Sport Sciences, Physical Education and Kinesiology 2015.

This survey Tsukuba is not exactly the type of ranking with which you are familiar but merely lists the top universities, none of which is from the US.

Schools were assessed in three specific categories — teaching capability (35% of the total), research capability (50%) and competitive sports practice (15%) — before an overall evaluation.

The teaching capability category named four best schools: Loughborough University (the UK), the National Taiwan Normal University, the University of Porto (Portugal) and Tsukuba. The research capability section listed Loughborough and the University of Calgary (Canada). Five top universities were mentioned in the sports practice category: Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand), Calgary, Porto, Tsukuba and Waseda University (Japan).

In implementing this survey, Tsukuba’s undergraduate School of Health and Physical Education had access to Thomson Reuters Web of Science for academic research publications and impacts as well as the company’s academic reputation survey data.

The researchers employed 35 indicators. Two of those indicators were the numbers of medals awarded in the Olympic Games and in world championships/world cups.

Tsukuba admitted that 19 universities out of a total 98 returned filled-in questionnaire form in January-June of 2015.

The 19 schools included four in North America (Texas State University, the University of Minnesota, McGill University, Calgary), seven in Europe (the University of Physical Education of Hungary, Lithuanian Sports University, Loughborough, Porto, the University of Lisbon, the University of Bologna, the University of Europea, Lisbon), five from Asia (Seoul National University, National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Tsukuba, Waseda, the National Taiwan Normal University,), and three from Oceania (the University of Sydney, Victoria University and Auckland).

Among those schools, the best three were found to be Loughborough, Calgary and Tsukuba.


By Shota Ushio, freelance writer based in Tokyo

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