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Old 07.10.2014, 21:09
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Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-ed...search-science
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Old 07.10.2014, 21:15
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

Don't worry about it; now we are persona non grata with the EU providers of research grants we will soon move down the rankings
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Old 07.10.2014, 21:17
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

answer: high salaries.
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Old 07.10.2014, 21:30
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

- Because of the excellence of teaching and research (number of scientific publications, quotations, grants etc.)

- Because universities of Switzerland are selective and want to attract the best students and professors.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 07.10.2014, 21:34
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

The article explains why,

Switzerland’s success partly reflects the country’s heavy investment in research: it spends 2.2% of its GDP on research and development, double the EU average of 1.1%.

Ben Sowter, head of the QS intelligence unit, says that it has been given an added boost by the presence of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, giving the country’s institutions the opportunity to benefit from collaborations with leading universities worldwide. This, he says, has “dramatically magnified their research impact and influence at a global scale”.
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Old 08.10.2014, 10:34
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

Salaries, able to bring in the best of the best, especially in the hotel schools, and in some universities having a system that kicks out 75% of the students with bad grades, leaving 25% with exceptional grades.
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Old 10.10.2014, 00:54
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

Anyone read the Weltwoche lately? Scandal in Switzerland: despite the highest wages for academics, only the two ETHs, (the one in Zurich- and the other one?) are leading institutions. The article was especially scathing about humanties teaching in Switzerland.
But the starting salaries make me want to do my doctorate.
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Old 10.10.2014, 01:41
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Anyone read the Weltwoche lately? (…) The article was especially scathing about humanities teaching.
Do you really need us to tell you why your two sentences above are in a relation of inherent causality? Key words in bold, I'm happy to help.
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Old 10.10.2014, 02:07
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Anyone read the Weltwoche lately? Scandal in Switzerland: despite the highest wages for academics, only the two ETHs, (the one in Zurich- and the other one?) are leading institutions. The article was especially scathing about humanties teaching in Switzerland.
But the starting salaries make me want to do my doctorate.

ETH Zürich and Polytechnique in Lausanne are Federal Technical Universities while the other universities are cantonal property
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Old 10.10.2014, 09:28
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Anyone read the Weltwoche lately? Scandal in Switzerland: despite the highest wages for academics, only the two ETHs, (the one in Zurich- and the other one?) are leading institutions. The article was especially scathing about humanties teaching in Switzerland.
But the starting salaries make me want to do my doctorate.
No I do not belong to the SVP.

I assume this is part of the new SVP war about "too many lefties in academia!"?
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Old 10.10.2014, 10:21
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Because universities of Switzerland are selective and want to attract the best students and professors.
Nope. All Swiss universities are non-selective (when it comes to Swiss students) and with few exceptions (mainly medicine) have to take any student with a matura that applies and pays.

Although "post-selection" at the end of years 1 and 2 can be brutal.
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Old 10.10.2014, 10:26
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Anyone read the Weltwoche lately? Scandal in Switzerland: despite the highest wages for academics, only the two ETHs, (the one in Zurich- and the other one?) are leading institutions. The article was especially scathing about humanties teaching in Switzerland.
But the starting salaries make me want to do my doctorate.
For a country of 8 million to have 2 in the top 20 and a further 5 in the top 200 is not exactly shabby. Particularly as both lists are known (unless things have changed in the last couple of years) to have an pro English language bias in their methodologies.
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Old 10.10.2014, 10:33
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Anyone read the Weltwoche lately? Scandal in Switzerland: despite the highest wages for academics, only the two ETHs, (the one in Zurich- and the other one?) are leading institutions. The article was especially scathing about humanties teaching in Switzerland.
But the starting salaries make me want to do my doctorate.
I do agree that Humanities remains poor in continental Europe in general but I think the majority of this is because research grants are extremely poor for this area of research. I'm glad to see that countries such as the U.K. and Germany are still pushing for research grants in the Humanities.
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Old 10.10.2014, 11:05
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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- Because universities of Switzerland are selective and want to attract the best students and professors.

Just my 2 cents
Sheesh... I hope that's why I got my job at EPFL!

Definitely get paid more here as a postdoc than in Australia, although after costs of living are factored in and taxes/compulsory stuff deducted, it's about the same, except 1 CHF extra is a lot more valuable than 1 AUD extra.

Nice to see my alma mater hasn't lost ground in the QS ranking, despite undergoing a temporary struggle in financing and politics.
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Old 10.10.2014, 11:46
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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I do agree that Humanities remains poor in continental Europe in general but I think the majority of this is because research grants are extremely poor for this area of research. I'm glad to see that countries such as the U.K. and Germany are still pushing for research grants in the Humanities.
Although social science grants are pretty good here - much better than in the US, for example.
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Old 10.10.2014, 12:04
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Although social science grants are pretty good here - much better than in the US, for example.
It's a methodological and ideological issue. There is no simple way to explain this, but I'd say that social sciences have been for long anchored in philosophical tradition, sociology and political theory being the natural children of 19th century thinkers hundred years later. The double lead in research (data collection and interpretation on one side and theoretical framework on the other side) was the norm until late 80ies in continental Europe. One had to deal with both issues from pure data based experimental research and theoretical based metadiscourses. Nowadays, the full value of research is concentrated on experimental research like in the natural sciences. Anything discussed within a theoretical frame is seen unscientific. It's the triumph of experimental science against philosophy. One can be very happy about this, I am not judging the evolution of things, just describing. The result is however a huge amount of data and a unfulfilled need to do metastudies and strive for a more critical approach to methodology. Social and cognitive data is for now treated the same way as natural scientific data. Good or bad, I must admit that I don't care anymore as I didn't pursue the path of linguistic research, but in pedagogy/education, I can tell you that it would be hasty to conclude that it is only a positive evolution.

I like the example of the "French theory" from deconstructionists that lead to gender studies. It is the most attacked area in sociology and psychology at the moment because it follows a European tradition of confronting experimental data with theoretical reasoning at the same time, not in a purely inductive chronology. It is easy to bash Deleuze and Derida, just say that they have no data. Job done.
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Old 10.10.2014, 12:20
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Anything discussed within a theoretical frame is seen unscientific. It's the triumph of experimental science against philosophy.
I think it is a result of the way financing in research and edu works, unfortunately.

Philosophy and humanities will start to sell again, when people get bored with tangible. When long term investments, like in overall education, makes sense again to the mainstream.

I think people in their quest to get rid of the woodoo magic and un methodological heretics, in their zeal also managed to get rid of critical, independent thinking as it presents itself in philosophy. People do not dare anymore, unless there is hard data. Ugh, the scarecrow of being called unscientific. Plain laziness, the way I see it. Since anyone can now collect data on pretty much anything these days. Just like quality of public debates pretty much depend on who is faster at Google Science, so pretty much just typing, instead of arguing a point or, at least having one, original one. Flaming personality traits of debaters, instead of focusing on their points. Laziness.

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One can be very happy about this
I am not.

I do like the fact that there is still a course called "Philosophy of..." (fill in the blank of your uni major) that every single undergrad and grad student has to take back home. I think it is needed and it needs to be taught by good staff. Just like phil should be obligatory in high schools. It does not have to be complicated. It trains kids in independent thinking and quality cognitive processes. I know a lot of it gets covered in other subjects, taught well, logic, etc. But overall, meta-thinking is not too popular these days and it might create troubles, I think. In priorities, kids having control over their future efficiently, community belonging, communal responsibility, etc.
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Last edited by MusicChick; 10.10.2014 at 12:34.
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Old 10.10.2014, 13:01
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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Although social science grants are pretty good here - much better than in the US, for example.
Social Sciences, yes. Humanities, e.g. Classics and Ancient History are quite tough to come by in Switzerland. At least this is from my experience as I was looking to read Ancient History in Lausanne. Having said that, I was just looking at the list of Doctoral students at the University of Lausanne and Geneva, and I'm impressed by the sheer number of them.
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Old 10.10.2014, 13:27
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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I think it is a result of the way financing in research and edu works, unfortunately.

Philosophy and humanities will start to sell again, when people get bored with tangible. When long term investments, like in overall education, makes sense again to the mainstream.

I think people in their quest to get rid of the woodoo magic and un methodological heretics, in their zeal also managed to get rid of critical, independent thinking as it presents itself in philosophy. People do not dare anymore, unless there is hard data. Ugh, the scarecrow of being called unscientific. Plain laziness, the way I see it. Since anyone can now collect data on pretty much anything these days. Just like quality of public debates pretty much depend on who is faster at Google Science, so pretty much just typing, instead of arguing a point or, at least having one, original one. Flaming personality traits of debaters, instead of focusing on their points. Laziness.
It's always been the case that "garbage in - garbage out". When I was working in the 1980's with a lot of economists and statistican, it was always a constant war - which came first - data or model. The truth is that they both have to work together.

I know a lot of social scientists and there are some really good people who combine theoretical thinking with good data collection, experimental design and thoughtful modeling. No laziness there. Sure there are loads of people who search on google too, but there are also loads of people who sit around and theorize but don't think about their own biased and narrow thinking.

Of course to be fair, I started out in physical science, moved to statistics and picked up some other stuff along the way. And I'm married to someone who does fairly quantatitive social science. So I'm biased myself.

If I hadn't had courses in art, English lit and music, I would have gone mad. It helps a lot to make you understand the world a little better too. For me, the most useful stuff I studied was judgment and behavior - understanding the importance of framing and presenting information, and the biases and shortcuts we all use to synthesize the info.
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Old 10.10.2014, 13:59
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Re: Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings?

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It's always been the case that "garbage in - garbage out". When I was working in the 1980's with a lot of economists and statistican, it was always a constant war - which came first - data or model. The truth is that they both have to work together.

I know a lot of social scientists and there are some really good people who combine theoretical thinking with good data collection, experimental design and thoughtful modeling. No laziness there. Sure there are loads of people who search on google too, but there are also loads of people who sit around and theorize but don't think about their own biased and narrow thinking.

Of course to be fair, I started out in physical science, moved to statistics and picked up some other stuff along the way. And I'm married to someone who does fairly quantatitive social science. So I'm biased myself.

If I hadn't had courses in art, English lit and music, I would have gone mad. It helps a lot to make you understand the world a little better too. For me, the most useful stuff I studied was judgment and behavior - understanding the importance of framing and presenting information, and the biases and shortcuts we all use to synthesize the info.
Hmmm, lovely....it is really interesting. I think the war of theories and data has always been that way but I do think good old Europe with certainly outdated but still very humanities based edu concept does promote a bit more the synthesis of both. Maybe I am biased the way we were trained, just for the sake of balance, dig into the side we were veering off. Or maybe I was lucky to grow up in that kind of traditional humanities combined with sci environment in my family setting, but it honestly seems more taught and worked with. Research chez nous is not really about returning investments (since there are little commercial interests), whatever course is justified and will promote progress has relatively same chance to be a part of curriculum, humanities pushed on sci majors and vice versa. I miss it these days, inter disciplinary is often just a term everywhere, still. The lack of funding was and is not ideal at all, though, I think I would have prefered an environment far more ambitious and daring in terms of both theorizing and data harvest, even if overkill in either of them. Resources are important, CH has a big chance.

I talked to some US Soc-IT diss collegaues, and it still seams to be very divided, despite the progress, you are still pushed to take sides, or expected to. You do not really belong to neither and float between the two departments. I am doing an interdisciplinary study, and while I enjoy the independence I really can feel the freedom is paid by far more responsibility to get anchored, support ideas tangibly and concretely, etc. You kind of bounce off the two poles. Being part of all and none of it, and know exactly which area and sci approach or methodological coaching or inspiration for a new theory you can reach for. I fall back on my sci family often since they have a lot of tools and strategies, rely on supervisors and very concrete sci approach and enjoy theorizing as a reward when things get done, to be able to process what has been laid out there for me, still.

What you mentioned about judgment and bias, lovely. I am focusing right now on automation in assessment, matrixes are fab field to study. Hard to identify, starts with identifying the ability to either copy and reproduce or invent, creatively. Our judgment is so multicriterial we cannot handle it sometimes, so it is logical we oscilate between the two extremes, relying too much on a preset algorithm or not enough on a frame that is already available.
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