Monday, June 30, 2008

OSU's internal College of Engineering ranking system

Look what I found:

Innovation capacity metric = 40 x (number of BS degrees/average number of BS degrees for top25) + 10 x (number of MS degrees/average number of MS degrees for top 25) + 20x (PhD degrees/average number of PhD degrees for top 25) + 30 x (research expenditures/average research expenditures for top 25)

As was pointed out to me, there is no mention of quality here. In fact, there is no mention of anything besides "more" - more students pushed through and more research dollars spent, with no way to take in to account quality of education or success/type of research.

In other words, it's not a very good standalone measure of the quality of a College of Engineering. It's a decent measure of productivity alone, but that's it. Also note: It says nothing about the faculty.

Second, the Corvallis Gazette-Times made a few mistakes on this one (as I not-so-subtly insinuated here). It has printed a number claiming to be the ranking of the CoE based on this metric at least once, if not twice (and in the second case, you don't even want to know where the writer of that piece initially claimed to have gotten the number for OSU's CoE ranking; it's all I can do not to post it, it's so unprofessional). In neither case did the GT even bother to mention where OSU's supposed ranking came from. That was mistake number one - sourcing a number like that should have been a no-brainer.

Mistake number two happened in at least the first case: If the GT knew that OSU was using an internally-devised number (and I have reason to believe they did), they should have asked how the metric was devised, and upon figuring that out, spent a sentence or two noting that - even in an article about the death of Martin Kelley.

I'll be honest: I don't actually get frustrated with the GT very often. It's got a pretty low reputation among almost everyone I know not in journalism circles, and I usually find myself defending the paper. Not today.


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