Dr. Muna Matar, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Prof. Jamil Khader, Dean of Research, participated in a virtual workshop on University Rankings in Palestine that was organized by the Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission (AQAC) / Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research on Saturday, 3 October 2021.
The workshop’s objective was to review the status of Palestinian universities in global university rankings and think about how universities can utilize the rankings as a tool for improvement and development.
Dr. Matar stated that it is very important to understand that university ranking is becoming a significant feature of institutions of higher education all around the world. University ranking requires Bethlehem University to provide information that helps build and maintain its reputation, improve its teaching and learning and increase its research output in terms of quantity and quality.
She added that going through the ranking process forces Bethlehem University to introduce further improvements to help raise the standards of all divisions and processes at the University. Higher university ranking also helps the University to attract good students and significantly improves chances for partnerships with international universities for academic collaboration.
Prof. Khader noted that research plays an important role in the determination of a university ranking. There is a clear tendency today to move away from an emphasis on quantifying research in university ranking systems towards highlighting the university’s investment in research as well as the field-weighted citation impact.
He also said that many universities adopt various strategies to improve their research visibility and reputation. For example, many universities in Palestine and around the world encourage their faculty to work in research clusters on themes pertaining to the seventeen sustainable development goals (SDG’s) set by the United Nations.
This allows researchers not only to attract funders and donors who are willing to support this type of research, but it makes it possible for these research clusters to publish multi-field articles that count as publications in different fields.
Prof. Khader concluded that Bethlehem University has many strengths that were highlighted in the workshop. What we need now is to build on these strengths and plan to make Bethlehem University even more competitive in the Palestinian higher education market.