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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arts and humanities departments see fall in world rankings

Noelle R. Haro-Gomez
Noelle R. Haro-Gomez/ The Arizona Daily Wildcat

Although the UA humanities and arts programs improved their overall score from last year, they have dropped in ranking, which some administrators attribute to budget cuts and a reduction in faculty members.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2012-2013 ranks the UA in 49th place for arts and humanities, tied with the University of Virginia. This is a drop from the previous year’s rank of 32nd.

The Times Higher Education panel judges research-led universities using data collected by Thomson Reuters and focusing on five different areas: teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook, according to its website.

A variety of factors may have caused the drop in ranking, including budget cuts within the university, said Mary Wildner-Bassett, dean of the College of Humanities. A reduction in faculty members might have had an impact as well, she added.

Over the last five years the College of Humanities has seen a reduction of about 20 tenure-eligible faculty members, without being able to hire new faculty except in certain circumstances, Wildner-Bassett said in an email.

“If we want to maintain or grow back to where we were in our rankings, I think we’re going to need a little more support,” Wildner-Bassett said. “I think we get that and there’s good will for it, but it’s a difficult time at the university.”

Jory Hancock, dean of the College of Fine Arts, said that although enrollment increased, the number of faculty has gone down as a result of budget cuts, which could lead organizations to believe that quality has decreased in those programs.

Despite decreases in faculty numbers, Hancock said both colleges are working to maintain quality regardless of financial constraints.

“I don’t want to be a college that is just whining about the cuts that it has sustained,” Hancock said. “With additional support we might do better, but I think the university is doing the best that it can to support all the areas that it values.”

Hancock stressed that the arts and humanities programs would most likely retain their ranking in the top 50.

“I don’t think we’re going to move away from being in the top 50 in the world,” Hancock said. “When you think of the number of institutions and to be in the top 50, even though we moved down, that’s incredible.”

Wildner-Bassett said having arts and humanities studies helps make the UA a comprehensive university.

“We’ve done everything we can and I think we’re still making very good, high-quality contributions to teaching and research and international global understanding,” Wildner-Bassett said. “That’s what’s important to us.”

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