Don’t overlook Lincoln’s improved performance in those university rankings

The headline on an NZ Herald report this week was a tad unfair on Lincoln University. It said “Staff cuts drag NZ universities down in world rankings – but Waikato University jumps”.

Was Lincoln’s positive performance not spectacular enough for the headline writer?

The Herald report said staff cuts despite growing student numbers have dragged most New Zealand universities down in the latest world rankings.

The biggest six of the country’s eight universities have all tumbled in the London-based QS rankings, which are regarded as the most important for attracting international students.

Only our two smallest universities, Waikato and Lincoln, have moved up the ranks.

Seven NZ universities were marked down this year on their academic reputation, based on asking 83,000 academics around the world to list the top universities in their fields.

Six declined in a survey asking 30,000 global employers which universities provided their most competent, innovative and effective graduates.

But New Zealand’s worst result was on staff/student ratios.

“The increase in enrolments – and the decrease in faculty numbers – reported by the country’s universities sees all eight receive a lower score for faculty/student ratio,” QS said.

Universities NZ director Chris Whelan told the Herald this reflected a funding squeeze.

This year’s Budget provided no increase in per-student funding at universities, the first nil increase in at least 17 years and a cut in real terms of $5 million to $10m for the University of Auckland alone, according to the Herald.

Waikato University jumped 8 places overall and climbed into the top 100 (92nd) for citations per academic in international journals.

The University of Auckland slipped three places to 85th, Otago fell 24 places to 175, Victoria dropped to 221, Canterbury to 230, Massey to 330 and AUT to 464.

Lincoln University did its  own cheer-leading on its website –

Lincoln is one of the two New Zealand universities to improve its position in the 2018/19 QS World University Rankings released today.

Lincoln moved ahead of Massey University for the first time, rising a place to sixth in the national rankings.

It is also now among the top 60 in the International Student Ratio section of the Rankings, highlighting Lincoln’s appeal to students from around the world.

Lincoln is now ranked globally at 317, continuing its upward trajectory.

Lincoln University Chancellor Steve Smith said:

“We have the goal of being one of the world’s top universities in Agriculture, and among the top overall in New Zealand, and to see that rise already happening locally is gratifying.”

The news on the Waikato University website told of the university rising 127 places in five years.

It is now firmly placed in the world’s top 300 universities at #274.

The University of Waikato has been on a strong upward trajectory and in the last year rose 18 places, moving against the trend in New Zealand’s challenging tertiary landscape.




Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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