The 2008/09 research project undertaken by the World 100 scoped the reputation and communications processes, including resources, strategies and structures, of top global universities for reputational advancement.

Directors of communications, international and heads of the 137 universities in either of the two university world league tables (The World University Rankings, published and compiled by Times Higher Education and QS, and the SJT World Academic Rankings, produced by Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Institute of Higher Education) were invited to take part in a survey. A total of 70 unique universities responded, with 95 directors responding in total.

We believe it is the first survey of its kind to scope the reputation and communications processes of World 100 universities. 40% of all directors of communications (or nearest role) and 29% of international directors responded – an exceedingly high response rate to an international survey with reputational issues at its core.

The research shows that communications and international relations are both important and increasing areas of international activity as top universities seek to make a greater mark on the international stage. Nearly every university has objectives to increase international student and staff numbers and move up in the world league tables. However, there appears to be a disconnect between the activities of the Communications Team and those of the International Relations team, with strategies and plans less likely to be integrated.

The research benchmarks the following:

  • Seniority in the organisation
  • Strategy and objectives
  • International communications activity by international directors
  • Relationship between communications and marketing
  • Budget and resources
  • Key stakeholders
  • Usage of league tables
  • Preferred league table
  • Opinions on global universities
  • Growing international markets
  • Membership of networks/groups
  • Level of university internationalisation

A few key findings

A key quality metric, global rankings play a role in shaping institutional reputation

The final version of the report from the research, Structures, Strategies and Resources for Reputational Advancement, was published in September 2008. Members of the W100 Network can access the report from the news and resources page, and members directly involved in the research can also download their individual reports there.

Become a Member

The World 100 Reputation Network is a group of the best universities in the world, delivering research that enhances reputation and offering leaders the chance to develop their own careers on a global stage. Members benefit from events and study tours, training, monthly media monitoring, and unique reputation research to provide institutional advantage.

find out more