The Rise and Fall survey of 2009/10 looked at the relationship between changes in university rankings and reputation as a whole. To what extent would a rise or fall impact on other reputational matters, such as success in faculty recruitment, student recruitment, international partnerships or media coverage?

The main objectives were to discover how a rise or fall in rank is managed and how it impacts upon the institution’s reputation.

We found that the impact of a change in the world university rankings is thought to be felt most in international rather than domestic markets and to affect the institution’s ability to attract academics, international students and prestigious university partners.

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Rise and fall research 2009/10: Managing reputation associated with significant world ranking change – Executive Summary

There was strong support for the notion that world ranking is just one of many quality metrics that are thought to shape global reputation. Other factors are also hugely important – some of which are quantifiable (e.g. FT ranking, student quality), and others are softer, qualitative kinds – e.g. global distinctiveness.