Elevating UCSC’s global reputation

UC Santa Cruz’s global reputation plays a vital role in attracting international students. Few on campus are more keenly aware of this than Gabriele Schmiegel, Assistant Director for Sponsored Student Programs, who frequently communicates with external audiences about UC Santa Cruz’s world-class research and as an ideal destination for a graduate or undergraduate education. However, this excellence in teaching and research is not always as highly visible in international university rankings.

With the rise of rankings organizations such as QS, ARWU, Times Higher Education, and others, students and their parents, as well as government sponsors and scholarship providers, have access to a variety of metrics that often guide their decision-making about which institution to attend. These rankings have a direct impact on the campus’s ability to enroll a competitive and diverse cohort of sponsored international students.

“There are more than 4,000 accredited institutions to choose from in the U.S. Rankings are used as indicators that assist students and sponsors in making decisions. International academic reputation and contacts greatly influence an institution’s ability to draw from a pool of highly qualified applicants,” Schmiegel said.

To boost global recognition of UCSC’s reputation, Schmiegel spent the fall quarter working on a project in collaboration with the Office of the Chancellor as well as IRAPS, aimed at expanding the campus’s list of international references who can engage in reputational surveys that frequently figure prominently in rankings methodologies.

Faculty were asked to suggest international contacts with whom they frequently collaborate, and for whom UC Santa Cruz and its reputation for academic and research excellence are well-known. In winter 2021, IRAPS will send an official UCSC email to all of these new contacts to solicit their consent to participate in future reputational surveys such as an upcoming one from QS in winter 2021.

“Through academic reputation surveys, we are hopeful that our global ranking will accurately reflect the true merit and quality of UC Santa Cruz and improve the ability of students and sponsors to make well-informed decisions,” Schmiegel said.

International responses to rankings surveys play an important role in building recognition on the global stage and, in time, increasing UCSC’s visibility in the rankings.

The Division of Global Engagement encourages faculty to share information about their international collaborations, which supports strategic efforts such as this one, and informs ongoing international partnership and program development with institutions around the world.

“We greatly appreciate the time that faculty took to provide contacts for use as institutional references. For any faculty who didn’t have time to respond to this recent call, don’t worry – rankings and ratings are a continuous annual process, so we would be happy to incorporate additional international contacts into future rankings exercises,” Interim Vice Provost of Global Engagement Richard Hughey said. “We are hopeful that this year’s efforts may result in changes to some of our rankings, thus making it easier for departments and the campus to recruit students from around the world.”

Faculty can visit Global Engagement’s international relations management tool, GlobalConnect, to learn more about how to submit information on their international connections on an ongoing basis.For questions about sponsored students at UC Santa Cruz, contact Gabriele Schmiegel at gschmieg@ucsc.edu.

In this section