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Brussels, 4 April 2008

International rankings and indicators. What they tell us and what they don't.


Rankings are all the craze these days. They are the object of heated controversies. Their methodologies, if not their raison d’être, are challenged by many. Those who come out on top love them – until they drop down the table. 

This ACA European Policy Seminar provided an introduction and a constructive critique of international rankings and league tables. It introduced and explained the major methodologies in use today, such as those of the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) and of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Likewise, it also introduced new approaches, such as the discipline-specific rankings of the German Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE). The OECD presented its feasibility study for what some call already a ‘PISA for Higher Education’.


Thursday 3 April 2008

19:30         Welcome dinner: Restaurant JB

Friday 4 April 2008



Registrations and coffee


Welcome and introduction
Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA


International rankings. An introduction
Tim Rogers, International Education Consultants, London


The CHE ranking. A subject-based approach
Gero Federkeil, Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung, Gütersloh


Coffee break


Assessing higher education learning outcomes. The OECD feasibility study
Andreas Schleicher, OECD, Paris 




A European Commission view on rankings
Christian Tauch, European Commission, Brussels


The uses and abuses of rankings. A critique
Torsten Kälvemark, formerly HSV, Stockholm 




Closing panel
Introduction and chair: Waldemar Siwinski, Perspektywy Foundation, Warsaw
Panelists: Tim Rogers, Gero Federkeil, Andreas Schleicher, Torsten Kälvemark, Christian Tauch 


Wrap up and goodbye


Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers is the former Head of Student Recruitment & Admissions at the London School of Economics & Political Science.  He was previously Senior International Liaison Officer at the University of Warwick.  With over 14 years of experience in international student recruitment, university administration and management, educational marketing and press relations, Mr Rogers is regarded as one of the leading international education consultants in the world today.

Since establishing his own educational consultancy, International Education Consultants UK, in May 2003, Mr Rogers has developed an impressive client list that includes Ministries of Education in Denmark, India, Finland, Sweden and The Netherlands as well as a prominent institutions, associations and companies such as the Imperial College London, NAFSA and Quacquarelli Symonds, the company behind the QS World Grad School Tour and the World University Rankings. His most recent work for the Danish Ministry of Education has resulted in a comprehensive re-evaluation of the processes of internationalisation and student recruitment in Denmark by the Danish Government.

His co-authorship of the most recent EAIE Occasional Paper on the Impact of Tuition Fees in International Student Recruitment is exemplary of his wide area of expertise, ranking from institutional strategic development of international student recruitment strategies to the implementation of the respective programmes.

Gero Federkeil

Gero Federkeil is a trained sociologist and graduated at Bielefeld University in 1989. After a period of working in empirical social research at the university, he has been working in the field of higher education since 1993.

He started to work for the German Science Council in 1993 where he focused on higher education, evaluation and indicators, higher education and employment and on university medicine. He conducted many evaluations of German higher education institutions. Since 2000 he is working at the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development as a project manager. His main fields of work are ranking, evaluation, quality management and performance indicators. He is coordinating the international ranking activities at CHE and he has published on quality assessment and rankings.

He is member of the German Association of Higher Education Research and the German Association of Evaluation.

Andreas Schleicher

As Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division, Andreas’ responsibilities include directing the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the OECD Indicators of Education Systems programme (INES) and steering the development of new projects such as the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).

At the OECD, Andreas has also held the posts of Deputy Head of the Statistics and Indicators Division in the former Directorate for Education, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (1997-2002) and Project Manager in the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) (1994-1996). Before joining the OECD, Andreas served as Director for Analysis at the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) within the Institute for Educational Research in the Netherlands (1993-1994) and International Co-ordinator for the IEA Reading Literacy Study, at the University of Hamburg, Germany (1989-1992). Originally a graduate in physics, he subsequently studied mathematics at Deakin University in Australia, where his master’s thesis received the Bruce Choppin Award.

In 2003, Andreas was awarded the “Theodor Heuss” prize, given for “exemplary democratic engagement” in association with the public debate on PISA. He also holds an honorary professorship at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. In 2002, Andreas was awarded the “educación y libertad en el ámbito educativo” prize by the Spanish national association of private schools.

A German citizen, Andreas is married, with three children. He speaks German, English, Italian and French.

Christian Tauch

Christian Tauch studied history, international relations and literature in Germany and the US. From 1995 to 2005 he was head of the International Department of the German Rectors’ Conference HRK in Bonn. He co-authored several studies related to the Bologna Process ( in particular the EUA “Trends reports”) and is today working at the Unit for Higher Education Policy and the Erasmus Programme in the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission.

Torsten Kälvemark

Torsten Kälvemark is a former Senior Adviser at the National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) in Stockholm, Sweden. He has worked with central government agencies in the field of higher education since 1972. Between 1989 and 1992 he was serving as cultural attaché at the Embassy of Sweden in London. In 1993 he was one of the founders of ACA. He was a member of ACA’s Administrative Council 1993-2006 and also served the Association as a Vice-President. With Marijk van der Wende he edited the book National Policies for Internationalisation of Higher Education in Europe (1997). This book was a result of cooperative work within one of ACA’s working groups. 

He retired in 2007 and is now an independent consultant in the field of higher education and research. He is also chairing the Board of the Swedish Archeological Institute in Athens.

Waldemar Siwinski

Waldemar Siwinski is a founder and president of “Perspektywy” Education Foundation, a non profit organization specializing in marketing and promotion of higher education in Poland and internationally.

He has extensive and rich media experience as writer, journalist and manager. W.S. had been a president of the Polish Press Agency (PAP), bureau member of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), board member, European PressPhoto Agency (EPA), member, International Press Institute, editor in chief of the student weekly magazine ITD, deputy editor-in-chief of the large circulation daily newspaper Sztandar Mlodych, and founder of the first computer magazine in Poland.

Waldemar Siwinski is an author an initiator of prestigious rankings of higher education institutions and secondary schools in Poland organized for the past 15 years by the “Perspektywy” Education Foundation and published by “Perspektywy” monthly magazine together with the “Rzeczpospolita”, a top newspaper in Poland. He is an active member of the International Rankings Expert Group (IREG).

Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), a consortium of European and global agencies which support international cooperation in higher education. ACA is a think-tank which promotes innovation and internationalisation in higher education. Bernd was born in Giessen (Germany) and studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany).  He lives in Brussels (Belgium) and is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Bernd’s career has been focused on international higher education. In his first post, at the University of Kassel (Germany), he devised international degree programmes in cooperation with universities abroad. He later joined the British Council, before becoming the Director of the international office of the Fachhochschule Darmstadt. Moving on to Germany’s internationalisation agency DAAD, he became the head of this organisation’s European section. He subsequently became Director of Higher Education in the Brussels Socrates Office, with overall responsibility for the Erasmus Programme in Europe. In 1998, he took up his present post as the director of ACA. Bernd has published widely on international matters in higher education, and he is a frequent speaker at European and international education conferences. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Higher Education and.  He also works, as an expert advisor, for many international organisations. 


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