U.S.P. physical sciences programme recognised

The University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) says it is delighted by the ranking of its physical sciences programme in a new edition of the annual Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Physical sciences is an all-encompassing term for fields of study that cover all areas of research into the fundamental laws of nature including chemistry, science and physics.

The Times' supplement is recognised as the global authority on universities' relative performance and its rankings are eagerly awaited by the education sector each year.

The U.S.P. is ranked between 601-800 for study in the physical sciences. The school recently received an official announcement of its ranking in the field it said in a statement on Monday that attributed its position to the quality of the university's research, teaching and international outlook.

“The ranking in the Physical Sciences is further to the earlier announcement of the University’s achievement of global ranking in the 1001-1200 category of Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022,” U.S.P. said.

This year’s rankings from the Times Higher Education magazine surveyed the performance in the physical sciences disciplines across more than 1220 universities worldwide.

The Times' rankings for physical sciences encompasses universities' performance in the following disciplines: mathematics and statistics, physics and astronomy, chemistry, geology, environmental sciences, earth and marine sciences. 

U.S.P. Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Professor Jito Vanualailai said the recent ranking indicates the university’s capability to deliver world-class academic research.

“It is an important measure of academic excellence and it is encouraging to note that U.S.P. has continued to excel. Every Pacific Islander, alumni, staff and student should be proud of what their University has accomplished, especially being ranked with other top universities in the world," he said.

The U.S.P. Director of Research, Professor Sushil Kumar, said the University's ranking for was testament to its strong commitment to world-class teaching, research, citations, international outlook, and industry outlook of Physical Sciences.

“This has all paid off today with this reputed recognition by the [Times Higher Education Rankings]. and it is a pleasant and proud feeling to be a part Physical Sciences team in this journey of U.S.P.,” he said.

“While we celebrate this recognition, it encourages us to improve U.S.P.’s position in this ranking in the world in the coming years.

“The University is thankful to Physical Sciences current and past students and staff for their strong commitment, and our collaborators, stakeholders and partners for their support and cooperation in Physical Sciences and with USP at large."

The U.S.P. Student President and Chair of Student Council, Mani Mate said the achievement was an excellent reflection on the university's performance and improvements.

“The University continues to make its way into excellence despite the sail adjustments we’ve been making since the past few years over some rough waves,” he said.

“Our ranking in the subject of Physical Sciences by the [...] World University Rankings adds additional value into our uniqueness, making the entire U.S.P. family prouder.

“It also strengthens our vision of shaping Pacific futures by empowering students, staff and alumni to become inspirational agents of positive change leading to innovative, cohesive, resilient and sustainable communities.”

The subject tables employ the same range of 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2022, brought together with scores provided under five categories.

The subject rankings include comparisons on the relative strength of a tertiary institutions across the following aspects: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (of staff, students and research) and industry income (measured through innovation).

The overall rankings for each discipline covered by the rankings are weighted to suit the particular fields, the U.S.P. statement explains.

“In addition to meeting the criteria for World University Rankings, the following two criteria must be fulfilled in order to be eligible for the [...] subject rankings: A publication threshold by discipline (500 papers published over the past five years); Academic staff threshold by discipline (at least 5 percent of its academic staff in the discipline of the physical sciences or at least 50 academic staff in the discipline of the physical sciences)," the statement said.

The performance comes after the university's Vice Chancellor, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, was suspended and deported from Fiji after raising the alarm about alleged financial mismanagement by certain university administrators. 

Professor Ahluwalia's contract was extended following outcry from both students and faculties. Samoa's branch of the regional university offered him an opportunity to continue his duties by working remotely from the U.S.P. Samoa Campus.

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