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UKZN makes the cut in Times Higher Education subject rankings

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has been placed in the 401+ band of the Times Higher Education (THE) Arts and Humanities subject rankings.

Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, said the university is pleased and encouraged by the significant placing of its disciplines in arts and humanities in the latest THE subject rankings.

"Over the past three years, there has been a consistent message to our academics, researchers and students that, as a university, we want to encourage and promote research and scholarship that is relevant and has significant impact. The College of Humanities has taken heed and there has been improved research outputs, as well as an improvement in quality of the outputs. This is indicated by the latest subject rankings. We look forward to even greater achievements by the College of Humanities going forward," he said.

THE is the leading provider of higher education data for the world's research-led institutions. A company behind the world's most influential university rankings with almost five decades of experience as a source of analysis and insight on higher education, THE boasts unparalleled expertise on the trends underpinning university performance globally.

The subject rankings lists the top universities in arts and humanities around the world and are based on the same range of 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2020. The methodology, however, is recalibrated for each subject to suit the individual fields.

The performance indicators are grouped into five areas: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (staff, students and research); and industry income (knowledge transfer).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College: Humanities, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, attributed the ranking to hard work across the six schools in the college, senior scholars, many of whom are rated National Research Foundation scientists, and the calibre of "up-and-coming emerging academics with doctorates and a clear purpose to create an African university of international distinction.

"The thread which connects these established and emerging humanities academics at UKZN is a common research purpose, which is a fusion of the traditional with an applied and creative focus that increasingly is coming to be community-based," said Mkhize.

He cited a recent QS university ranking, which specifically identified education, development studies and theology as top subjects at UKZN, "recognising the leading roles those disciplines hold in contextual and African-centred scholarship".

The DVC is confident that the annual audited research statistics paint a wider picture of consistency across far more sectors in UKZN Humanities - be it in the literary, creative arts, or social sciences. "Here, traditional discipline barriers are being replaced rapidly by such cross-cutting fields as gender studies, community-based practice, and interdisciplinary teaching and research," he said.

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Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer