The University of Auckland has ranked ninth in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, remaining in the top ten for the third year in a row.
The sustainability rankings measure universities globally against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Making comparisons across the broad areas of research, stewardship, outreach, and teaching, the Impact Rankings look at 1,117 universities from 94 countries and regions.
For the first two years of the rankings, in 2019 and 2020, the University of Auckland placed first. The university has now dropped to ninth place overall. Currently, the overall ranking is led by the UK University of Manchester, and three Australian institutions take the next highest spots.
Within specific SDGs, the University of Auckland’s highest ranking is sixth for the “peace, justice and strong institutions” goal, which aims to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”. Their lowest ranking is 101st-200th for the “climate action” goal, which aims to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.
Another SDG of note is the university’s rank of eighth for “good health and wellbeing”, which aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” In the current COVID-19 environment, New Zealand’s fast and effective response has kept the country out of the worst of the pandemic.
Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater says that the SDGs have influenced their new strategic plan Taumata Teitei, which seeks to pursue excellence despite current uncertainty. Taumata aims to frame university learning through sustainability, equity, justice, and positive impact, to help preserve and improve the natural world. Its framework will incorporate the fundamental principles of manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga, and hopes to bring guardianship of the natural world into higher study.