UC Davis dropped out of the top 50 and most of its sister campuses also nosed downward in Times Higher Education’s annual world reputation rankings.
UCD fell into the 51-60 band from 48th, continuing a four-year slide. UCD stood 44th in 2012 and 38th in 2011, the first year the magazine’s rankings were published.
Also in the new rankings, released on Wednesday: UC Berkeley dropped from fifth to sixth, UCLA from eighth to 10th, UC San Diego from 34th to 40th and UC Santa Barbara from the 51-60 band to 61-70.
UC San Francisco bucked the trend — improving from 40th to 32nd.
The rankings are based on a worldwide invitation-only Thomson Reuters poll, which this year included 10,536 responses from published academics with an average of 18 years working in higher education.
Overall, U.S. universities improved their standing over a year ago. Forty-six earned a place in the top 100 — three better than a year ago.
Eight U.S. schools notched a place in the top 10, with No. 3 Stanford and No. 9 California Institute of Technology giving California four of them.
“It is remarkable that the U.S. has strengthened its dominance during a time of austerity, when leading Asian universities have benefited from generous funding and powerful government-backed campaigns to raise their status,” said Phil Baty, the editor of the rankings, in a news release.
“But there is one serious concern highlighted by the data: Of the small number of U.S. institutions falling down the list, most are from the public sector and have suffered funding cuts. The prestigious University of California’s top research institutions have collectively suffered and other big-name state universities are losing their international status, too.
“This is a worry, as it could lead to a downward spiral, with fewer international scholars wanting to join the institutions. Missed opportunities for global collaboration would lead to further decline.”
Other examples include the University of Michigan, which slipped from 12th to 15th, and the University of Texas at Austin, from 27th to 33rd. The University of Massachusetts, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Florida and Rutgers University are other publics that lost ground.
Twenty countries placed at least one school in the rankings. The United Kingdom is second with 10, followed by Germany with six.
Japan fares best among Asian countries, with five schools ranked, led by the University of Tokyo at No. 11, while Hong Kong and South Korea each boast three and China two.
Other schools in the top 10 are: No. 1 Harvard University, No. 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, No. 4 University of Cambridge, No. 5 University of Oxford, No. 7 Princeton University and No. 8 Yale University.
One other California institution received mention: the University of Southern California. It remains in the 61-70 belt.
Among the universities that have made the biggest leaps in the ranking are South Korea’s Seoul National University, up 15 places to 26th, and King’s College London, which shot up from the 61-70 band to share 43rd place.
— Reach Cory Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden