James Cook University has been judged the best university in the world in its commitment to the United Nation’s goal of reducing inequality.
The newly-published Times Higher Education University Impact Ratings ranks how universities are ‘walking the talk’, judged against the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
JCU has been found to be first in the world in working towards UN SDG 10 – reducing inequalities – which aims to eliminate economic imbalances.
JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said it was heartening to be top-ranked, as the university was the first in Australia to formally commit to the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The ranking is an assessment of how universities are putting into practice their own commitments to SDGs, as reflected by internal policy and practices and outreach.
“The ranking means JCU is ‘walking the talk’,” she said.
The judging criteria for compliance with this SDG included evaluation of the percentage of students and staff with disabilities, a non-discriminatory admissions policy, anti-discrimination and harassment policies, support to students and staff from under-represented groups and cross cultural training and awareness.
JCU has also been ranked 10th in the world in the UN SDG of Quality Education, which aims to provide a high-quality, free education for all by 2030.
“We are committed to delivering high quality education and excellent research that delivers solutions to sustainable development challenges, providing the knowledge and skills needed to advance our people and places while promoting sustainable development,” Professor Harding said.
JCU has also been ranked equal 22nd in the world on promoting the UN’s SDG of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, equal 26th on the Decent Work and Economic Growth SDG and within the top 100 in three other criteria.
Overall, the university is ranked 39th in the world for its efforts in meeting the UN’s goals.
Professor Harding said JCU recognises the enormous social, economic, and environmental challenges facing the world.
“Future development must take place in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. Much of the activity and investment in support of the SDGs will take place in the tropics – and JCU as the university of the tropics is ideally placed to lead this,” she said.