The University of Arizona was ranked No. 52 out of 18,000 higher education institutions around the world, according to the latest from the Center for World University Rankings.

The UA gained 23 spots over last year, putting the school in the top 0.28 percent globally.

Nationally, the UA ranked No. 34.

“This is a fantastic reflection of the incredible talent we have here,” said UA President Robert Robbins in a prepared statement. “Our faculty’s commitment to groundbreaking research strengthens our position as becoming a global leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

But what sets the Center for World University Ranking system apart from others is that it looks beyond faculty output, performance and reputation. It is the only global university ranking system that measures the quality of student education.

When faculty prestige and the quality of their research is calculated at the university level, however, it is without relying on surveys of reputation and university data submissions.

This is in contrast to other ranking entities such as U.S. News and World Report, a ranking system that Robbins is taking very seriously as he devises a strategic plan for the UA.

Rankings by category

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  •  The UA is down two spots from last year, landing at No. 43 for influence, which is determined by the number of research papers published in highly influential journals.
  •  The UA jumped seven spots to No. 48 for the number of highly cited research papers.
  •  The UA gained 15 spots over last year for faculty quality, landing at No. 53.
  •  The UA slipped eight spots to No. 96 for the number of quality publications, which is measured by the number of research papers published in top-tier journals.
  •  Research output is the total number of research papers, which was not a factor last year, but the UA ranked No. 111 this year.
  •  The UA fell 101 spots to No. 164 in alumni employment, the number of university alumni who have held CEO positions at the world’s top companies relative to the university’s size.
  • The UA dipped 64 spots to No. 166 in quality education, which is measured by the number of alumni who have won major international awards.

“We take rankings very seriously because students take them seriously. Students will apply to your school before other schools. Faculty want to be at a highly ranked place,” said Jeffrey Goldberg, UA provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“We want our students working on exciting things so they have life fulfillment,” he said. “We’d like students to have an impact, and for our programs to help students do those kinds of things. If we do that well, we will see our alumni get big awards, lead large organizations, and we will see faculty be prominent in research.”

Harvard University ranked No. 1, Stanford University No. 2 and Massachusetts Institute of Technology No. 3, globally.

ASU ranked No. 114 globally, according to the list.

Contact Mikayla Mace at 573-4158 or mmace@tucson.com. Follow on Twitter and Facebook.