During a year in which the University of California at Berkeley faced deep budget cuts, furloughs and student unrest, did it become a much better institution? Times Higher Education released its world rankings Wednesday night -- and Berkeley came in at #8, an impressive gain from #39 last year. And once again, the power of methodology changes is evident in rankings. After last year's rankings were widely criticized -- with many citing Berkeley's relatively low grades as an example that something must have been wrong with the formula -- Times Higher switched rankings partners and changed its methodology. (Among other changes, the weight has been reduced for the "reputational survey" -- with separate surveys on teaching and research.) Generally, American universities fare well in the formula, occupying 7 of the top 10 spots, and all of the top 5.