THE league table
Three league tables in the last week have seen universities across the UK rise and fall internationally and nationally.
The University of Leeds has risen 14 places to number 85 in the QS World University Rankings, and has been placed at 168= in a new THE table. The Sunday Times placed Leeds 26th, down two places, in its UK University guide.
The numerous league tables on offer diverge widely in their results and methodologies, and each has a big element of subjectivity. The THE league table sets out to redress the balance between institutions of differing sizes and fails to acknowledge the overall impact of major research-intensive institutions like Leeds. It clearly has its limitations and inconsistencies and its compilers themselves have admitted to 'anomalies.'
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur said: "The performance of the University across the board, the quality of the student experience and the impact of our research nationally and globally are what count. We already excel in many areas, with outstanding successes to our credit in teaching, learning and research, thanks to our strategic focus and the hard work of all staff. In spite of the challenges ahead, I am confident we will continue to make progress towards our world class ambitions."
A paper on league tables comparisons will be presented to University Council on September 30 and will be posted on Campusweb.
In a statement issued on behalf of Russell Group universities, Dr Wendy Piatt said: The real story behind all world league tables is that UK universities still punch way above their weight on the world stage. We will really struggle to sustain this success if we are subject to yet more cuts while our international competitors are pumping billions into their leading universities. It would be profoundly counterproductive to our aim of strengthening our economy if we lost the invaluable asset of our world-class universities and the many economic, cultural and social benefits that flow from them." The full statement by the Russell Group on the THE table follows below.
Statement from the Russell Group
Commenting on the THE World University Rankings (2010) published today, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of The Russell Group of research-intensive universities said:
"The real story behind all world league tables is that our universities still punch way above their weight on the world stage. But we will really struggle to sustain this success if we are subject to yet more cuts while our international competitors are pumping billions into their leading universities.
"The picture painted by the THE league table is certainly bleak for UK higher education but the many league tables on offer diverge widely in their results and methodology. Only last week, the QS league table placed eight UK universities in the top 50 and 19 UK universities in the world's top 100. This new THE table clearly has its limitations and inconsistencies - its compilers themselves admit to 'anomalies'.
"Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the fact that the world-class status of our universities is under threat from other countries, particularly the US, who are flourishing as a result of the extra billions their governments have ploughed into their leading institutions. The US also has the significant advantage of being able to top up this investment with higher contributions from their students.
"Our leading UK universities still offer outstanding quality and punch above their weight on the world stage, generally coming second only to the US. But their future is looking increasingly bleak if they are subject to more cuts and are prevented from asking for higher contributions from their graduates.
"Our current 1.3% of GDP investment in higher education is already outpaced by the US, Germany, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Japan. Against the odds, with one percent of the world's population, 12% of scientific citations go to UK-based research.
"It would be a great shame and profoundly counterproductive to our aim of strengthening our economy if we lost the invaluable asset of our world-class universities and the many economic, cultural and social benefits that flow from them."
For further reflections on world league tables see:
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