Top new university ranking: 50 under 50 degrees north

An exciting new league table!

Both QS and THE have, rather unimaginatively, produced rankings of universities under 50 years old. More exciting alternative rankings here have offered the highly creative 20 over 500 and 30 under six but this new not at all arbitrary league table draws not on age but on the inescapable facts of geography to sort the best from the rest. It’s 50 under 50 degrees north!

The new latitude-led league table has been slammed as outrageous by northern Europeans in particular and described by UK universities as a stitch up by the US and central and southern Europeans. Those south of the equator have been similarly appalled.

“We’re all used to US dominance but this is ridiculous” said an Australian Vice-Chancellor who, remarkably, did not wish to be named.

There are some extraordinary results and ETH is the only non North American university in Top 20. There is also a reasonable showing from Eastern institutions which are not too far north. In a desperate attempt to appear in the table several UK universities claimed to have campuses on Jersey but these turned out on investigation by our researchers to be the offices of tax advisors.

Details of the scoring methodology are restricted to prevent manipulation so there are no grounds to complain of unfairness:

1 Harvard University
2 California Institute of Technology
3 Stanford University
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5 Princeton University
6 Yale University
7 University of California, Berkeley
8 University of Chicago
9 ETH Zürich
10 Columbia University
11 University of Pennsylvania
12 University of California, Los Angeles
13 Johns Hopkins University
14 Cornell University
15 University of Michigan
16 Northwestern University
17 University of Toronto
18 Carnegie Mellon University
19 Duke University
20 Georgia Institute of Technology

Robinson_projection_SW
21 University of Tokyo
22 University of Washington
23 University of British Columbia
24 University of Wisconsin-Madison
25 University of Texas at Austin
26 University of Hong Kong
27 National University of Singapore
28 University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
29 McGill University
30 University of California, Santa Barbara
31 University of Minnesota
32 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
33 University of California, San Diego
34 New York University
35 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
36 University of California, Davis
37 Peking University
38 Washington University in St Louis
39 Tsinghua University
40 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
41 Brown University
42 Ohio State University
43 Kyoto University
44 Boston University
45 Seoul National University
46 École Normale Supérieure
47 Pennsylvania State University
48 École Polytechnique
49 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
50 University of Geneva

All pretty clear then.

[picture: Wikimedia Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Robinson_projection_SW.jpg#file ]

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New 2013/14 QS World University Rankings

Latest QS world league table is out

Full details of the rankings can be found at the QS website. A summary of the world top 10 follows where we find MIT retaining the top spot for a second year and four UK universities remain in the top 10:

Global top ten

2013

2012

Institution Country

  1

  1

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT)  USA

  2

  3

HARVARD UNIVERSITY  USA

  3

  2

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE  UK

  4

  4

UCL (UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON)  UK

  5

  6

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON  UK

  6

  5

UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD  UK

  7

  15

STANFORD UNIVERSITY  USA

  8

  7

YALE UNIVERSITY  USA

  9

  8

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO  USA

  10=

  10

CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (CALTECH)  USA

  10=

  9

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY  USA

 

The UK also has 18 universities in the top 100:

Top UK universities

2 University of Cambridge GB
4 UCL (University College London) GB
6 Imperial College London GB
5 University of Oxford GB
17=  21 University of Edinburgh GB
19=  26 King’s College London (KCL) GB
30  28 University of Bristol GB
33  32 The University of Manchester GB
51  54 University of Glasgow GB
62  77 University of Birmingham GB
64  58 The University of Warwick GB
68  69 London School of Economics and Political Science GB
71=  66 The University of Sheffield GB
75=  72 The University of Nottingham GB
83 93 University of St Andrews GB
86=  73 University of Southampton GB
90  92 Durham University GB
97=   94 University of Leeds GB

So no huge movements here but some slight upward shifts for a few UK universities within the top 100.

2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities: Top 20 and UK placings

2013 ARWU University World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

A level results day is an interesting time to publish a world ranking but who are we to criticise.

Anyway, don’t get too excited as it is unlikely the bookies will be losing their shirts on this one. Here is the top 20 in full. It is almost identical to last year’s with only one new entrant at number 20.

1 Harvard University
2 Stanford University
3 University of California, Berkeley
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
5 University of Cambridge
6 California Institute of Technology
7 Princeton University
8 Columbia University
9 University of Chicago
10 University of Oxford
11 Yale University
12 University of California, Los Angeles
13 Cornell University
14 University of California, San Diego
15 University of Pennsylvania
16 University of Washington
17 The Johns Hopkins University
18 University of California, San Francisco
19 University of Wisconsin – Madison
20 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

The full rankings have been published and are now available at the ARWU website

As last year (and the year before that and the year before that) there are really no surprises and almost no movement in the top 20 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the seventh successive year and everyone else just about unchanged too. Probably for the best.

In terms of the UK placings, again very little change with only spme slight upward movement for a few institutions.

1
University of Cambridge 5
2
University of Oxford 10
3
University College London 21
4
The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine 24
5
The University of Manchester 41
6
The University of Edinburgh 51
7
University of Bristol 64
8
King’s College London 67
9
University of Nottingham 83

Let’s hope there will be a tad more excitement with the other league tables from QS and THE later in the year.

Rate your administrator


Rate this, rate that, rate everything

Following the outstanding success of Rate Your Lecturer, which has been overwhelmingly endorsed by right-thinking academics everywhere, it’s time to broaden the assessment. Due to extraordinary demand therefore we are now launching Rate Your Administrator.

RYL

RYA is the site that finally gives users of a range of administrative services and processes a say. RYA is essentially a giant thing with words written on it – so instead of hoping a friend knows how good an administrator is you can visit this site and see reviews put up by other admin fans whilst adding your own. This is the only way to improve administration in the UK whilst holding your administrators to account. Please do take a couple of minutes to add your thoughts on the hot administrative topics that really matter to you.

The starting point for the site is the administrator ratings kindly provided by you, the user of administrative services. Each administrator is rated out of ten on each of the following criteria:

  • core administrative ability
  • nice smile
  • out of hours email response time
  • dress sense
  • patience
  • grammatical skills
  • resilience in the face of adversity
  • tendency to obfuscate.

Once this has been done the administrator is attached to the admin activity that they are being rated for. This is the most important part for the discerning admin user and it is the area which can help to revolutionise universities in this country. Be it minute-writing, HR, planning or just any kind of admin-related activity then you get the chance to see who is best at what.

Crucially, the admin activities page will enable prospective admin users picking their universities to compare administrators on their administrative ability, something that has never been possible before.

The site has received almost unanimous support from both people who have discovered it. So come on – rate your administrator now!

Next up – Rate your parking place.

20 over 500

Youth isn’t everything

Last year it was Times Higher Education but this year it is the turn of QS to produce a ranking of newer universities, presumably on the basis that somehow they suffer in the rankings for not having done enough stuff over their limited histories. Unfortunately, this rather discriminates against older institutions which are also often disadvantaged in the rankings for being, well, old.

So, it’s time to right this wrong by producing the all new top 20 of universities over 500 years old. Let’s hear it for the ancients!

And the good news is that European universities once again dominate and Italy in particular does extremely well. It is also another good year for the University of Bologna, the grandaddy of them all, which is top of the heap for a record-breaking 925th year. Let’s look at the full top 20:

  1. University of Bologna
  2. University of Oxford
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. University of Salamanca
  5. University of Padua
  6. University of Naples
  7. University of Valladolid
  8. University of Murcia
  9. University of Montpelier
  10. University of Macerata
  11. University of Coimbra
  12. University of Alacala
  13. La Sapienza, University of Rome
  14. University of Perugia
  15. University of Florence
  16. University of Camerino
  17. University of Pisa
  18. Charles University of Prague
  19. University of Pavia
  20. Jagiellonian University

Not a huge amount to report here with the top 20 remaining entirely static (as it has done indeed since Poland’s Jagiellonian University opened back in 1364).

Sadly there’s still no place in the top 20 for the august institutions of Heidelberg, Vienna and Turin. And Scotland’s ancients, St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen, also miss out yet again.

Guardian League Table 2014: One or two changes

New Guardian League Table for 2014

Top 20 of the full list (available here) is as follows (last year’s position in brackets):

1 (1) Cambridge
2 (2) Oxford
3 (3) LSE
4 (4) St Andrews
5 (6) UCL
6 (7) Durham
7 (9) Bath
8 (12) Surrey
9 (13) Imperial
10 (5) Warwick
11 (7) Lancaster
12 (10) Exeter
13 (19) Leicester
14 (11) Loughborough
15 (30) Birmingham
16 (17) York
17 (24) UEA
18 (20) Heriot-Watt
19 (15) Edinburgh
20 (22) Kent

The full story on the extraordinary news that Cambridge has held on to top slot for the second year running can be found here. The top 20 is largely unchanged although Birmingham, UEA and Kent are all new entries.

A couple of other comments in the piece are worth noting if only because of the dramatic and bizarre consequences of the methodology on some institutions’ placings:

Lower down the table but still remarkable is the rise of Northampton, which climbs 39 places to 47 (from 86), largely thanks to improved job prospects and the entry standards of its students. And Portsmouth jumps from 78 to 48 this year. The main contributory factor here is a sharp increase in the number of students achieving a first or a 2:1.

It’s less good news at Sussex, which falls from 27th to 50th place as graduates find it hard to secure a job, particularly in philosophy and anthropology. But it’s not all bad news – on the back of extremely high student satisfaction and entry standards, Sussex has climbed to the top of the table for social work.

The biggest fall of all is by Cardiff Met, from 66th to 105th place. This is because of a sharp fall in student satisfaction. The ratios of expenditure and staffing per student also deteriorated.

A Different Kind of Ranking

The new U21 systems ranking.

Following on from last year’s first iteration, U21 has now published its 2013 Rankings report, which is intended to give an overview and ranking of higher education systems across the world. The full report gives much more information about the rankings but in summary:

The project aims to highlight the importance of creating a strong environment for higher education institutions to contribute to economic and cultural development, provide a high-quality experience for students and help institutions compete for overseas applicants.

962013 thumbnail

The 2013 Rankings report retains the methodology of the 2012 Rankings. 22 desirable attributes are grouped under four broad headings: Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output.

The country coverage has been extended to 50 by the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and Serbia. Data quality has improved significantly since 2012, in some cases occasioned by publicity arising from the inaugural Rankings – thus meeting the hope we expressed a year ago.

The top 20 is as follows. As you would expect it is fairly stable with little change since 2012:

1 United States 100.0
2 Sweden 85.2
3 Switzerland 81.6
4 Canada 80.0
5 Denmark 79.8
6 Finland 79.4
7 Netherlands 78.2
8 Australia 77.2
9 Singapore 76.6
10 United Kingdom 74.9
11 Austria 71.8
11 Norway 71.8
13 Belgium 71.0
14 New Zealand 69.7
15 Germany 68.2
16 Hong Kong SAR 67.6
16 France 67.6
18 Ireland 66.8
19 Israel 63.8
20 Spain 60.5

The top 10 countries are the same as in the 2012 Rankings except that Singapore replaces Norway which falls to 12th. The largest changes further down the table largely reflect the acquisition of better data: Malaysia rising from 36th to 27th and Ukraine falling from 25th to 36th.

It remains a distinctive and interesting approach to ranking.

Another dumb ranking

The universities which will make you a millionaire!

Mail Online publishes this insightful piece on the “graduate rich list” which shows you “where to study to make your millions”:

Million pound note

It’s not a real note

A new graduate ‘rich list’ has revealed the universities where students are most likely to become multi-millionaires.

Oxford comes top after producing 401 alumni worth £20million or more, and Cambridge is in second place with 361 – but Cambridge has the most billionaires.

The average super-rich graduate from Cambridge has a fortune of £169million, more than twice as much as Oxford’s ultra-wealthy ex-students.

The full list with some tasty examples is as follows:

1) Oxford – 401 super-rich graduates worth an average £83m each – alumni include Monty Python comedian Michael Palin

2) Cambridge – 361, £169m – including Borat actor Sacha Baron Cohen

3) LSE – 273, £84m – including Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick Jagger

4) Imperial – 127, £67m – including Queen guitarist Brian May

5) London Business School – 106, £99m – including Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry

6) Manchester – 102, £22m – including former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy

7) UCL – 99, £29m – including comic and actor Ricky Gervais

8) Nottingham – 92, £22m – including head of MI5 Sir John Sawers

9) Edinburgh – 80, £52m – including Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy

10) Birmingham – 68, £69m – including Manchester United CEO David Gill

Well, it’s one way to help with that UCAS application.

A not entirely new university ranking

A rather citation heavy ranking from URAP (NB not UKIP).

Apologies for the lateness of this but for some reason I failed to notice this league table which was published last autumn. The University Ranking by Academic Performance website has all the details but the background is as follows:

University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) Research Laboratory was established at Informatics Institute of Middle East Technical University in 2009. Main objective of URAP is to develop a ranking system for the world universities based on academic performances which determined by quality and quantity of scholarly publications. In line with this objective yearly World Ranking of 2000 Higher Education Institutions have been released since 2010.

And the methodology:

URAP ranking system is completely based on objective data obtained from reliable open sources. The system ranks the universities according to multiple criteria. Most of the currently available ranking systems are both size and subject dependent. The URAP research team is currently working on a new methodology which will minimize the impact of size and subject dependency.

The goal of the URAP ranking system is not to label world universities as best or worst. Our intention is to help universities identify potential areas of progress with respect to specific academic performance indicators. Similar to other ranking systems, the URAP system is neither exhaustive nor definitive, and is open to new ideas and improvements. The current ranking system will be continuously upgraded based on our ongoing research and the constructive feedback of our colleagues.

Whilst they don’t want to label universities as best or worst this is a rather inevitable by-product of a ranking I fear. Still, on the positive side, they have sent us a lovely certificate (dated last year but only arrived in my office this week):

A certificate! for the whole University!

A certificate! for the whole University!

I’m sure other rankings will be following suit.

Anyway, here is the list of the top 20 UK universities from URAP:

Country Ranking University Name World Ranking Category Article Citation Total Document JIT JCIT Collaboration Total
1 University of Oxford 7 A++ 91.74 92.72 43.25 73.26 65.72 78.75 445.43
2 University of Cambridge 11 A++ 90.07 91.16 42.34 71.63 65.68 75.32 436.20
3 Imperial College 14 A++ 87.11 87.38 41.91 69.80 60.16 73.23 419.58
4 University College London 18 A++ 85.47 85.05 41.61 69.38 58.96 70.59 411.07
5 University of Manchester 38 A++ 81.52 79.31 39.67 64.23 54.54 65.21 384.47
6 University of Edinburgh 49 A++ 77.64 77.27 37.39 63.42 54.84 65.05 375.62
7 Kings College London 69 A++ 76.74 75.82 37.76 62.70 53.24 58.89 365.15
8 University of Bristol 85 A++ 74.71 74.33 36.00 61.36 51.53 59.04 356.98
9 University of Glasgow 102 A++ 72.45 72.79 35.24 60.31 51.04 59.07 350.89
10 University of Birmingham 108 A+ 73.37 71.68 35.78 60.18 49.75 56.81 347.56
11 University of Nottingham 110 A+ 74.25 71.61 35.79 59.64 49.43 56.31 347.03
12 University of Sheffield 115 A+ 73.53 71.74 35.45 59.59 49.75 55.92 345.96
13 University of Leeds 123 A+ 73.56 71.29 35.28 59.23 49.46 56.25 345.08
14 University of Southampton 128 A+ 73.58 70.73 35.06 59.11 49.06 56.65 344.18
15 University of Liverpool 145 A+ 71.64 69.98 34.50 58.98 48.98 55.95 340.03
16 Cardiff University 152 A+ 70.89 69.54 33.86 58.35 49.22 56.25 338.11
17 University of Newcastle upon Tyne 161 A+ 70.08 70.26 33.94 58.83 49.55 53.95 336.61
18 University of Warwick 212 A+ 70.09 67.90 33.24 57.21 47.74 52.63 328.82
19 University of Leicester 231 A+ 68.26 68.30 32.61 57.40 48.89 51.25 326.70
20 University of Aberdeen 234 A+ 68.00 67.76 32.73 56.79 47.42 53.36 326.05

2014 Complete University Guide League Table

It’s spring and it’s time for the first league table of the season.

The Complete University Guide and league table for 2014 is now out. The details can be found on the Guide website together with lots of other analysis (including by subject, region and mission group)  and information on careers, fees etc.

The main table uses nine indicators: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment, Entry Standards, Student:Staff Ratio; Spending on Academic Services; Spending on Student Facilities; Good Honours degrees achieved; Graduate Prospects and Completion. The Subject tables are based on four: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment; Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects. The results tend to be fairly consistent year on year and there is not huge volatility in this table.

 Rank 2014  Rank 2013
1 (1) Cambridge
2 (3) Oxford
3 (2) LSE
4 (4) Imperial
5 (5) Durham
6 (6) St Andrews
7 (8) UCL
8 (6) Warwick
9 (10) Bath
10 (13) Exeter
11 (9) Lancaster
12 (12) York
13 (22) Surrey
14 (14) Loughborough
15 (11) Bristol
16 (20) Leicester
17 (23) Birmingham
18 (16) Edinburgh
19 (18) King’s
20 (27) UEA
20 (15) Southampton

So, little movement in the top 10 apart from the slight rejig to ensure Oxbridge dominance in the first two places. Glasgow and Nottingham slip out of the top 20 to be replaced by UEA, Birmingham and this year’s start performer at 13, the University of Surrey.

Students ‘swayed by league tables’

Some rather unsurprising research findings here.

The Guardian has a report on the impact of university league tables on prospective students. And in what might be the least surprising research finding of the year to date reports that league tables are influential:

rankings

Prospective students are increasingly influenced by university league tables when deciding where to study, according to research that found rises and falls within league standings provoking sharp changes in numbers of applications.

The research by economists at Royal Holloway, University of London, found that individual departments moving up a subject-level league table experienced a rise in applications of almost 5%, with the increase most pronounced among overseas applicants.

They also found that the influence of league table standings has increased since the introduction of tuition fees, suggesting that students are now more aware of the reputation and relative standings of university departments.

There is more though. Not only do league table rankings influence students and help with applications they are worth paying attention to if you want to protect your position and are going to be even more significant in future:

The authors – Xiaoxuan Jia, a researcher, and Arnaud Chevalier, senior lecturer in economics at Royal Holloway – conclude that universities should take care to guard their rankings, arguing: “Universities cannot afford to neglect their performance on league tables so long as they wish to establish and maintain a consistent reputation to attract the best of students.”

The emphasis on league table rankings is likely to increase as a result of new regulations relaxing the cap on student numbers for universities accepting students achieving AAB or higher in A-levels.

But in what is perhaps the most surprising of all the comments here, there is the proposal is made that resource allocation should be determined using ranking criteria:

The authors even suggest that university administrators “review their resource allocation based on the criteria used to construct those league tables on a regular basis, to improve and sustain their respective ranking performance”.

Just a bit of fun. I hope.

University league tables: buying success?

Australian universities are paying big salaries for rankers
 

Inside Higher Ed has a report on at least a couple of Australian institutions appointing league table specialists:
 

Some Australian universities are paying about $100,000 a year each to employ full-time managers dedicated to working with ranking agencies and developing strategies aimed at climbing league tables.

The University of New South Wales recently advertised for a manager of strategic reputation, while La Trobe University was seeking a manager of institutional rankings. For $100,000, responsibilities included maintaining relationships with ranking agencies to “maximize” or “optimize” their positions in rankings.

Observers say such positions highlight the growing importance of rankings in influencing research and teaching plans. But there are concerns that the professionalized management of rankings risks warping university strategies and may prove more a marketing effort than an effort to boost the substance of an institution’s performance.

 

 
league tables pic
 

The deputy vice chancellor at New South Wales, Les Field, said the position wasn’t new and was part of a team that ensured the information sent to annual data collections and the ranking agencies was accurate.
“It’s essential to have a team dedicated to getting our numbers right as well as providing the analysis on which we can direct the research effort into the future,” Field said. (Several American universities have been ensnared in controversies over their flawed — and in some cases seemingly gamed — reporting of data to rankings organizations. So far Australian universities have not been similarly besmirched.)

Whilst the work to be undertaken by these people in terms of data collection and analysis will undoubtedly be beneficial it is hard to get away from the idea that these appointments sound like an attempt to achieve a quick fix in terms of institutional league table performance. Will it pay off? Given the time lags involved with the data used it will be quite a few years before we find out.

Everything’s gone green

Some positive work on sustainable futures at the University of Nottingham.

In 2012 the University of Nottingham won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development. In the citation for the award the judges noted Nottingham was a “trailblazer” for environmental best practice.

David Walliams applies to join the Estates Office team

David Walliams applies to join the Estates Office team

Now I must admit that I used to be rather skeptical of the idea of ‘greening’ different aspects of university activity. Partly this was down to concern about the additional cost, substantial in many cases, but also doubt that it would have any meaningful impact on sustainability or that prospective students would really be interested in a university’s green credentials.

I got it wrong. This is all for real and it does matter. At the University of Nottingham our sustainability policy has the following aims:

  • Improve the environmental performance of our buildings and the University’s physical infrastructure
  • Ensure all operations and procurements are sustainable
  • Harness the University’s research and teaching strength to improve its environmental performance and advance the environmental agenda
  • Contribute broadly to efforts to protect the environment and ensure those efforts get the recognition they deserve.
Lincoln Hall solar panels

Lincoln Hall solar panels

OK, grand ambitions, but how do these translate into practice? The University has done rather a lot. In terms of travel there has been significant pedestrianisation and cycle lane installation, Ucycle Nottingham and ride-to-work schemes and more public transport and inter-site buses. Moreover, one of the new city tram lines under construction will pass through University park and a parking charging scheme (not universally popular, it has to be said) has been introduced, resulting in a drop in car use.

The grounds management  plan has sustainability and increasing biodiversity of campuses as key requirements. The University has won 10 consecutive Green Flag awards and a Green Gown award for sustainability and, in partnership with the Woodland Trust, planted a ‘Diamond Wood’ in Sutton Bonington in 2012. On waste and re-cycling there have been significant improvements in recycling rates, from 4% in 04/05 to 29% in 08/09, and 87% in 10/11.

In terms of carbon management, the University’s Carbon Management Plan (CMP) was approved in 2010 and includes targets for reductions in emissions of CO2 from energy usage. It identifies the principal areas of energy use and investment programmes required to improve energy efficiency, reduce usage and generate energy from renewable energy sources. In its second year the CMP developed 55 projects requiring a total investment of £1.48 million. The overall benefits identified equate to 2,028 tonnes of CO2 and £350k per annum. In 2010/11 there was a 1.7 % decrease in CO2 and this trend continued in 2011/12 with a 2.3% reduction from 67,454 to 65,901 tonnes CO2 a saving of 1,553 tonnes.

Less positively, planning applications for a three turbine wind farm alongside the Grove Farm sports ground appear to have been stymied for the present by some disappointing decisions by Broxtowe Borough and Nottingham City Councils whose green rhetoric has, unfortunately, not been matched by their actions.

The University currently has 14 BREEAM schemes within the system, the highest within the HE sector: seven ‘BREEAM Excellent’ completed buildings, six buildings where BREEAM Excellent is being targeted during the development process and one ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ for the first carbon neutral laboratory to be built in the UK. The building will achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and LEED ‘Platinum’ and carbon neutral status after 25 years.

On teaching, there is an expectation that sustainability will be built into all curricula and some good progress has been made here, including through the Nottingham Advantage Award.

 Sutton Bonington

Sutton Bonington


The University has a strong research portfolio looking at the fields of environment and sustainability, both in the UK and at our campuses in Asia including for example, the Creative Energy Dwellings, Energy Technologies Research Institute, Green Chemistry, Food Security and Bioenergy. Most recently the announcement of the new GSK laboratory has confirmed Nottingham’s continued commitment to cutting edge research in this area.

The establishment of an Environmental Champions Network, which aims to bring together people from a broad spectrum of Schools and Central Professional Services to share ideas and act as champions to reduce environmental impacts, has been particularly successful in communicating and raising awareness of environmental matters.

There is, of course, a league table which offers ratings of universities’ sustainability efforts. The UI GreenMetric World Universities Ranking has sought to provide a system which allows universities in both the developed and developing world to compare their efforts towards campus sustainability and environmentally friendly university management. Nottingham was ranked second in this table in 2010 and again in 2012, coming first in this world league table in 2011. Note that I am deliberately ignoring the ‘People and Planet’ ranking here because of their extremely dubious and constantly changing methodology and because Nottingham rarely scores well in their table. Sadly, the much loved University Duck Density League , which ranks institutions by the number of waterfowl on campus must be ignored too given the absence of updated data.

So, overall it is a really positive picture here. There is still a long way to go but the public praise is welcome. Going back then to that THE award citation:

in both the innovative approach to estate development and the determination to embed best sustainability practice across the university, Nottingham has again shown the way.

Launch of the nice university league table

New league table: nearly there.

A previous post noted the imminent arrival of the all new European non-ranking ranking. Well now it seems to be nearly complete with only a year to wait until the first ranking is produced. The public launch of the ‘multi-dimensional’ ranking, which is intended to cover a wider range of indicators than the existing main league tables. Whilst research is one of the factors, the ranking will also cover quality of teaching and learning, international orientation, success in knowledge transfer and contribution to regional growth. The core proposition it seems is that this table will somehow not be a ranking and will therefore be nicer than all those other nasty league tables which put institutions in order.

 

 

The press release from the launch noted:

Speaking ahead of the launch, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth said: “Universities are one of Europe’s most successful inventions, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to think and act more strategically to realise the full potential of our universities. To do that, we need better information about what they offer and how well they perform. Existing rankings tend to highlight research achievements above all, but U-Multirank will give students and institutions a clear picture of their performance across a range of important areas. This knowledge will help students to choose the university or college that is best for them. It will also contribute to the modernisation and quality of higher education by enabling universities to identify their strengths or weaknesses and learn from each other’s experience; finally, it will give policy makers a more complete view of their higher education systems so that they can strengthen their country’s performance as a whole.”

A lot of work has gone into the new ranking:
multi

An independent consortium will compile the ranking, led by the Centre for Higher Education (CHE) in Germany and the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in the Netherlands. Partners include the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University (CWTS), information professionals Elsevier, the Bertelsmann Foundation and software firm Folge 3. The consortium will also work with national ranking partners and stakeholder organisations representing students, universities and business to ensure completeness and accuracy.

The ambition is there and the EU investment backs this up. Will it take off? Will the leading universities, who do so well in the current world rankings, want to join in? Will anyone really think it’s a nicer ranking? Time will tell.

University top targets for graduate employers

Flying high.

The Telegraph reports on the results of the latest High Fliers survey of employers which shows the universities targeted by the largest number of top employers in 2012-13. The top 20 is as follows:

1. Warwick

2. Nottingham

3. Manchester

survey13_GM13_fan

4. Cambridge

5. Bristol

6. Durham

7. Oxford

8. Birmingham

9. Bath

10. Leeds

11. Sheffield

12. Imperial College London

13. Loughborough

14. Edinburgh

15. London School of Economics

16. University College London

17. Southampton

18. Newcastle

19. Strathclyde

20. Exeter

Some interesting results there and good news in particular for Warwick and University of Nottingham graduates.

The High Fliers press release has a few other points of note too including the following:

• The outlook for the current recruitment season has improved and employers are expecting to increase their graduate recruitment by 2.7% in 2013.
• Almost half of employers expect to recruit additional graduates in 2013 and a further third plan to maintain their intake at 2012 levels – employers in eleven out of thirteen key industries and employment areas are expecting to take on more new graduates than in 2012.
• Whilst the total number of graduate vacancies is set to increase in 2013, recruiters expect that more than a third of this year’s entry-level positions will be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations – either through internships, industrial placements or vacation work – and therefore are not open to other students from the ‘Class of 2013’.

So perhaps there are grounds for optimism in the graduate employment market.