The Times: 2011 University League Table

2011 University Rankings published by The Times

Not huge changes here with the exception of the remarkable jump by Lancaster, up from outside the top 20 to a top 10 slot. Not entirely clear from the data why this should be.

1 Oxford (1)
2 Cambridge (2)
3 Imperial College (3)
4 St Andrews (4)
5 London School of Economics (7)
6 Durham (8)
7 University College London (5)
8 Warwick (6)
9 York (11)
10 Lancaster (23)
11 Edinburgh (14)
12 Exeter (9)
13 Bath (13)
14 Bristol (10)
15 Leicester (15=)
=16 Loughborough (17)
=16 King’s College London (12)
18 Sheffield (18)
19 Southampton (15=)
20 Nottingham (20)

Make up of the top 20 though is pretty similar to last week’s table in The Independent with one notable exception: there is no place in The Times for the University of Buckingham.

In the subject tables, Oxbridge is, as usual, dominant but there is more to say here:

But excellence in specific subjects is not confined to these old universities. Campus universities created in the 1960s are well represented. Indeed, Warwick and Loughborough lead more tables (three each) than any university outside Oxbridge. Loughborough is ahead of the field in its speciality of sports science, as well as in building and librarianship.Warwick is top for American studies, communication and media studies and drama, dance and cinematics. Nottingham is the only other university to top more than one table, sharing the lead in agriculture with Reading and also heading the ranking for pharmacy.

Full details and subject league tables are available via The Times Good University Guide. Unfortunately, in order to get to them you have to sign up to the new Times website.

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French universities argue over Sorbonne title

“French universities squabble over who has rights to Sorbonne”

The Times has a fascinating report on a dispute among French universities over who has the rights to use the title Sorbonne:

Fights over the Sorbonne, the seat of learning on the Paris Left Bank, usually involve students, riot police and ideology. The latest, however, is among rival chancellors and the city council. This time the stakes are for big money. The dispute is over the right to the name Sorbonne. At least six different universities are locked in a squabble for the brand, which in the eyes of foreigners — but not the French — has a prestige on a par with Oxford or Harvard. While US and British universities have marketed their brands, the underfunded and strike-prone universities of Paris woke up late to the value of the name they share. The trouble began when one of them, Paris IV Sorbonne, opened a branch in Abu Dhabi in 2007 and sold exclusive rights in the Middle East to the name “Paris Sorbonne”.

So far, so bad. But it gets worse:

Now everyone is following suit. About 70 versions of the Sorbonne brand have been registered by six universities, the Mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, and commercial enterprises. The feud took off last year when the universities began banding together with President Sarkozy’s encouragement to create centres of excellence. The state will spend hundreds of millions of euros on the chosen few. Mr Delanoë pointed out that the Sorbonne building belonged to the council. The university bosses and the mayor held a peace meeting last week, agreeing that all Paris universities were heirs to the name and could use variants. But the battle is not over.

Perhaps naively I had assumed that there was just one Sorbonne and that there was some form of regulation in France similar to that in the UK which would prevent this kind of confusion over university titles and names. Evidently not. This sort of dilution of what should be a really prestigious brand can’t do anyone any favours. But it’s pretty difficult to see how they are going to resolve this easily.

Double standards on fees?

“Middle-class students face £7,000 wallop”

Grave anxiety in the Times that middle-class students might have to pay higher contributions post-graduation:

Students from middle-class families may be denied grants and cheap loans and be charged higher tuition fees under a “double whammy” to be considered by a government review of university funding. It could add nearly £7,000 a year to the cost of university for a student from a family with an income of £50,000 a year.

The higher charges are being advocated after Lord Mandelson, the first secretary of state, announced £950m of cuts to higher education. Costs are expected to increase, whoever wins the general election. Lord Browne, the chairman of the government review, has the task of producing more money for universities without extra cost to the taxpayer and is expected to look favourably on cuts to what critics claim are middle-class subsidies.

Pure speculation of course but difficult to feel a huge amount of sympathy for this special pleading, especially in the light of another piece in the same edition of the paper which explains how much middle-class parents are prepared to stump up for extra tuition:

As many as half the children in London have received private tuition as parents become more and more desperate to win places at the best schools, new research has found. The latest edition of the Good Schools Guide has found the recession has had no apparent effect on parents’ willingness to pay between £20- £40 an hour to top up their children’s education.

The boom is being fuelled both by parents’ ambitions for children to win places at the best universities and by a glut of unemployed graduates tutoring part-time while they look for a full-time job. Tuition agencies report growth of 15%-100% last year, with popularity growing quickly in cities such as Birmingham and Manchester as well as in the traditional heartlands of London and the southeast.

Double standards?

Table of table of tables

Table of tables

A composite university league table derived from the four domestic league tables has been prepared by THE.

It is presented as a real labour-saving device:

With so many national newspaper league tables, it can be difficult to keep track of the results.

Certainly can, but luckily

a source has amalgamated the available data for Times Higher Education to produce the definitive table of tables. It combines rankings produced by The Independent, The Guardian, The Times and The Sunday Times.

The results are…

1 Oxford
2 Cambridge
3 Imperial
4 StAndrews
5 Warwick
6 UCL
7 LSEmast_blank
8 Durham
9 York
10 Bath
11 Edinburgh
12= Exeter
12= Loughborough
14 Southampton
15 Bristol
16 King’s College
17= Lancaster
17= Leicester
19 Nottingham
20 Glasgow

So, no huge surprises there. Wisely though, THE “acknowledges the methodological limitations”. Bit of an understatement that.

The Times: 2010 University League Table

Latest UK university league table has been published by The Times (last year’s ranking in brackets):

1 Oxford (1)
2 Cambridge (2)
3 Imperial College (3)
4 St Andrews (5)
5 University College London (7)
6 Warwick (6)
7 London School of Economics (4)
8 Durham (8)
9 Exeter (13)
10 Bristol (10)
11 York (9)
12 King’s College London (11)
13 Bath (15)
14 Edinburgh (18)
15 Leicester (14)
15 Southampton (16=)
17 Loughborough (12)
18 Sheffield (22)
19 Glasgow (20=)
20 Nottingham (16=)

Not a huge amount of movement since 2009 with the Top 20 largely unchanged although the press release draws attention to some modest changes:

The biggest climbers at the top of the table include Liverpool (up from 34 to 28), Leeds (from 31 to 27), Sheffield (from 22 to 18), Edinburgh (from 18 to 14) and Exeter (from 13 to nine). Lower down the tables, big climbers include Cumbria (from 99 to 83), Hertfordshire (from 79 to 66), York St John (from 91 to 80) and De Montfort (from 77 to 67), Bedfordshire (from 89 to 71), Lincoln (from 103 to 86) and UWIC Cardiff (from 85 to 76)

The strict demarcation line between pre- and post-92 institutions seems to remain as strong as ever though with no newer universities making it into the top 50. A very different picture to the recent Guardian table.