The University of Nottingham has performed reasonably well in the latest UK national League tables, improving its position in the Guardian University Guide to 21st and in the independent Complete University Guide to 17th, a rise of five and two places respectively. It was not good news all round, though, as the University had dropped four places in the most recent Times Good University Guide to 20th.
While the trend shows an improvement overall, it is still disconcerting to think that a University which until 2003 regularly featured within the top ten Universities in the country should now be ranked so poorly. Recent years have seen the likes of Loughborough University and the University of Exeter overtake us in many of the rankings, a trend that shows the increased competitiveness throughout the best institutions in the country as well as our recent decline, rankings-wise.
The usefulness of league tables as a means of measuring the overall quality of a university is definitely in question. For example, the Guardian league tables place a large amount of emphasis on the National Student Survey, and doesn’t take research into account – a factor which “lead(s) to some oddities” according to prolific tweeter Paul Greatrix, University of Nottingham Registrar. A large emphasis is also put on the level of spending per student, perhaps opening the table up for universities to ‘buy’ a few extra places up the leaderboard.
At the very least, the tables indicate that we are firmly in the top ten Universities in the country in terms of employability, ahead of Bristol, Warwick and St. Andrews, amongst others.
Perhaps more importantly, Nottingham isn’t even included on Burger King’s ‘BK(Hons) A-List’ table, which sees universities ranked by the number of A-list celebrities that they have churned out. That list was topped, unsurprisingly, by Cambridge and Oxford.