Today saw the publication of the first combined The Times and The Sunday Times University Guide 2014 (£), in which the University of Birmingham was named University of the Year, along with strong performances from Bath and Coventry (also named Modern University of the Year). Looking at the methodology for the new combined guide, with higher weightings on student satisfaction (NSS) and research quality (RAE 2008), it looks similar to the original Times methodology rather than the Sunday Times. Whilst generally sceptical of the plethora of university rankings and league tables, I wholeheartedly agree with Phil Baty (Editor-at-Large, THE) — it seems bizarre to reward universities for dishing out a higher proportion of first and upper second class degrees, as this metric can be trivially improved.
As always, there are familiar institutions in the top 10 of the Computer Science category; due to the similarity in methodology, I’ve compared this new combined table to last year’s Times table (but it is also worth comparing to the 2013 Sunday Times table). I’ve also added another column to compare to the position in the overall table:
|1.||1.||↔||University of Cambridge||1.|
|2.||2.||↔||Imperial College London||5.|
|3.||5.||↑||University of St Andrews||4.|
|4.||3.||↓||University of Oxford||2.|
|5.||8.||↑||University of Southampton||20.|
|6.||14.||↑||University of Birmingham||16.|
|7.||4.||↓||University of Bristol||15.|
|8.||7.||↓||University of Glasgow||25.|
|9.||11.||↑||University of Bath||7.|
|10.||10.||↔||University of Edinburgh||22.|
And the rankings for Wales:
|66.||72.||↑||Cardiff Metropolitan University||87.|
N.B. there was no data available for the University of South Wales (formed from the recent merger between University of Glamorgan and University of Wales, Newport) or the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (formed from the recent merger between University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan University).
While there have been some significant drops in ranking for a number of Welsh institutions (most likely to due to student satisfaction scores), this does not seem to correlate with the 2014 Guardian University Guide from June (which also places a high value on the NSS). However, it is encouraging to see Cardiff just outside the top 20.