Russell Group? Watch

callum_r
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Hi guys,

Just wondering, why isn't Kent university a Russell Group University? It was built around the same time as Warwick and York, yet it isn't actually a RG university.

Was it a bit slower to get it's feet off the ground? Looking at current rankings (lightly) they seem to be trumping RG uni's in a lot of things.

I know RG uni's and academic excellence aren't always synonymous, but it made me wonder why Kent hasn't got the title of a RG university.

If anyone does have an idea (perhaps Kent students) I'd love to hear a reply

Thanks!
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callum_r
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jwhitehead94
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A few people I spoke to from the university actually said that it was invited to join the Russell Group but declined. It's strange as I too expected them to be Russell Group.
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River85
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(Original post by callum_r)
Hi guys,

Just wondering, why isn't Kent university a Russell Group University? It was built around the same time as Warwick and York, yet it isn't actually a RG university.

Was it a bit slower to get it's feet off the ground? Looking at current rankings (lightly) they seem to be trumping RG uni's in a lot of things.
Because the Russell Group is a collection of large research intensive universities. The 1994 Group was a group of smaller research intensive universities. Kent was a member of neither. It is far too small to be a member of the Russell Group, its research income and output just does not compare to large civics such as Manchester, Bristol and so on. It was possibly invented to the join the 1994 Group at some point, but chose to remain unaffiliated, but I doubt it.

I know RG uni's and academic excellence aren't always synonymous, but it made me wonder why Kent hasn't got the title of a RG university
Well, they are! In a sense...I challenge you to name a "poor" or "average" university that is a member of the RG!
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The Champion.m4a
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(Original post by River85)
Because the Russell Group is a collection of large research intensive universities. The 1994 Group was a group of smaller research intensive universities. Kent was a member of neither. It is far too small to be a member of the Russell Group, its research income and output just does not compare to large civics such as Manchester, Bristol and so on. It was possibly invented to the join the 1994 Group at some point, but chose to remain unaffiliated, but I doubt it.
Is Kent not at least of a similar size to Exeter or the LSE are?
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River85
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
Is Kent not at least of a similar size to Exeter or the LSE are?
In terms of research power and quality, it's well behind LSE. Figures are obviously out of date now but I seem to recalled following the 2008 RAE LSE ranked in the top 5 for research power, Kent was in the 30s.

LSE's research income has always been amongst the lowest of Russell Group universities, because it's a specialist social science institution and it's the sciences, and large medical schools, that attract the largest sums of funding. But there's no denying the quality and volume of the research it produces.

Exeter, probably not far ahead, but Exeter is still a large university with greater income. I have no up to date figures on things like research income though.
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callum_r
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(Original post by River85)
In terms of research power and quality, it's well behind LSE. Figures are obviously out of date now but I seem to recalled following the 2008 RAE LSE ranked in the top 5 for research power, Kent was in the 30s.

LSE's research income has always been amongst the lowest of Russell Group universities, because it's a specialist social science institution and it's the sciences, and large medical schools, that attract the largest sums of funding. But there's no denying the quality and volume of the research it produces.

Exeter, probably not far ahead, but Exeter is still a large university with greater income. I have no up to date figures on things like research income though.
Recent figures put Kent as 8th in the RAE's research intensity for law. It seems to be doing well in other areas too. http://results.ref.ac.uk/Results/ByHei/120
But i'm not sure how to read those statistics brilliantly so any input would help!
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callum_r
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(Original post by River85)
Because the Russell Group is a collection of large research intensive universities. The 1994 Group was a group of smaller research intensive universities. Kent was a member of neither. It is far too small to be a member of the Russell Group, its research income and output just does not compare to large civics such as Manchester, Bristol and so on. It was possibly invented to the join the 1994 Group at some point, but chose to remain unaffiliated, but I doubt it.



Well, they are! In a sense...I challenge you to name a "poor" or "average" university that is a member of the RG!
Sorry, I know they all meet a certain requirement that is obviously above 'average'! I guess what I meant was that they do do well, but then so do smaller universities like Kent in a lot of the same areas. Which brings me back to my question of if Kent are achieving this same level of 'academic excellence' then why don't they share the same title
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River85
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(Original post by callum_r)
Recent figures put Kent as 8th in the RAE's research intensity for law. It seems to be doing well in other areas too. http://results.ref.ac.uk/Results/ByHei/120
But i'm not sure how to read those statistics brilliantly so any input would help!
Yeah, but all universities have their strengths, which is exactly the difficulty with comparing universities (particularly large multi-faculty universities of differing strengths, or a mf university and specialist institution). Kent certainly does have departments producing research that is high in quality and/or volume,. but, overall, it does not

(Original post by callum_r)
Sorry, I know they all meet a certain requirement that is obviously above 'average'! I guess what I meant was that they do do well, but then so do smaller universities like Kent in a lot of the same areas. Which brings me back to my question of if Kent are achieving this same level of 'academic excellence' then why don't they share the same title
Well it's not a "title". It's just membership of a lobbying group. A lobbying group set up over 20 years ago to protect the interests of the large research intensive universities, and there were (and still are) far larger universities than Kent. Nowhere has the RG ever claimed to be a collection of the "best" universities, although the media have portrayed it in that way.

Durham, LSE, Warwick, York...they weren't in the Russell Group ten years ago (Warwick was a member of both, until entering the RG exclusively around 2007, Durham and York weren't in the RG even five years ago!).

There's no need to be so concerned by whether it's a member or not. Universities have been invited in the past but chosen not to join. For example, I'm told Durham was a member of the initial London meetings of universities which ultimately led to the creation of the Russell Group. However, when it came to the creation of a formal group, Durham chose not to join. Instead it joined the 1994 Group (which was created in the same year, as a response to the Russell Group) only becoming a RG member in 2012.

Like I said, Kent would never have been a member of the Russell Group as its size and research income does no match the likes of the redbricks, for example. Why it was never a member of the 1994 Group I can't say, nor do I know Kent's performance in the mid 90s to early 00s. It may be that university management chose to remain unaffiliated. But membership of the Russell Group wouldn't have been a realistic aspiration and it comes down to size.
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Blitzkrieg15
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(Original post by callum_r)
Hi guys,

Just wondering, why isn't Kent university a Russell Group University? It was built around the same time as Warwick and York, yet it isn't actually a RG university.

Was it a bit slower to get it's feet off the ground? Looking at current rankings (lightly) they seem to be trumping RG uni's in a lot of things.

I know RG uni's and academic excellence aren't always synonymous, but it made me wonder why Kent hasn't got the title of a RG university.

If anyone does have an idea (perhaps Kent students) I'd love to hear a reply

Thanks!

Have you seen the state of Kent's World ranking? 411 in the QS World ranking. What business would a university of that ilk have in the Russell Group? If it did join tomorrow, I reckon Oxbridge would jump ship the same day, and quite quickly the whole group would collapse in the midst of mediocrity. There are already murmurings on a few too many average universities being members amongst Vice Chancellors. Liverpool and Queen Mary get the bare brunt of it.
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Muttley79
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The Russell Group is a 'club' - you have to want to join to be designated part of it. Lots of good unis aren't part of it as some value teaching students more than just their own 'personal' research. (I did graduate from a RG uni)

It means very little to belong to this 'club'; some people are too obsessed with this status without really understanding what it actually means.
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Blitzkrieg15
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(Original post by Muttley79)
The Russell Group is a 'club' - you have to want to join to be designated part of it. Lots of good unis aren't part of it as some value teaching students more than just their own 'personal' research. (I did graduate from a RG uni)

It means very little to belong to this 'club'; some people are too obsessed with this status without really understanding what it actually means.
Most people will research what the Russell Group represents - 24 of the most research intensive UK universities - many of which do very well in World rankings. Bath and St Andrews are notable omissions.
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Muttley79
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Being 'research intensive' does not mean you will get good teaching.

Ask who teaches the Freshers ... or even the undergrads. Some of these researchers are far too focussed on research to deal with students.
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Blitzkrieg15
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Being 'research intensive' does not mean you will get good teaching.

Ask who teaches the Freshers ... or even the undergrads. Some of these researchers are far too focussed on research to deal with students.
Correct, that is life. Some lecturers couldn't care less and will give you some attitude for even seeking their help in their office. Their jobs are decided by the quality of research output, not on their teaching ability.
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Champagne Supernova
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(Original post by River85)
Yeah, but all universities have their strengths, which is exactly the difficulty with comparing universities (particularly large multi-faculty universities of differing strengths, or a mf university and specialist institution). Kent certainly does have departments producing research that is high in quality and/or volume,. but, overall, it does not.
This, pretty much.

When I was there, Law was one of the flagship courses and given the most focus purely based on the research/quality of staff and teaching there. The rest of the uni has a lot of catching up to do in terms of research - but it does make up for that with a whole number of factors.
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Blitzkrieg15
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Personally, I think Royal Holloway, and perhaps Leicester, should gain entry into the Russell Group.
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