What has caused Bristol, Edinburgh and Nottingham's decline? Watch

ScotBank16
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Before, these three universities used to dominate domestic league tables:


Why do you think they have fallen?

In the CUG (2018), Bristol now ranks 17th, Nottingham ranks 18th and Edinburgh 23d.
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Edulcorante
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Of the three unis you mention, I’ve only seen Bristol being talked of as being in “decline”. What the reasons are for that cannot say. It’s always looked excellent to me.

Nottingham has done a lot to extend its global reach in recent years, and that may have been to the detriment undergraduate teaching. Doesn’t stop the place from being a great option with a beautiful campus, though.

Edinburgh is massive and it’s a truly global uni. My impression of it is that it’d be a better place to pursue graduate study than to be an undergraduate. Domestic tables tend to focus on unis in terms of how good they are for undergraduates, so that might have a bearing. Not sure how that would make it decline, though.
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ScotBank16
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(Original post by Edulcorante)
Of the three unis you mention, I’ve only seen Bristol being talked of as being in “decline”. What the reasons are for that cannot say. It’s always looked excellent to me.

Nottingham has done a lot to extend its global reach in recent years, and that may have been to the detriment undergraduate teaching. Doesn’t stop the place from being a great option with a beautiful campus, though.

Edinburgh is massive and it’s a truly global uni. My impression of it is that it’d be a better place to pursue graduate study than to be an undergraduate. Domestic tables tend to focus on unis in terms of how good they are for undergraduates, so that might have a bearing. Not sure how that would make it decline, though.
Yeh I guess I am looking at it from a solely domestic league table lens. I'm just surprised because Bristol/Edinburgh used to feature in the top half of the top 10 and now barely make it into the top 20/25.
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Edulcorante
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No, yours is a perfectly fair question. The only answer I can come up with is that it’s probably a mixture of those three unis getting less good at the things that are measured in the tables you mentioned and other unis getting better at them. The introduction (a few years back, I think) of a metric that measures how good students think the teaching they have received might have had an impact as well.
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KeirCKF
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Nottingham has established campus in Malaysia and Mainland China, and since they produce the exact same degree qualification from UK but rather lower entry requirement, it makes the average score of entry requirement of three campus together decline.
But this is only the reason they drop ranking for entry requirement, the ranking of entry requirement shows no direct causation of the overall ranking especially in QS ranking and THE ranking.
And I personally do not acknowledge ranking table from CGU, Guardians, and Sunday Times, the methodology is dubious and not very practical.
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ScotBank16
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(Original post by KeirCKF)
Nottingham has established campus in Malaysia and Mainland China, and since they are produce the exact same degree qualification from UK but rather lower entry requirement, it makes the average score of entry requirement of three campus together decline.
But this is only the reason they drop ranking for entry requirement, the ranking of entry requirement shows no direction causation of the overall ranking especially in QS ranking and THE ranking.
And I personally do not acknowledge ranking table from CGU, Guardians, and Sunday Times, the methodology is dubious and not very practical.
So are you saying that Nottingham's non-UK campuses have lower entry standards?
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KeirCKF
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(Original post by ScotBank16)
So are you saying that Nottingham's non-UK campuses have lower entry standards?
Yep.

By using this approach, the university in the future can easily get higher score among all sections in QS ranking, such as international faculty, number of citation, and employment reputation. Sacrificing entry standard score to boost the other sections is totally worth it.
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jelly1000
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(Original post by ScotBank16)
Before, these three universities used to dominate domestic league tables:


Why do you think they have fallen?

In the CUG (2018), Bristol now ranks 17th, Nottingham ranks 18th and Edinburgh 23d.
I wonder if the recent spate of student deaths at Bristol has anything to do with Bristol's decline.
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KingBach12
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Nottingham sacrificed its prestige and entry standards to get more money (ie students).

Bit of a shame really, reputation takes decades to build but can be destroyed in a few years.
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beatles17
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I posted this in another thread, but I think it's worth posting on here too.

Don't choose one university over another just because it's ranked 5 or 10 or 15 places higher in media league tables. That just means it does better on a (annually changing) set of metrics devised by a team of journalists, most of which are extraneous to the university's actual prestige/reputation that's been built for decades before you were even born. Or it means the higher ranked university has some sort of meticulous agenda to do well on those metrics (which I'd be suspicious of). Universities can move up and down by as much as 10 places (or more) every year. By all means aim for a reputable university, but if you go somewhere currently ranked 7th, nothing can guarantee it won't fall to 27th by the time you graduate.

In a few years time Manchester and KCL might end up ranking 3rd and 4th behind Oxbridge in all the rankings and St. Andrews and Durham might be pushed out of the top 20. Either way it doesn't matter, unless it's Oxbridge just go wherever you like (although I would say as a general rule, RG > non-RG).

It's also worth bearing in mind that people went to university before these media league tables existed, and will have a different opinion on what the 'good' universities actually are, especially job interviewers.
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ScotBank16
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(Original post by beatles17)
I posted this in another thread, but I think it's worth posting on here too.

Don't choose one university over another just because it's ranked 5 or 10 or 15 places higher in media league tables. That just means it does better on a (annually changing) set of metrics devised by a team of journalists, most of which are extraneous to the university's actual prestige/reputation that's been built for decades before you were even born. Or it means the higher ranked university has some sort of meticulous agenda to do well on those metrics (which I'd be suspicious of). Universities can move up and down by as much as 10 places (or more) every year. By all means aim for a reputable university, but if you go somewhere currently ranked 7th, nothing can guarantee it won't fall to 27th by the time you graduate.

In a few years time Manchester and KCL might end up ranking 3rd and 4th behind Oxbridge in all the rankings and St. Andrews and Durham might be pushed out of the top 20. Either way it doesn't matter, unless it's Oxbridge just go wherever you like (although I would say as a general rule, RG > non-RG).

It's also worth bearing in mind that people went to university before these media league tables existed, and will have a different opinion on what the 'good' universities actually are, especially job interviewers.
where's your proof that metrics change annually every year? And you do realise that for rankings like The Guardian (Intelligent Metrix) and Complete University Guide (Mayfield University Consultants) that they are compiled independently? The Times and Sunday Times is the only one where it is compiled by journalists, however it's the one which has existed the longest.

And lol, there's no way that Manchester and King's would ever do well enough in a domestic league table to do so. League tables have existed for 20+ years and neither Manchester or King's have ever come even close to entering the top 10. Their current long-term strategies will not see them rise in domestic league tables as well.
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beatles17
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(Original post by ScotBank16)
where's your proof that metrics change annually every year? And you do realise that for rankings like The Guardian (Intelligent Metrix) and Complete University Guide (Mayfield University Consultants) that they are compiled independently? The Times and Sunday Times is the only one where it is compiled by journalists, however it's the one which has existed the longest.

And lol, there's no way that Manchester and King's would ever do well enough in a domestic league table to do so. League tables have existed for 20+ years and neither Manchester or King's have ever come even close to entering the top 10. Their current long-term strategies will not see them rise in domestic league tables as well.
The CUG has only been around for 10 years (which is not a long time in the scheme of things), I don't think it's particularly established/respected. Manchester and Kings are 12 and 20 times older than the CUG respectively. As for the Guardian, nobody takes their rankings seriously.

You can't predict the future. At the same time it doesn't matter that Kings/Manchester aren't close to the top 10, or never have been. Frankly I think you'd have to be mad to pick Loughborough or Surrey over those two.
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Bobbyfloater
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Bristol and Edinburgh are about the nicest places to live of any UK university and attract a very high % of private school kids. They seem to have little difficulty finding jobs after.
Bristol medical school has by far the highest number of applicants in the UK, about 5000. Edinburgh has very high entrance requirements for med too.
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ScotBank16
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(Original post by beatles17)
The CUG has only been around for 10 years (which is not a long time in the scheme of things), I don't think it's particularly established/respected. Manchester and Kings are 12 and 20 times older than the CUG respectively. As for the Guardian, nobody takes their rankings seriously.

You can't predict the future. At the same time it doesn't matter that Kings/Manchester aren't close to the top 10, or never have been. Frankly I think you'd have to be mad to pick Loughborough or Surrey over those two.
\The creators of the CUG (Mayfield University Consultants) compiled the Times University Guide until 2006. The reason they were able to gain credibility was because they were the same organisation which had years of experience making their league tables. The Guardian's league table is the most well-read out of the three domestic league tables.

I can use information and trends to predict the future, and there is no way King's or Manchester would ever be 3rd or 4th in a domestic league table. Never did I endorse using league tables as the sole criteria to choose universities as well.

I am addressing all the incorrect statements you made in your post.
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04MR17
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Geology?:dontknow:
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Snufkin
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Nottingham was soooo popular when I was at sixth form, half the year applied there. No idea why, unis come into and go out of fashion all the time.
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ScotBank16
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(Original post by Snufkin)
Nottingham was soooo popular when I was at sixth form, half the year applied there. No idea why, unis come into and go out of fashion all the time.
when did you go to uni if you dont mind me asking?
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Exceptional
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I go to Nottingham and asked our new Vice-Chancellor about this a couple of months ago.

Part of her response:

"However, having also worked closely with the Times Higher Education magazine (as editorial board member and prize judge) for a number of years, I have had many opportunities to see how the tables are constructed and how the data is mined for them. In many ways the balance of percentages for each category is arbitrary, and ‘reputation surveys’ are almost entirely subjective and random. Most league tables (the Guardian aside) are driven by metrics around research.

Having said all that, the metrics themselves do tell us something (research income per FTE, field-weighted citations, etc) and as part of our ambitions as a research-intensive university, we need to understand how we are performing against those data points, among other things. Without being entirely driven by the metrics, we need to recognise and deal with any areas of underperformance or downward trends, as well as doing what we can to encourage success. This always requires the efforts of everyone in the University and is hugely reliant on local leadership in discipline areas, institutes and centres. I know that Jessica Corner has all this in her sights as PVC R&I and the recent decision to drive forward our new research strategy is underpinned by a need to improve performance continuously."

So, it seems like something the University wants to tackle, perhaps by focusing more on research and international league tables than the metrics used by the Guardian.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by ScotBank16)
when did you go to uni if you dont mind me asking?
I was talking about the UCAS 2009 application cycle.
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ScotBank16
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(Original post by Exceptional)
I go to Nottingham and asked our new Vice-Chancellor about this a couple of months ago.

Part of her response:

"However, having also worked closely with the Times Higher Education magazine (as editorial board member and prize judge) for a number of years, I have had many opportunities to see how the tables are constructed and how the data is mined for them. In many ways the balance of percentages for each category is arbitrary, and ‘reputation surveys’ are almost entirely subjective and random. Most league tables (the Guardian aside) are driven by metrics around research.

Having said all that, the metrics themselves do tell us something (research income per FTE, field-weighted citations, etc) and as part of our ambitions as a research-intensive university, we need to understand how we are performing against those data points, among other things. Without being entirely driven by the metrics, we need to recognise and deal with any areas of underperformance or downward trends, as well as doing what we can to encourage success. This always requires the efforts of everyone in the University and is hugely reliant on local leadership in discipline areas, institutes and centres. I know that Jessica Corner has all this in her sights as PVC R&I and the recent decision to drive forward our new research strategy is underpinned by a need to improve performance continuously."

So, it seems like something the University wants to tackle, perhaps by focusing more on research and international league tables than the metrics used by the Guardian.
Ah would be interesting to read this more, did they publish this online?

But reputation surveys are only present in international rankings and not in domestic rankings and Nottingham appears to be pretty static in international league tables. Also in research, it ranked 24th in the 2008 RAE, now it ranks 26th in the REF 2014.
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