Russell Group - Why the condusion? Watch

River85
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Is it just me or do the media seem completely incapable of knowing the members of the Russell Group? The number of times I've read (particularly in the Grauniad, Independent and BBC website/ceefax) that Durham or St Andrews were part of the Russell Group is ridiculous

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/ed...es-503197.html

""members of the Russell group of elite universities, which includes Oxford,LSE Cambridge, Bristol, Manchester, Durham and Imperial College London, wanted to be allowed to charge at least £4,000 a year." The Guardian, 20th of March, 2003

It's probably because they are arguable seen as elite unis, therefore expected to be in the Russell Group, but it's not as if it's difficult to check. It's part of a greater confusion about higher education (I read one BBC article that claimed the Royal Agricultural College was in London)? Am I the only one to feel that the media are clueless about higher education?
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River85
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(Original post by imtired)
But it's three years old, i'm guessing all this has now been dismissed, were they just trying to scare students then?
It was when top up fees came in. There was talk then about brining in variable top up fees (basically unis could charge whatever they like). As far as I know this hasn't been dismissed. I doubt it will happen and, if it doesn, not for a good number of years.

Anyway, you see the media making mistakes every day. We are humans and not infallibe. It just seems as though there's a fair amound of misinformation and confusion about higher education in particular. Strange considering most of the professionals involved in the media are graduates.
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Quady
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Variable top up fees are in operation, Unis are only capped at three grand.
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steelmole
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The media are always clueless about everything. If you have anything like specialist knowledge you know more than them.

(yes, I know your point is why don't they do some proper fact checking, I totally agree with that)
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River85
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(Original post by Quady)
Variable top up fees are in operation, Unis are only capped at three grand.
Well, "proper", uncapped, variable tution fees.

It was only recently that top up fees came in (2006) I mean I'm still an undergrad and paying under the old rules (£1,200). It'll be a few more years until we see the "elite" charging 10k a year, if we ever do.
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Quady
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The review is in 2009 I believe, so could be Sep '10. Probably the cap will be raised to say 6k.

I know its still wrong but at least Durham is in a group, the '1994 group', w00pw00p!
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River85
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(Original post by Quady)
I know its still wrong but at least Durham is in a group, the '1994 group', w00pw00p!
And St Andrews (and Reading :p: ). York is another uni that often gets called a Russell Group uni.

Special Warwick is in both.
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River85
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Hmmm...If I leave Durham this summer without a degree (which is a possiblity) I will be starting uni education (again) in Sept/Oct 2010. I blummin hope I don't have to pay 6k a year.
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Quady
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Yes I don't mind being called Russell Group, suprised York/Bath/Durham arn't in it
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ChemistBoy
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(Original post by Quady)
Yes I don't mind being called Russell Group, suprised York/Bath/Durham arn't in it
Well, when you realise what the Russell Group is for then it's obvious why small universities like Durham aren't in it.
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Quady
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No, your right I've not really understood what its purpose is. Always seen it as a union of Unis to push through their agenda. But I've no idea how it formed etc

'The purpose of The Russell Group is to provide thought leadership and strategic direction for the 20 major research intensive universities of the UK'

Suprises me Sheffield/Newcastle were considered more research intensive than Durham. But I don't know much about Sheffield/Newcastle.
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River85
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(Original post by ChemistBoy)
Well, when you realise what the Russell Group is for then it's obvious why small universities like Durham aren't in it.
Exactly. That's why I found it so strange that the media keep making the mistake (many obviously do think it's just a name for "the elite" and not a group of large research intensive unis). It seems odd to think that anyone would think small(ish) unis like York, Durham or St Andrews are part of the group if they are aware of the group's founding and significance.
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rapha
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(Original post by River85)
Hmmm...If I leave Durham this summer without a degree (which is a possiblity) I will be starting uni education (again) in Sept/Oct 2010. I blummin hope I don't have to pay 6k a year.
Why would you not finish your degree?
Do you regret your course choice? Or have you not done very well at it?
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ChemistBoy
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(Original post by River85)
Exactly. That's why I found it so strange that the media keep making the mistake (many obviously do think it's just a name for "the elite" and not a group of large research intensive unis). It seems odd to think that anyone would think small(ish) unis like York, Durham or St Andrews are part of the group if they are aware of the group's founding and significance.
It just goes to show that even people whose job it is to have an interesting in the higher education sector carry misinformed ideas about what it is. Sadly, education journalists in this country are amongst the most biased politically if it suits them to see the Russell Group as the 'ivy league' then they will do that, even if it means changing the membership to suit their version of what that group should be.
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River85
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(Original post by Quady)
Suprises me Sheffield/Newcastle were considered more research intensive than Durham. But I don't know much about Sheffield/Newcastle.
Newcastle (and Sheffield) are large (and well ranked, reputable) universities and certainly are research intensive. Durham is still research intensive but it can't match the many of the RG members in terms of research and contract funding.

You have to remember that whilst Durham is a well respected, prestigious university it's arguably a uni specialiising in (largely) excellent undergraduate teaching and not research so much (although it still has its areas of international class research). It just doesn't have the size.

It often joins up with Newcastle in terms of scientific (particularly stem cell) research (where Newcastle are amongst the world leaders, I believe).
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ChemistBoy
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(Original post by River85)
Newcastle (and Sheffield) are large (and well ranked, reputable) universities and certainly are research intensive. Durham is still research intensive but it can't match the many of the RG members in terms of research and contract funding.

You have to remember that whilst Durham is a well respected, prestigious university it's arguably a uni specialiising in (largely) excellent undergraduate teaching and not research so much (although it still has its areas of international class research). It just doesn't have the size.

It often joins up with Newcastle in terms of scientific (particularly stem cell) research (where Newcastle are amongst the world leaders, I believe).
It's not really that the small universities aren't research-focussed or don't have good research, more that the big universities have quantity and therefore get between them the lion's share of the research money, the large universities are generally going to have less 'gaps' in their research portfolio and even undergraduate teaching. One only has to look at small universities like St Andrews to see that, whilst their research and teaching are generally excellent they only offer a relatively limited number of courses and only research certain things. Obviously there are then Oxford and Cambridge where there is a limited number of courses available (relatively speaking) but there are a large number of research institutions so there 'gaps' in research are small even if the gaps in teaching are not (mostly for traditional reasons I should think).
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River85
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(Original post by ChemistBoy)
if it suits them to see the Russell Group as the 'ivy league' then they will do that, even if it means changing the membership to suit their version of what that group should be.
Lol, yes, I suppose so. I always cringe whenever I hear it described as our Ivy League.

(Original post by rapha)
Why would you not finish your degree?
Do you regret your course choice? Or have you not done very well at it?
Various complicated personal and health reasons that go back a number of years. I don't find the work particularly hard, there are no problems there (low to mid 2:1s in most modules. Not bad considering my health issues). I'm just feeling burned out and lacking motivation after what has happened. I'll probably be fine, even if it means having a year out next year.
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River85
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[QUOTE=ChemistBoy]It's not really that the small universities aren't research-focussed or don't have good research, more that the big universities have quantity and therefore get between them the lion's share of the research moneyQUOTE]

I didn't mean to suggest that the smaller universities (especially the 1994 group) don't have good research but more the difference in size (quantitiy) means there's that gap in funding.
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AdamTJ
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(Original post by ChemistBoy)
It's not really that the small universities aren't research-focussed or don't have good research, more that the big universities have quantity and therefore get between them the lion's share of the research money, the large universities are generally going to have less 'gaps' in their research portfolio and even undergraduate teaching. One only has to look at small universities like St Andrews to see that, whilst their research and teaching are generally excellent they only offer a relatively limited number of courses and only research certain things. Obviously there are then Oxford and Cambridge where there is a limited number of courses available (relatively speaking) but there are a large number of research institutions so there 'gaps' in research are small even if the gaps in teaching are not (mostly for traditional reasons I should think).
I think that's spot on. St Andrews and Durham are both excellent at the research they do- but because they are relatively small universities they just can't match the quantity of research output of bigger places.
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thyssen1207
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Birmingham is one of the Russell Group unis, and never throughout my uni life have I heard people in my university talk about it.
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