An isolated critic

August 10, 2007

Your article "Cheers and jeers for league table" (August 3) refers to a range of opinion on The Good University Guide, the new interactive guide to UK universities.

Michael Thorne, the only strident voice quoted, is almost certainly in isolation at the critical end of the spectrum. The general reaction from many vice-chancellors has been entirely positive.

They have welcomed the guide's independence from any national newspaper. They appreciate the interactive element of the main table that allows users to choose and weight criteria to meet their own requirements. And they have been encouraged by the swift and effective way that any errors in the data they have supplied can be corrected, in contrast with the lengthy and damaging wait inherent in print league tables.

It is not clear precisely what Thorne dislikes - other than implicitly his own institution's indifferent showing in the rankings.

As the publisher associated with the project (www.thegood universityguide.org.uk) I know that the professionalism of Bernard Kingston and his associates at Mayfield University Consultants is recognised both here and overseas. Their reputation for attention to detail and accuracy is unparalleled, and their commitment to working with the university community to explain the underlying methodology is well known.

However, the final arbiters will be the aspiring students who use the site as a guide to making one of the most difficult choices of their lifetimes. They, I am sure, will be less ready to rush to judgement than Thorne.

Nova Jayne Heath
Director, Constable & Robinson

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