In a league of their own

May 31, 1996

When the first Times league table was published, Derby was placed in "south pole" position - supporting the entire sector. Our local press wanted to know, "Why's Derby got the worst university in the United Kingdom?" Then one of my colleagues burst in, "Jonathan, have you seen this? Isn't it marvellous!" I was lost for words. "Look, there's Cambridge at the top, and we're on the same list! - two years ago no one knew we existed."

I commend this view of the league table to all the committed and hardworking staff and students in the seven universities who this year lie below us. But I would also like to draw attention to a new league table (see right), which it is now possible to construct, and which has much greater potential significance for public policy. The Times has pioneered a measurement of Value Added, by comparing intake grades with degree results and graduate employment statistics. In February The Thes published an analysis of the relative weighted funding per student for the English universities. If we combine this with the published measure of value added we can make a stab at a comparative table of cost effectiveness.

Jonathan Powers Senior pro vice chancellor University of Derby

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