In different leagues

May 29, 1998

Interesting! Bournemouth University is in the odd position of being bottom of one league and top of another: bottom of The Times aggregated league table, but top UK university in terms of graduate employment in the Financial Times league table.

Our poor showing on the (heavily weighted) teaching quality index used by The Times is based on only three assessments between 16 and 28 months ago. We have had five assessments in the present session, all of which have been satisfactory and the last two excellent (i.e. 22 out of 24). It is irritating that the long delays in reporting these "scores" result in an assessment based on meagre and out-of-date information.

Our anomalous position reflects the singlemindedly vocational mission that the university has adopted in relation to its undergraduate provision. Student surveys confirm that their main reason for choosing Bournemouth is the vocational nature of the courses. We work with employers and professional bodies in devising, accrediting, assessing and reviewing these courses to ensure continuing vocational credibility.

Our aim is to give students a challenging education that will lead them to a good job. Our recruitment through clearing is low, at 14 per cent in 1997, and our entry qualification levels are high. Our applications are up this year, against the national trend. Our graduate destinations (using The Times measure, which includes further study) are on a par with the London School of Economics, while in terms of graduate permanent employment six months after graduation we have the best record in the country. We believe in diversity to give students real choice. Least common denominator league tables are no way to support such diversity or to inform student choice.

Paul Light. Pro vice-chancellor. Bournemouth University

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