League table language gaps

May 30, 1997

THE INTRODUCTION to your subject quality league table points to the success of some new university departments. But there is one omission. Under English the missing RAE rating for the University of East London should be 5. The department to which this applies is cultural studies.

Interdisciplinary departments like ours have found it difficult to decide under which heading to submit: we chose English for the Teaching Quality Assessment and communication and media for the RAE. This puts us among the few departments in Britain to obtain this double; and we are unique in the new university sector in achieving a 5 with 15 staff. Forgive this blowing of our own trumpet, but it is very difficult for interdisciplinary departments, and particularly those in new universities, to figure in tables based on traditional disciplinary categories.

Alan O'Shea

Head of cultural studies, University of East London

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