The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, released last week, have placed Oxford third, ahead of other leading UK institutions such as Cambridge and Imperial College London. The makeup of the top twenty illustrates a continued dominance of the table by Anglo-American institutions, while not placing London universities so highly as the QS World University rankings, released last month.
When asked about the new rankings, a spokesperson for Oxford University noted that university rankings “consistently show Oxford in the very forefront of the world’s universities, both for the quality of its teaching and the excellence of its research.”
James Blythe, OUSU Vice President of Access and Academic Affairs, said of the rankings: “The various global rankings reflect many different aspects of a university, especially research. I am confident that Oxford students generally get a fantastic education, which is reflected in some amazingly high satisfaction results in the National Student Survey. Nevertheless, over the coming year OUSU is developing and massively expanding its support for student reps in departments, to give them the capacity to make change happen in academic departments if there are problems with their courses.”
Henna Shah, a second year PPE student involved in several Oxford access schemes, stressed that “it is important that Oxford and Cambridge aren’t seen as the be all and end all in terms of university rankings,” while arguing that “it is very important that students applying are informed about how misleading league tables can be. Imperial, for example, only climbed so much because the number of research citations mentioning it increased.
“This doesn’t particularly affect the quality of teaching received by undergraduates and it’s important that we continue to make it clear about the advantages of the tutorial system so students who could benefit greatly from an Oxford education don’t lose out because they have been misled by rankings which involve irrelevant methods of assessment to their student experience.”