Do League Tables Really Matter? – UEA’s rise and fall

By Tim Jones

On the 26th of April, the Complete University Guide (CUG) realised their 2017 rankings with UEA rising two places to 12th. However, do these rankings mean anything? In my opinion, no.

When I first heard that we had achieved the title of 12th best university in the UK, I felt how I imagine every other UEA student felt. Proud. Proud that the hard work of staff and students is continually being recognised. Even when I applied to university, all that seemed to matter to my friends and I was where our university of choice was in the leagues. Nonetheless, after thinking about what these rankings mean regarding the status of the university, I began to question their importance.

There is no question that scoring high in the national rankings is a great achievement, a special mention must go to the soaring levels of student satisfaction achieved at UEA, receiving one of the highest scores for a university within the top 20. However, what the rankings don’t include is a score on prestige. I can confidently say that Red Brick and Russell Group universities, such as: Leeds, Birmingham, and Newcastle (all of which were ranked overall lower than UEA) seem to be looked upon much more favourably by employers and the public than just your ‘standard university.’ The guide even has a category that highlights this belief, the ‘graduate prospects’ category.

Looking on the Complete University Guide UEA’s graduate prospective are ranked significantly low when compared to those of more prestigious universities which have a lower overall rank. Take Sheffield for example, it ranks 31st and scores below UEA in the majority of categories, so why do they score 81.2 in graduate prospects compared to our 73.9?

The answer is that there is clearly still an uppish attitude when it comes to universities. There is the obvious elitism and advantages of going to Oxbridge which don’t need to be mentioned, but I believe the prestige of going to a Russell Group university also puts an individual at a greater advantage in terms of employment prospects.

The Times Higher Education Guide published a list of 25 universities with the best graduate employment rate for 2016. What I found was that the majority of universities above us in these rankings were on the list, however so were those who scored lower; whilst UEA was completely left out. The overall score for UEA on the Complete University Guide is 853, whilst Exeter ranks 14th, scoring 850 points, just 3 points between these two universities. However, Exeter is in joint position with Warwick (ranks 8th on the CUG) for graduate employability. The reasons for UEAs exclusion are bound to be varied, perhaps its due to the fact we specialise in more arty subjects with less traditional forms of graduate employment? More likely is the less historically renowned name of our university and the stigma that seems to be instilled, when selecting your choices, that plate glass universities are not good enough for high achieving students.

Despite all the problems with the ranking system, there is no doubt that an improved ranking will generate more interest in the university, attracting more high achieving students, as well as researchers. This influx of new blood will hopefully allow UEA to take its rightful position as a highly regarded and prestigious institution.

 

Featured image credit: N Chadwick

James Parkinson – 200 Years On

By David Winlo

This year marks two hundred years since the discovery of a progressive neurological condition by James Parkinson, which was then called Shaking Palsy, but is now known with his name, as Parkinson’s disease. What did he discover? And what progress has since been made in its treatment?

Continue reading James Parkinson – 200 Years On

On the edge or cutting edge? What does UEA think of the new library statue?

By Natalie Froome

UEA have hit the headlines with the controversial placing of a new Anthony Gormley statue.

The art installation is a human statue, which has been placed on the very edge of the library roof. Some are calling the statue ‘edgy’ and think it a great addition to UEA’s sculpture trail, while others have berated the University for their bad taste.

We talked to UEA Students to get the picture of what students think about it… Continue reading On the edge or cutting edge? What does UEA think of the new library statue?

Flatmate Diet Interviews -How Has Arriving at University Affected You? Part Four

By Jodie Bailey

  1. Before arriving at UEA how would you have described your cooking skills?

Competent.

  1. How would you say your cooking has changed since arriving at UEA, if it has at all?

It’s got worse, the cooking equipment here is really bad.

  1. Do you have any special dietary requirements, if yes, then how does this affect your cooking style and the food you eat?

No.

  1. How much do you spend on food each week roughly?

£25

  1. How much do you spend on food out (including takeaways)?

£0

  1. What are your cupboard staples/ the one food that you could not live without?

Spaghetti, gouda cheese or edam

  1. How many fruit and veg would you say you eat each day?

Not enough, 2-3

  1. What is a typical breakfast for you?

Cornflakes and coffee.

  1. What do you normally have for lunch?

Cheese toastie and apple.

  1. What do you typically have for dinner?

Pasta pesto, try to squeeze some veg in there.

  1. How much alcohol do you drink each week and how much would you say you spend on alcohol?

40 units, £40

  1. Care to share any advice for future students regarding cooking or food at university?

Get catered, save so much time! Eat oranges – great for vitamin C.

 

 

  1. Before arriving at UEA how would you have described your cooking skills?

Good, I like cooking,

  1. How would you say you’re cooking has changed since arriving at UEA, if it has at all?

I have more free time to cook, so I enjoy it more now

  1. Do you have any special dietary requirements, if yes, then how does this affect your cooking style and the food you eat?

I avoid dairy for moral reasons, sort of pescatarian – I eat a lot of veg instead of substitutes to cut costs

  1. How much do you spend on food each week roughly?

£15

  1. How much do you spend on food out (including takeaways)?

Never

  1. What are your cupboard staples/ the one food that you could not live without? Mayonnaise, garlic, honey
  2. How many fruit and veg would you say you eat each day?

3-4 a day

  1. What is a typical breakfast for you?

Scrambled eggs on toast

  1. What do you normally have for lunch?

Leftovers

  1. What do you typically have for dinner?

Fried/ grilled veg with either a wrap/sweet potatoes/rice

  1. How much alcohol do you drink each week and how much would you say you spend on alcohol?

£5-10, cocktail weeks cost a bit more (up to £20)

  1. Care to share any advice for future students regarding cooking or food at university? Better to make food in bulk, so you don’t have to buy ready meals, it’s all home-cooked

 

 

  1. Before arriving at UEA how would you have described your cooking skills?

Average for an undergraduate, but not good, definitely not good

  1. How would you say you’re cooking has changed since arriving at UEA, if it has at all?

The skill itself has not changed, but I’ve gained a lot of experience by cooking each day – particularly the skills of thinking ahead and buying what is needed

  1. Do you have any special dietary requirements, if yes, then how does this affect your cooking style and the food you eat?

No

  1. How much do you spend on food each week roughly?

£20

  1. How much do you spend on food out (including takeaways)?

£20

  1. What are your cupboard staples/ the one food that you could not live without?

Crumpets and tea

  1. How many fruit and veg would you say you eat each day?

2-3

  1. What is a typical breakfast for you?

Cereal, or crumpet with egg, or scones

  1. What do you normally have for lunch?

Same as breakfast, noodles, pasta or leftovers

  1. What do you typically have for dinner?

Rice or potato with other vegetables and some other meats

  1. How much alcohol do you drink each week and how much would you say you spend on alcohol?

2 pints of beer, £10 max.

  1. Care to share any advice for future students regarding cooking or food at university?

Buy what you need and calculate the amount you will need so you don’t over buy. Also as an international student, I would say buy ingredients that you’d have at home because you may not be able to make British food.

 

Image: Self-supplied.

Flatmate Diet Interviews -How Has Arriving at University Affected You? Part Three

By Jodie Bailey

  1. Before arriving at UEA how would you have described your cooking skills?

Adequate

  1. How would you say your cooking has changed since arriving at UEA, if it has at all?

I cook easier and quicker things

  1. Do you have any special dietary requirements, if yes, then how does this affect your cooking style and the food you eat?

Continue reading Flatmate Diet Interviews -How Has Arriving at University Affected You? Part Three