Swansea U leaps two places in The Guardian league tables

The Guardian league table claims to rate Universities by student satisfaction. It gives higher scores to “value added”, overall satisfaction and feedback (the latter two by results from the National Student Survey), money spent per student, entry grades, careers prospects and staff-student ratio, than other ratings such as research quality which other newspapers (and Universities themselves) like to emphasize. It does this because, as it says in yesterday’s article supporting the release of its 2011 league tablesOxford tops Guardian’s 2011 university league table

The tables provide vital information for the more than 600,000 university applicants who this year [because of HE budget cuts] face the toughest ever competition for places.

Swansea University is in the uncomfortable position of being 93 of 117 institutions, above only Glyndwr and Newport in Wales (Swansea Metropolitan is not listed), and well below the institutions we strive to compete against for research rankings.

The creation of the Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT) and its emphasis on changing the tide on retention, student engagement and feedback, might help. But as the 2011 league tables are based on 2009 figures, it will take time for any improvements we make to filter through. And everyone else is playing the same [zero-sum game](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-sum)!
We can take some small consolation on having improved our position by two places (we were 95 in the 2010 tables) but with severe cuts expected in higher education spending, which may well mean doing more with less, I can’t see much else to smile about.
Welcome to Higher Education, Austerity style!

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University