Welsh university top for teaching
One of the nation’s universities has been found to be among the best at teaching students across 130 higher education institutions in Wales, Scotland, and England.
Bangor University was the only university in Wales to be awarded a ‘gold’ award for the standard of its teaching in the new Teaching Excellence Framework.
Cardiff University was given a silver award, while University of Wales Trinity Saint David was in the bronze category.
Aberystwyth University and the University of South Wales decided not to take part.
The results mean that Bangor scored higher on the quality of teaching than many Russell Group universities. The Russell Group is widely perceived as representing the best universities in the country.
Of the 21 Russell Group universities that took part:
- eight were given a gold rating, including Oxford and Cambridge
- 10 were awarded silver
- three achieved a bronze.
The aim of the framework is to give students more information so that they can make the most informed decisions when deciding which university to attend.
The TEF Panel judged that Bangor University “delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students”.
Universities were assessed across three main categories:
- Teaching Quality
- Learning Environment
- Student Outcomes & Learning Gain
Bangor University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor John G. Hughes said that Bangor had maintained a strong commitment to the delivery of high-quality student experience.
“Not only do we link research and teaching, but we also provide personalised pastoral care, and provide variety and experimentation in our teaching and learning,” he said.
“We strongly believe that students deserve to be exposed to, and to be stretched by, the rigour and intellectual challenges of problem-solving within their disciplines.
“This Gold ranking reflects Bangor University’s impressive performance and I’d like to congratulate everyone at the University for their work on behalf of our students.”
The acting director of the Russell Group, Dr Tim Bradshaw, said that it would “take time” to develop a TEF that was “truly reflective of the UK’s excellent higher education sector”.
“TEF does not measure absolute quality and we have raised concerns that the current approach to flags and benchmarking could have a significant unintended impact,” he said.
“Applicants need clear guidance about what TEF results mean and how they should be interpreted to aid decision-making.”
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While it’s good news for Bangor I do share the concern of the quoted Tim Bradshaw in that inspection do tend to create something of a fiddle factor in terms of how ‘measures’ are met.
High “Outcomes” in terms of passrates for example, as we know from the school sector, can be achieved either honestly through good teaching and assessing or dishonestly through deliberating denying qualifications to struggling learners and putting them through something less challening instead, regardless of which option will serve the learner best…
It might be useful to note, in the context of the recent Guardian article disparaging Welsh language education, that Bangor University’s excellence in Welsh/English bilingual learning gained particular praise.
I accept Leila’s comment above that inspections ‘can be something of a fiddle’, but might there be a whiff of sour grapes in the comment from the acting director of a group that didn’t quite live up to expectations on this occasion?
Given that this website’s editor is a professor at Bangor University, does that not give rise to a conflict of interest? Will the next scandal centred on the university be given such prominence?