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Shropshire university among top in The Times' Good University Guide

By Mark Andrews | Newport | Education | Published:

A Shropshire university is celebrating a treble triumph after being ranked one of Britain's top 20 institutions in a prestigious guide.

Harper Adams University at Edgmond, near Newport, also scooped the Modern University of the Year title and came overall runner-up in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, which is published on Sunday.

The university came 17th out of 134 universities in the league table, the highest ever ranking for one of the 'modern universities' created as a result of an Act of Parliament in 1992. It marks a rise of 16 places since last year, when it came 33rd.

It puts Harper Adams just three places behind Birmingham University, which cemented its place among the elite by maintaining its 14th place ranking.

Aston University rose eight places to 48th, while Staffordshire University achieved its highest ever ranking for the second year running in 53rd place, up four places from last year. Staffordshire was also shortlisted for the University of the Year title.

Wolverhampton University rose three places in the rankings, from 127th place last year to 124th this year.

The guide's editor Alastair McCall said Harper Adams had 'rewritten the record books' with its outstanding performance in this year's university rankings.

It praised Harper Adams, which specialises in agriculture, for its development of new technology through its 'hands free hectare', which it said had helped it develop an international reputation.

He added that the addition of its new veterinary school – only the ninth of its kind in the country – would only raise its status in future.

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Mr McCall said: “No modern university has ever finished in the top 30 of our rankings, but Harper Adams has rewritten the record books this year by elbowing its way into our elite top 20."

Vice-chancellor David Llewellyn, said: “We are delighted to be among the top 20 universities in the UK in this year’s Sunday Times Good University Guide, and to be named Modern University of the Year and runner up for the University of the Year award.

Hugely positive

"These results will really help fly the flag for higher education in Shropshire. It is also a time of transition for the agri-food industry – so this outcome will help put agri-food and related disciplines on the map so that they can become subjects of choice for a wider group of young people."

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It is the second time Harper Adams has been awarded the Modern University of the Year title, having previously won it in three years ago when it rose to 36 place in the table. It has been the highest or joint highest-ranked post-1992 university ever since.

James Allen, spokesman for Wolverhampton University, said there was plenty to be positive about in the report, and was confident that over time its performance within the league tables would continue to improve.

"Published league tables are one of the many ways universities are measured and compared," he said.

"There are differences between each league table in terms of what metrics it uses and how it calculates position.

"As a civic University we have a hugely positive impact on people’s lives through education and our contribution to shaping and regenerating the regional economy.

"Student satisfaction continues to rise and 96 per cent of our graduates go into jobs or further study with 72 per cent securing graduate level jobs."

Mr McCall said Staffordshire was now established among the leading modern universities in the country.

"In the critical areas of student satisfaction with teaching quality and prospects for employment on graduation, Staffordshire ranks among the best in the UK," he said.

“Students from all backgrounds achieve excellent outcomes. The university promises to promote social mobility, widen participation in higher education and connect the university with its communities. A ranking in our social inclusion table just outside the top 30 suggests it is achieving that.”

Staffordshire University vice-chancellor Prof Liz Barnes said: “We are delighted to have made the shortlist for the prestigious title of ‘University of the Year’ reinforcing our focus on the student experience and recognising Staffordshire University’s improved and sustained performance."

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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