A post inspired in part by Chris Keene's post at http://www.nostuff.org/words/2008/top-20-uk-universities/
Chris asks 'What are the top 20 Universities in the UK?'. (via Twitter)
Reading the comments is interesting, and I considered my answer, albeit briefly, before posting. You will notice that many of my top 20 are not Russell Group, not traditional red brick Uni's, but ex-poly's, mostly post 92.
My thinking around this was that I could only really comment on those Uni's that I'd had an interaction with professionally, either in my current role as Information Resources Manager, or in previous roles (LMS Project Manager, Learning Technologist). I don't really watch the league tables, as it is likely that our place will move up slightly but will never hit the top 10.
If I had answered with the Oxford's and Cambridge's of this world, I'd have been talking about perception, a wider perception than my own. The comment may come across as pretentious, or as a stand for the underdogs but it isn't intended to be either. And, it is such a broad question that I felt it would be useful to focus the attention - best for what?
On another point entirely, I'm meeting with Linda Rush tomorrow to discuss our new READ project, loosely based on something that UWE have been doing over the past few years. I'm really looking forward to this, and assisting in delivering a couple of professional development sessions for academic colleagues over the next couple of months.
Part of the initial discussion will be around the definition of academic reading, how we put reading lists together and what we mean by essential, desirable etc. The expectations of students and staff are key in understanding this, however are very rarely discussed at any level of study.
I'll keep you informed on progress!