In 1993, The Times published its first league table of the UK universities in a small paperback. At that time there were 96 institutions and their rank was determined by 14 measures, including staff qualifications and student accommodation. The outcome was met with derision by the body representing university vice-chancellors.
Its press release condemned the tables as a dubious exercise, wrong in principle and flawed in execution. While accepting the principle we shared some, but not all, of the misgivings and wrote to The Times in a more constructive vein. This resulted in a partnership which lasted for more than ten years whereby we, Mayfield University Consultants, developed and produced the rankings and the narrative surrounding them.
At the beginning of the league table era, the World Wide Web was in its infancy. The focus was on publication in newspapers and in book form.
By 2007, we were convinced that the web was the way forward for an annual university guide and set up The Complete University Guide in partnership with the digital publisher, Constable and Robinson.
Fast forward a decade and the guide is recognised as the leading independent and trusted source for university applicants and their mentors. Other guides are available, but both remain print-led and one is behind a pay wall.
The Complete University Guide is not associated with any newspaper publisher, and is, most importantly, free to access for its key audience of prospective university students, available in a form with which their generation is firmly familiar, and with a wealth of associated information that will guide their choice of course and institution.
So, with more than 20 years’ experience of compiling university league tables and 10 years since the founding of the guide, we have been encouraged to call a conference to take stock and look forward to the future.
We have brought together experts in the field, mainly from the university sector, to discuss and debate all the major rankings in what promises to be a seminal gathering.
The Complete University Guide 10th Anniversary Conference will take place on 27 September, Woburn House (UUK), London. To book your place, click here.