York has fallen out of the world’s top 100 universities in figures released last week, dropping 40 places down to 121st in the league table.
This follows falling out of the top 10 UK universities in the 2012 Guardian League table this summer; as well as losing its status as the ‘Best University in Yorkshire’ to the University of Sheffield according to the last two league tables.
The University attributed the decline in league table position to “fluctuation [that] does occur periodically in league tables,” adding, “especially where they rely on reputation surveys.”
The Times Higher Education Authority (THE) ranked York as 81st in the world in 2010; but this fell to 121st this year – level with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The only other British university to fall out of the top 100 was the University of London’s Royal Holloway – ranked at 107th.
Brian Cantor, the University Vice Chancellor, called the result “disappointing”, but stressed that “fluctuation does occur in league tables, particularly when their methodology is changed from year to year.”
He continued: “We have been in the world top 100 for the last 5 years. The reality is that we are one of the best universities in the UK and in the world, and widely accepted as such.”
Among other British universities, 3 made the top 10; while there were 32 in the top 200 in the world.
York was awarded the title of ‘University of the Year’ in November 2010 by THE but has fallen in all the major university league tables this summer.
Weak graduate employment prospects has been highlighted as a problem at York for many years and was one of the main reasons it was ranked down in the Guardian – as the career prospects percentage for graduates finding employment after six months had fallen by over four per cent in the last year.
Graeme Osborn, YUSU Academic Affairs Officer, also called the recent performance “disappointing” and agreed with the University that graduate employability was a major issue, stating: “[it] points to the existence of an underlying deterioration of York’s position in the sector, whether that is York actually getting worse, or everyone else improving at a faster rate.
“We have identified employability as one of the key issues, especially in the UK league tables, and are making it a key priority this year.”
However, Osborn did agree with the University that “league tables go through periodic fluctuations,” highlighting that 15 per cent of the data used was derived from reputational surveys.
This type of feedback is more prone to variation, but he did accept that it is of concern because “York’s ranking is going down in a number of league tables, including the four main UK ones and the most high profile international league tables.”
Sheffield rose 36 places from last year to 101st place, subsequently taking from York the accolade of being the top university in the region. Cantor, however, was keen to emphasise “we are above Sheffield in most league tables.”
The Spokesman for the University continued: “Nevertheless, what the University of York has achieved in less than 50 years is remarkable and we remain one of the best universities in the world, with first-class teaching and research.”