On Wednesday 3rd June, at the brand new Educate North conference in Manchester, the University of York was awarded the title ‘University of the Year’, beating out both Newcastle and Lancaster which were also shortlisted. The news saw an enthusiastic response, but were those sharing the story so proudly aware of its fine print? Where does the University actually stand today as opposed to years past?
Winning any award is fantastic, and the University should be highly commended for its achievement. But this one was awarded, as mentioned, at the Educate North conference; York was only competing against other Northern universities. So the university did not beat Cambridge, or UCL, or Exeter, or St. Andrews.
In fact, the University of York has fallen in the country’s estimations this year; in the Guardian’s university league table, York dropped six places, and in the Complete University Guide our ranking slipped by three.
So what exactly does this mean for the University? Should we be celebrating, or concerned? Perhaps this award masks what has actually been a rather disappointing year for students and staff at York. After all, how proud can we be when almost every university league table published this year has seen York’s reputation fall?