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University beats rival to be named best in Wales.

Byline: ABBIE WIGHTWICK Education editor

SWANSEA University has stolen the crown from Cardiff University to be named Welsh University of the Year in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

In the guide, released today, Swansea rises six places into the UK top 30, overtaking key rival Cardiff on that score too.

It wins the Welsh award for the second time in three years and is also runner-up for the overall UK University of the Year title, having impressed judges with its massive transformation in the past few years.

Meanwhile, Aberystwyth is now a double winner of the University of the Year for Teaching Quality title, after topping the UK rankings for student satisfaction with the quality of its teaching.

A free 96-page supplement will be published this weekend in The Sunday Times. It provides the definitive rankings for UK universities and the most comprehensive overview of higher education in Britain. It includes profiles on 132 universities and the most authoritative UK university league table, making use of the latest data published in the past two months.

About Swansea University, the guide says: "The 65-acre new Bay campus has been the catalyst for expansion at Swansea, adding new engineering, management and computer science facilities.

"The increase in spending on provision has further improved scores in the National Student Survey for its student experience, with the university now ranked just outside the UK top 20 on this measure.

"This, plus raised completion rates and outstanding graduate prospects (for which Swansea now ranks 12th in the UK), has taken Swansea into the overall top 30 for the first time since the first edition of the guide in 1993. The number of students starting degrees is at record levels."

This is what the guide says about Cardiff University: "Even though Swansea has taken the crown from Cardiff as the Welsh University of the Year, the latter still tops the Welsh charts for having the best degree completion rate (92.4%) - ranking equal 24th overall in the UK.

"This is good news for the university as it has an ambitious five-year strategy to establish itself as one of the top 20 universities in the UK and in the world's top 100. With its move up the table this year, it shows that it is on track to achieve this goal."

About Aberystwyth University, it says: "Aberystwyth is introducing new courses with degrees in computer science, modern languages, psychology and education taking their first students this month.

"Teaching has been transformed across the institution from two years ago when students' assessment of teaching quality ranked the university outside the top 100 on this measure.

"A surge to fifth place last year was impressive enough, but this year students have put Aber on top of the pile awarding the university higher scores for teaching quality than any other institution in the UK.

"It earns the university its second successive award for University of the Year for Teaching Quality. The university has also picked up a Gold rating in the government's own scheme to measure teaching delivery, the Teaching Excellence Framework, in the past 12 months." Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: "The three universities at the top of the Welsh rankings are a match for any in Britain.

"Swansea's success as Welsh University of the Year and runner-up for the UK title is an acknowledgement of the sheer scale of the positive transformation undergone by the university in the past five years.

"Physically, it is practically unrecognisable from the institution it once was, while academically, it is building on previous strengths and developing new ones.

"The new campus is one of the best in Britain and now significant upgrades are being made to the original campus at Singleton Park. Small wonder that enrolments are at record levels.

"Meanwhile, Aberystwyth has achieved something no other UK university has done in winning our University of the Year for Teaching Quality award for two years in a row by exceeding already excellent previous results in the annual National Student Survey.

"No university in the UK now has students happier with the quality of their teaching, the product of a concerted effort to put student needs first and last."

The guide adds that Welsh universities have had a strong year, with University of Wales, Trinity St David, also featuring in the top five for student satisfaction with the quality of teaching, after a rise of 11 places on this league table measure this year.

The performance has helped it jump 15 places overall, putting it in the top 90 in its second year back in the table after a five-year boycott of all rankings.

Swansea University's Bay Campus Robert Melen
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 21, 2018
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