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Is Excellent Better Than Best? League Tables in Higher Education

Wednesday 30 January 2013, 6-7.30pm, followed by a reception

Venue: The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

Performance indicators, league tables and comparison sites are now a familiar feature of the UK higher education scene. But, with the decision about attending university being such a personal, complex and individual one, do higher education league tables create more complication than they do clarity in understanding what makes a good university? And, with so much importance placed on league table rankings, how much influence do they have on the decisions of university vice-chancellors?

Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio Five Live

Professor Michael Arthur is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, recent chair of the Russell Group and former chair of the National Student Survey Steering Group.
Professor Arthur has a significant national and international profile. He is Chair of the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (NHS) and he is also a member of the Council of the Medical Research Council. He is a US/UK Fulbright Commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network.

Phil Baty is editor, Times Higher Education Rankings, and editor at large of Times Higher Education. Phil has been with the magazine since 1996, as reporter, chief reporter, news editor and deputy editor. He was named among the top 15 "most influential in education" 2012 by The Australian newspaper. Phil received the Ted Wragg Award for Sustained Contribution to Education Journalism in 2011, part of the Education Journalist of the Year Awards, run by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. In 2007 he was a runner-up for the annual Paul Foot Award for Campaigning Journalism, run by the Guardian newspaper and Private Eye magazine. Follow Phil on @phil_baty and @THEworldunirank

Professor Harvey Goldstein FBA is Professor of Social Statistics, University of Bristol and a leading expert on league tables. A chartered statistician, he has been editor of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (Series A) and was awarded the Society's Guy Medal in Silver in 1998. He was elected a member of the International Statistical Institute in 1987, and a Fellow of the British Academy in 1996. Harvey is also a member of the Academy's Advisory Group for its Languages and Quantitative Skills (L&QS) programme.

Baroness Onora O’Neill CBE FBA is chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and a former president of the British Academy (2005-09). She was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge from 1992-2006, chaired the Nuffield Foundation from 1998-2010, and has been a crossbench member of the House of Lords since 2000 (Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve). She currently lectures and writes on accountability and trust, on justice and borders, and on the future of universities, the quality of legislation and the ethics of communication, including media ethics.

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