Research universities not always the best

Picture: Luke Helmer

Critically-endangered eels and a rare seahorse discovered in Solent’s waters

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A STRONG reputation for research is not automatically a good reflection of the quality of teaching at university level, says the vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth.

Prof John Craven says it is wrong to assume the Russell Group of 20 leading research institutions – considered to be the elite of UK universities – offers Britain’s best in teaching.

He insists a more accurate reflection of good teaching comes from the National Student Survey which compiles student feedback about the quality of courses.

In the 2010 survey, Portsmouth ranked joint 11th of English universities – above the University of Bristol, for example, which is a Russell Group member.

Prof Craven said: ‘The question is whether a university that is good at research is automatically good at teaching. I don’t think there’s a great correlation there.’

His comments come amid private talks among vice-chancellors that the Russell Group needs to be revised to include universities that attract a higher calibre of students.