While the world awaits today’s announcement of ranking of departments worldwide by The Times Higher Education, (THE), the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, popularly known as PAIS is not letting its Number One ranking again in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide and the university. It is beating the drums of success. No one would blame it for that because it can only be a feat to beat not only the Oxbridge club and equally tough federating University of London campuses, (UCL, LSE, King’s College, Queen Mary University, Royal Holloway, Birkbeck, SOAS amongst others) but also established UK campuses such as the University of Edinburgh, Bristol, Durham, Aberystwyth, Manchester, Birmingham, St Andrew and Sheffield. It must be particularly interesting for PAIS to come up over and above the University of Aberystwyth, for example, that being where the formal study of International Relations started in 1919.
A statement from Warwick expresses its delight in the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) being ranked 1st of 84 UK Politics departments in The Times/The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020. “This influential national league table reflects latest data, including student satisfaction (NSS), research excellence, and graduate prospects”, it says. On the whole, The University of Warwick is ranked 10th, the national ranking order being Cambridge; Oxford, St. Andrews; Imperial College; Loughborough; LSE; Durham; Lancaster; UCL and Warwick. The rise of Loughborough University over and above LSE, Durham and UCL and of Lancaster University over UCL and Warwick would shock many but what is amazing about the University of Warwick on this list is how it has never fallen outside the bracket of the first ten top universities since the ranking business gathered storm.
In a long comment on the latest ranking, Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams, Head of PAIS, said “Students and staff in PAIS will be justifiably proud that, for the second year in a row, the Department has been ranked 1st among UK Politics Departments in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020. This wonderful result underscores that our twinned commitment to viewing students as partners in our education strategy and as beneficiaries of our long-standing research excellence is a winning formula for sustained success. With a renewed focus in 19/20 on employability, internationalisation, widening participation, and equality and diversity – featuring initiatives to deepen our EU partnerships, further liberate the curriculum, and enhance the student voice – this latest league table success is a terrific start to the new academic year. Over the coming weeks my colleagues and I look forward to welcoming all new and returning students to the Department and to driving forward these agendas together.”
Dr Justin Greaves, Director of Student Experience and Progression also added another voice on the ranking by saying that “This outstanding result is testament to all the brilliant students and staff in PAIS. This league table shows how we are a leader, both within the Russell Group and the sector as a whole, in terms of student experience and teaching quality. It is particularly pleasing to see our results have increased yet further in these categories. I look forward to working with all our incoming and returning students to ensure that the PAIS department goes from strength to strength, combining intellectual stretch and rigour with the highest possible levels of academic support.”
The challenge now is how the Department will maintain the position at a time universities have become more self-aware, more so in the UK.