In a surprise new intervention in the highly competitive university ranking market, the lawnmower manufacturer, Flymo, which has hitherto enjoyed a rather low profile in the higher education world, has launched a new league table. And it’s going to be a green Christmas for some UK universities.
[Edit: they now appear to have taken the table down. As rankers everwhere will tell Flymo, they need to commit to their silly ranking in the face of adversity and disdain]
The core premise for the ranking is that the space outside the classroom is really important too. Campus universities do appear to be at something of an advantage in this table but those Flymo people have chosen some rather interesting criteria. Anyway, here’s the pitch:
It doesn’t matter what you study, no student spends all of their time sat in lectures or locked away in the library. It’s important to find a healthy balance between academia, extra-curricular activities and a social life.
Maybe you’re an adrenaline junkie who loves to go rock climbing or canoeing, or perhaps you just want to be able to take a leisurely stroll in a local park after a day full of lectures. Either way, having easy access to the great outdoors can be an important factor in your decision.
We’ve looked at 25 of the best universities in the country, ranking them on a number of different factors. Using data supplied by Ordnance Survey, we were able to measure the amount of green space on and around campus. We also looked at the number of outdoor societies on offer, as well as the average weather patterns of the local area.
The results are interesting to say the least and the criteria will undoubtedly bring calls for a recount from some as the green spaces near universities are counted in addition to their campuses.
Where’s Liverpool John Mowers?
So let’s see the top 20 then:
So it’s a great result for Leeds, largely thanks to nearby acreage and student outdoor societies it seems, but good showings for Birmingham and Oxford too. Imperial, UCL and LSE are perhaps surprising entries in the top 25 given their central London locations but there is the expected top 10 placing, yet another one, for Loughborough, in part due its low rainfall. And they’ll be dancing in Victoria Park at Portsmouth’s terrific showing here.
Well, it certainly is a novel approach to university ranking but it’s not clear that it is going to help Flymo break into the higher education market.
Nevertheless, for those who didn’t make the top 10, we can recommend the Mighty Mo 300 as the ideal mower for university campus cultivation. With a cutting height ranging from 25-65 mm and a cutting width of 30 cm it’s a good value purchase for grounds teams.
Looking forward to the Roundup ranking next year.