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Spotlight on University reputation

24 Jun 2022

Reflecting on the results from our latest reputation report

Our University reputation

The Global influence theme in Our future sets out our ambition to ‘enhance our reputation as one of the world’s leading universities’.

In support of this objective, it’s important that we understand perceptions of the University among key stakeholder groups. The External Relations Strategy Group (ERSG), chaired by our President and Vice-Chancellor, is responsible for monitoring these perceptions, and receives an annual report containing survey data and analysis on our reputation among a range of audiences and benchmarked against a selection of other UK universities.

Last month, ERSG received the latest reputation report, which showed that we continue to enjoy a high profile among all audiences. We must caveat this with a clear acknowledgment that these are quite small-scale surveys, but they indicate a direction of travel.

For the fifth year in succession, we ranked third behind Oxford and Cambridge when the general public are asked to name the top universities in the UK. We also performed particularly well when business and employers, opinion formers, international agents, parents and teachers are asked the same question.

The stakeholders are also asked to give our reputation a score out of ten, and again this produced a good set of results overall. Once again, most positive were business, international agents, opinion formers, postgraduate prospects, parents and teachers, all of whom returned an average reputation score of more than seven out of ten.

The report also contains survey data for our internal audiences (students, staff and alumni) for whom we calculate a net promoter score (NPS) from -100 to +100. For alumni, NPS remains very high, rising to 56.3 from 51.6 the previous year, but for staff it has fallen slightly from -8 to -14.1.

More encouragingly, the NPS scores for current undergraduate and current postgraduate have recovered significantly following extensive work to improve student engagement, rising from -28.7 to 33.3 and from 13.4 to 42.9 respectively.

The findings of the report align with our most recent External Stakeholders Survey (ESS), which explores the reputation of the University among around 60 senior external stakeholders via in-depth interviews. Overall perceptions of the University remain very positive indeed, while a minority of respondents raised concerns over student-related issues towards the end of 2020.

The respondents recognised our strengths across a broad and growing range of subject areas and many see us as a contender for third place in the UK behind Oxford and Cambridge. Other highlighted strengths included social responsibility, civic, business and innovation and our campus.

We continue to take the University’s reputation very seriously. By delivering outstanding research, high-quality teaching and learning, and having exemplary social responsibility practices, we will continue to positively impact colleagues internally and a range external stakeholders – developing, enhancing and protecting that reputation.