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Norwich University of the Arts scoops top title in The Times university guide

PUBLISHED: 09:01 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 20 September 2019

Prof John Last from Norwich Universtity of the Arts (NUA). The university has been named The Times and Sunday Times University of the Year for student retention. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Prof John Last from Norwich Universtity of the Arts (NUA). The university has been named The Times and Sunday Times University of the Year for student retention. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

An East Anglian institution has scooped a top title in The Times' prestigious university guide.

Norwich Universtity of the Arts (NUA). 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYNorwich Universtity of the Arts (NUA). Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) has been named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year for student retention in its 2019 guide, meaning it does a better job of getting students from enrolment to graduation than any other UK university.

The Sunday Times Good University Guide editor Alastair McCall said the university was a "beacon of excellence", with its student drop-out rate of 5.6pc around half the expected level for an institution with its mix of students and subjects.

Mr McCall added: "It has achieved this success even while doubling the size of the student body in the past decade."

NUA jumped to joint 62nd place overall in The Times' 2019 guide, from 66th in 2018, and it remains in the top 40 in the National Student Survey for student satisfaction and teaching quality, with scores of 81.6pc and 77.7pc respectively.

During the NUA graduations in 2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLYDuring the NUA graduations in 2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The university has invested heavily in its buildings and facilities in recent years and has been highly commended for its teaching quality.

Prof John Last, NUA vice-chancellor, said: "Our commitment to student retention starts long before Freshers' Week. It starts with portfolio-based interviews that help applicants to get to know us and our academic staff to start to know them.

"From the applicant's perspective, that means our offers and acceptances are based on a better understanding of the course and what joining our creative community will be like. This is the solid foundation on which all of our work to support students once they're here is built."

The University of East Anglia (UEA) dropped in The Times' guide's national rankings from 15th in 2018 to 23rd, and scored 79.1pc for teaching quality and 79pc for student experience in the National Student Survey 2019.

At the NUA Degree Show in 2018. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYAt the NUA Degree Show in 2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

However, the university saw a significant 16pc increase in applications this year, at a time when many universities are struggling to boost their numbers.

The guide said UEA had "sharpened its focus on employability" with most courses adding the option of a year abroad, a foundation year or a placement year.

The University of Cambridge scooped the top spot nationally in the guide, which will be published in this week's Sunday Times and online on Sunday.

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