Salients and Reverse Salients in UK Maths Departments Based on RAE2008

Some maths departments are stand out as well above the average in their university we call them Salients, and some are below the average standard, even in some cases if they are quite strong relative to other maths departments. Using the 2008 Research Assesment Exercise we took the difference between the average GPA (Grade Point Average) over the three units of assesment (Pure, Applied and Stats/OR) and the average GPA over all units of assesment that submitted to the RAE. The results displayed in the table below.

Is it good to work or study in a salient or reverse salient department? Opinions differ. The head of a good but reverse salient department at a top university tells me that reverse salient is better as the rest of the university is "dragging you up to there standard" expecting you to perform well. On the other hand severe reverse salient departments can be vulnerable to closure or merger. Usually if nieither their research nor undergraduate recruitment meets the general levels of the university. In recent times we lost Bangor and Hull Maths departments, and Physics at Reading was recently closed. Salient department sometimes feel they are being dragged down, eg other departments jealous of their success argue for more resources, on the other hand some univeristies knowing that they cannot be great at most things aim to be really good at a few things, and give a lot of resources to their salients.

For more comparisons of UK maths departments see main article .