ARTS University Bournemouth is celebrating after it was given a gold rating in the first major assessment of higher education standards.

Neighbouring Bournemouth University was given a silver ranking by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Only four universities in the south west won gold under the scheme, which has been criticised by several top universities who missed out on the highest award.

AUB celebrated its gold award by commissioning a special installation on its campus in the form of a giant gold cube. It remain there until Monday.

Karen Thurlow, acting head of marketing, said: “The installation, which is a piece of art in its own right, represents the microcosm of creativity on campus and houses over 400 inspiring images of this year’s students’ work.

"The cube was secretly covered in gold overnight, so staff were greeted by the news of the gold TEF award when arriving on campus. The piece visually represents how our incredible student work is nurtured and supported by AUB’s excellent teaching practice.”

The cube was created and installed by Sam Edwards, a modelmaking alumnus and visiting tutor, who runs his own company Morf Creative, with help from Elliot Trent, an alumnus in digital media production.

Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Emma Hunt said: “We are extremely proud of our students and our teaching which educates, guides and inspires our community of makers at AUB. Our staff’s extensive industry experience, excellent teaching and impactful research, alongside our state-of-the-art campus, means our students leave university with the skills they need to thrive in the world, something that is reflected by our consistently high employability rate.”

An independent panel of experts assessed undergraduate teaching against 10 criteria.

The panel found AUB had “high quality teaching which provides stimulation and challenge with small classes and high levels of tutor contact”. The university’s culture “facilitates, recognises and rewards excellent teaching, which is a particular strength”.

The panel said Bournemouth University achieved “good outcomes for most of its students, in particular with regards to retention and progression to highly skilled employment or further study for its part-time students”.

It had “very high placement levels, with all students offered placements” and there is a very high proportion of uptake”.

Professor John Vinney, vice-chancellor of Bournemouth University, said: “The Teaching Excellence Framework Silver award reflects BU’s commitment to excellent education combined with high quality research and strong links to practice.

“I am pleased that BU has received this independent recognition and I am proud of all the staff across BU who have contributed to BU’s achievement. This award is recognition of their hard work, and the investment we have made in staff, learning opportunities, resources and support.

“This award sits alongside our global rankings and underpins out position as a world class university.

“We will maintain our drive for the highest standards of quality in teaching excellence, learning environment and student outcomes, across all our courses, in the context of our distinctive approach to the fusion of education, research and practice.”