Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
November 08, 2004
U of G ranks second, receives top marks from grads in Maclean’s
The University of Guelph finished second among the nation’s comprehensive universities in the annual Maclean’s rankings released today. Guelph was edged out of the top spot by the University of Waterloo.
U of G maintained its No. 1 rankings in categories such as quality of students and faculty, but lost ground in areas most closely tied to the double cohort and provincial funding, including class sizes, student support and finances.
But Guelph is still the top comprehensive university in Canada according to its graduates. For the first time this year, Maclean’s also published a “report card” of Canada’s universities based on the opinions of 12,334 recent graduates. The random national survey asked alumni to rate their alma maters in six areas related to educational quality, as well as whether they’d recommend their school and if their experience was beneficial.
In that survey, U of G “outshone its peers” in the comprehensive category, according to Maclean’s. Indeed, Guelph occupied the No. 1 spot in five of the six quality areas: teaching and instruction, learning environment, student services, extracurricular environment, and overall educational experience. U of G, along with Waterloo, was also at the top of the list of comprehensive universities most graduates would endorse.
President Alastair Summerlee congratulated Waterloo on its success, calling the ranking “well-deserved recognition for a fine institution. I am, of course, delighted to hear that we did extraordinarily well in the graduate survey and that our former students rated us as one of the best universities in the country. I am also very pleased with our overall placement, especially given the significant challenges we faced.”
U of G took in a large share of extra students last fall, about 600 above its original enrolment target and proportionally more than its peers. But critical provincial government support – namely quality assurance funding associated with the double-cohort enrolment – was not provided. This directly affected many of the 23 categories Maclean’s uses to determine the rankings.
“The fact that we were able to hold our ground in many of the key Maclean’s categories in the context of unfulfilled funding promises is indicative of the strength and excellence of our faculty, students and staff and of their dedication to maintaining a high-quality educational experience,” Summerlee said.
Indeed, U of G maintained or improved last year’s winning performance in 15 categories, including:
• Quality of faculty: No. 1 in the number of faculty with PhDs.
• Quality of students: No. 1 in the proportion of first-year students with a 75-per- cent average or higher.
• Graduation rates: No. 1 in proportion of students who graduate.
Maclean’s also published a reputational survey based on comments solicited from CEOs of major Canadian corporations, high school counsellors and academic administrators. It ranks the “best overall” comprehensive universities and lists the “reputational winners” in three categories: highest quality, most innovative, leaders of tomorrow. In that survey, U of G ranked second in “best overall” and second in each of the three categories.
The magazine defines comprehensive universities as those with a significant amount of research activity and a wide range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its two other categories are medical/doctoral and primarily undergraduate.
In the past eight years, Maclean’s has ranked U of G No. 1 in its category three times, in 2003, 2002 and 1999; and No. 2 three times in addition to this year, in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
The Maclean’s ranking is the most recent national survey to recognize U of G’s excellence. On Nov. 4, the university was named Canada’s comprehensive “Research University of the Year” for the third year in a row by Research Infosource Inc., a national consulting firm. The rating was based on both financial input and research output, and Guelph was ranked seventh overall among all Canadian universities.
Last month, U of G was also ranked the No. 1 university in Canada for campus atmosphere and technology resources in the University Report Card, a survey of Canadian undergraduates published by the Globe and Mail.