Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 20, 2006

U of G Earns High Marks in New Maclean's Survey

University of Guelph graduates continue to give their alma mater high marks when it comes to the quality of the undergraduate experience, a new survey by Maclean’s reveals.

Guelph was No. 1 among comprehensive universities in seven of the eight categories that make up the magazine’s new University Graduate Survey, which was published Tuesday. In the remaining category, U of G placed second.

“It’s always gratifying to receive positive feedback from our graduates, and I’m delighted that our former students rated us the best comprehensive university and among the best in the country,” said president Alastair Summerlee.

For the survey, Maclean’s randomly selected people from 23 participating universities who graduated with undergraduate degrees in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Nearly 14,700 people participated. As usual, the magazine divided universities into three categories: primarily undergraduate, comprehensive and medical/doctoral.

Participants rated their alma maters in six areas related to undergraduate educational quality: teaching, learning environment, library resources, student services, extracurricular activities and overall educational experience. They were also asked if they would recommend their school to a friend and if their university experience was beneficial to their lives.

U of G topped the charts in seven categories and was ranked second in library resources. Some highlights include:
• 83 per cent of survey respondents said they’d recommend U of G to a friend.
• 76 per cent rated Guelph’s overall educational experience as “very good.”
• 82 per cent said their U of G experience was of significant benefit.

In addition, Maclean’s also published some of the results of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in this week’s issue of the magazine. Some 12,600 students were asked more than 100 questions about specific aspects of their undergraduate experience. Eighteen Canadian universities took part in NSSE in 2004 and 2005, and Maclean’s published the most recent results for each school.

The premise of this survey comes from work in the United States, where it’s been shown that the level of student engagement at a university is directly related to the quality and depth of the learning achieved. Summerlee said that although Guelph is pleased with its performance in NSSE, the University does not support using the survey’s results for university rankings. “NSSE is just one of a suite of tools Guelph uses to gauge institutional performance and accountability,” he said.

One of NSSE’s important features is that it gives U of G the ability to compare its level of student engagement with benchmark institutions in the United States, Summerlee added. Guelph was among a small number of Canadian universities that performed better than their American counterparts.

“At a time when the Ontario government is seeking independent proof of the quality of the learning experience, the results of this survey speak strongly to the unique learning environment at Guelph created by the dedicated work of faculty and staff,” he said.

The University released the NSSE findings earlier this month, and complete results can be found online.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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