Western 10th in Maclean's ranking


By Heather Travis
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The University of Western Ontario tied for 10th place amongst medical doctoral Canadian universities with the University of Ottawa in Maclean's magazine's annual university rankings.
The 18th annual ranking, which was released to subscribers Monday and is widely distributed on Thursday, assesses Canadian universities on a variety of factors, including spending on student services, scholarships and bursaries, to funding for libraries and faculty success in obtaining national research grants.
The universities are divided into three categories based on the types of institutions, levels of research funding, the diversity of offerings, and the range of graduate and professional programs. Western falls into the medical doctoral universities category because it offers a wide scope of PhD programs and research and has a medical school.
Unlike the Globe and Mail Canadian University Report in which Western topped the list for overall student satisfaction and received the highest grade in 17 of 56 categories, Western dropped three spots in the Maclean’s ranking from seventh place in 2007 to 10th overall.
Western ranked in the top 10 in the reputational categories of highest quality and being the most innovative.
McGill University held on to the number one slot in the overall ranking, followed by Queen’s University and the University of Toronto which were tied for second.
Fred Longstaffe, Provost & Vice President (Academic) points out Maclean’s methodology differs from the Globe and Mail survey, which reflects student opinion.
“Maclean's methodology, which relies heavily on Statistics Canada data, seems to gather a different and more highly variable picture from year to year than the Globe & Mail report, which surveys our students directly to indicate on a consistent basis, for several years in a row, a No. 1 ranking for most satisfied students,” he says.
He says lessons can be learned from all university surveys, adding Western will look at Maclean’s rankings in detail to identify which areas the university can improve upon.
Longstaffe says people shouldn’t just rely on rankings to form an opinion about a university.
“Western is part of an Ontario consortium of universities that shares and posts data that individuals can use to make their own evaluation of a university – based on the criteria that they think is most important,” he says. 
The Common University Data Ontario (CUDO) can be accessed directly from Western's website by clicking on the 'Public Accountability' button.
For more information on the ranking, visit http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/.

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