Laurier rises in Globe student survey

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Last week Wilfrid Laurier University saw some improvements in rankings when the Globe and Mail released its annual Canadian University Report.

Laurier, which is now categorized as a medium-sized, comprehensive university, saw its rankings improve in eight different categories, as well as securing a first-place tie within the Class Size category.
Laurier was able to improve in categories including, but not limited to: career preparation, libraries, city satisfaction and student residences.

According to the Globe and Mail’s website, the rankings are based off of student surveys, which were sent out to roughly 33,000 undergraduate students at 60 different universities across the country.

The survey itself was comprised of 100 questions, and was intended to represent student’s opinions rather than gather hard facts.

“[Overall] they’re an indicator, we don’t measure or judge ourselves based on a score in the Globe and Mail or any other publication,” said Tom Buckley, Laurier’s assistant vice-president: academic services.

“There’s always a little bit of celebration, there’s always a little bit of ‘why didn’t we do so well,’ but those scores alone don’t generate specific actions.”

Throughout the survey, students were asked to rate their experience at their given university by using a scale from one to nine, with one being very dissatisfied and nine being very satisfied.

Then, a mean score was taken for each question regarding each university to calculate the results, which also reflected the number of students attending the school in question.

However, according to the Globe and Mail’s website and their survey descriptions, the smaller the university in question was, the smaller the amount of survey results was, which meant that the student population may not have been adequately represented.

The universities that were surveyed were also ranked together based on their population size.

For Laurier, though, this year’s rankings proved to be average — with the majority of the marks being in the B range — and adequately illustrated the school’s growth throughout the past year.

Buckley emphasized that Laurier’s rankings in surveys such as these greatly relies on what its students have to say.

It is also the students’ opinion that shapes the way that Laurier prioritizes itself and attempts to fix any issues that may be present.

“What our students have to say about the quality of their experience, and the kind of experience that they want, is definitely a major component that informs our decision making and prioritization,” explained Buckley.

“[And] I think the fundamentals of what Laurier has to offer means it can stand up against anybody,” he added.

At the same time, however, in terms of recruitment, while Laurier would like to believe these positive rankings would influence incoming students to choose Laurier, Buckley pointed out that there are many other factors that will also influence their decision.

“Ultimately it depends on, I think from a student perspective, in terms of recruitment, what kind of experience the student wants to have,” he said.

“I think we have to assume that incoming students will be informed by these things, but when we talk to new students they don’t list these rankings as a primary reason for going to [a particular] university,” Buckley added.

Despite the reality that not all students may be taking these rankings into consideration, Buckley explained that Laurier itself does reflect on its grades and tries to make improvements where consistent negative marks appear.

One negative mark that was brought up was in regards to class selection and LORIS.

“The lack of movement on the grade, and the appearance in multiple areas of people’s frustrations with LORIS drove us to make certain investments in changing the queuing model for students, and this past year we [also] surveyed students,” explained Buckley.

With more input from students as to where they want to see improvements on campus, Laurier’s rankings for next year may rise again.

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