Laurier’s place in the Maclean’s university rankings

Graphic by Jessica Wood

Graphic by Jessica Wood

Wilfrid Laurier University officially ranked 10th in the comprehensive category in the annual Maclean’s university rankings for 2016 released two weeks ago.

Maclean’s list of schools in the comprehensive category have a significant degree of research activity and offers a broad range of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs and degrees.

For each category including comprehensive, primarily undergraduate and medical doctorial universities, Maclean’s ranks the schools in five broad areas based on 14 performance indicators.

These include data from federated and affiliated institutions.

Additionally, the publication collects information on universities from reputational surveys, student and faculty awards and researching opinions from various university faculty and senior administrators.

This year, two new indicators were added to the research, one being a survey of university students talking about their experience and the other a measure into the amount and impact of the faculty’s published research.

Deborah MacLatchy, Laurier’s vice-president of academic and provost, said the university is pleased they have come up in the overall comprehensive rankings list.

Last year, Laurier ranked 13th in the comprehensive category.

“What’s even more important is that the areas in which we really significantly have put effort and really sets Laurier apart such as student satisfaction [we increased in],” said MacLatchy.

In the 2016 comprehensive list, Laurier ranked third in student satisfaction and 10th in their reputational survey. The university also ranked sixth in faculty awards and sixth in student services.

“It shows that we’re doing well … where we feel it’s important.”

Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia ranked first on the comprehensive list overall and 12th in student satisfaction.

Laurier’s neighbouring school, the University of Waterloo, ranked second overall in the comprehensive category and fifth in student satisfaction.

“I think that’s a good lesson in why we have to look at the overall rankings with the real eye to what makes up those rankings and then what’s important within them,” said MacLatchy.

MacLatchy said the reasoning behind Laurier’s move to the comprehensive list relies on the university’s broad variety of programs, the number of graduate students and increase in research activity.

“We more want to keep our eyes on the areas that are of particular importance to us as a university.”

When asking prospective students if rankings matter on their university decision, MacLatchy said the students are not focused on the numbers or lists.

“For a lot of [perspective] students it’s not a real focus in how students make their decision,” she said.

“I think it’s important that, especially for perspective students, to really continue to find the university that’s the right fit for them regardless of what the rankings say.”

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