By Natalie Alcoba
This year’s ranking of Canadian universities and colleges by Maclean’s magazine indicates Ryerson has found its niche — in second place.
The 11th edition of the university rankings, which polled thousands of high school guidance counsellors, university officials, heads of organizations and company executives, voted Ryerson second in three of four categories for primarily undergraduate universities: most innovative, leaders of tomorrow and best overall. Acadia University in Nova Scotia came first.
“There’s nothing really profoundly new in this,” said Gordon Cressy, Ryerson’s v.p. university advancement. “I think we’ve got a wonderful niche. People are coming to be focused and Ryerson delivers that.”
Overall, the school ranked 19th out of 21 primarily undergraduate universities, the same as last year. Ryerson fared well in the overall reputation ranking, placing 12th out of 47 schools.
In other categories, Ryerson was far from impressive. Out of 21 schools, Ryerson ranked 20th in class sizes in first and second year, and 21st for third and fourth year classes.
“I think for the most part our classes aren’t that bad,” said Michael Doucet, president of the Ryerson Faculty Association, adding that Ryerson classrooms can’t physically accommodate many students.
He says most transfer students tell him access to professors, through one-on-one interaction in class during office hours, is better at Ryerson than other schools.
“[The survey] doesn’t measure the right things or it measures things that favour some insitutions,” said Doucet. Faculty in programs such as journalism and radio and television arts, can’t get doctorates because of the nature of the courses, he says.
“I would argue that’s a good thing. For journalism it’s far more important to have experience in the industry.”
Ann Dowsett Johnston, the co-ordinator for the Maclean’s issue, said each year schools are asked whether any categories should be added. This year, the international first-year category was added to measure the percentage of students from abroad. “Very rarely do we add anything because of issues of continuity,” said Johnston.
Ryerson’s chief librarian is not surprised at Ryerson’s last-place finish in the library’s holdings per student. “Those numbers are pretty real in terms of books,” said Cathy Matthews. She says Ryerson, which only became a university in 1993, has a log of catching up to match the collection size of older institutions like the University of Toronto.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to see change in the holdings category because that’s history,” said Matthews. “We’d have to have the Yale library fall from the sky.”
Maclean’s 2001 University Rankings
Ryerson’s reputational rankings in the primarily undergraduate category for the last two years.
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