U of S ‘holding our own’ despite last-place finish in Maclean’s list
The University of Saskatchewan’s second consecutive last-place finish in a popular Canadian magazine’s annual university rankings will have “no effect whatsoever” on its ability to attract and retain students and faculty, says its recently appointed provost.
Macleans magazine placed the U of S last among the country’s 15 medical-doctoral schools, a group that includes some of Canada’s largest and most prestigious universities, in its 2018 rankings. Last year, it tied for last place; a year earlier, it finished 13th out of 15.
“We’re holding our own here, but I think we would hold our own across the country,” said Tony Vanelli, an electrical engineer who was appointed Aug. 1 to a five-year term as head of academic affairs.
Pointing to a 2.1 per cent yearover-year enrolment increase — the university in September reported having 20,670 undergraduate and graduate students — Vanelli said there’s little in the rankings to suggest the U of S will suffer as a result. “I think we’re not defined by surveys,” Vanelli said. “I think surveys (contain) important information but I would treat this the same way even if we had great results.”
The magazine ranked the U of S first for its operating budget — which has been cut recently — and scored well in its student-faculty ratio, but that was not enough to elevate it above last place. The Saskatoon university finished last or second to last in seven of the 12 categories used to determine each institution’s position on the list, and failed to make it into the top 10 in two other categories.
Vanelli said while any ranking of universities is unlikely to stop the U of S from pursuing its goals, the institution does react to some categories and improve its performance in student awards and student services.
The magazine’s 2018 ranking of medical-doctoral schools was topped by Montreal’s McGill; the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia rounded out the top three.
The University of Regina finished 13th out of the country’s 15 “comprehensive” universities — a group that includes schools with some graduate-level research and a range of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.