UNBC No. 2 in Maclean’s rankings
The University of Northern British Columbia has been recognized yet again as one of the top universities of its size in Canada, according to the latest rankings released by Maclean’s magazine.
UNBC placed second in the Primarily Undergraduate category, which includes 19 universities, marking the 10th year in a row with UNBC finishing in the top three.
Mount Allison University in New Brunswick finished first followed by UNBC. Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., placed third.
“Sustaining this level of excellence requires the combined strengths of our faculty, students, staff, alumni, donors and supporters working together to continually enhance the quality of our academic programming and research culture,” said UNBC president Daniel Weeks.
The ranking is another demonstration of how UNBC is inspiring next-generation leaders who are creating local solutions with global impact, according to Weeks.
“We are really well known here in the north but now, we need to think globally and we have been. We are no longer the best kept secret and we are making a broader impact. Our enrollment is up and we recently made the world ranking list. It’s because of our reputation that people are really beginning to notice,” Weeks said.
UNBC placed first in three of the 14 categories, including number of students who have won national awards, and it also received high honours in two categories related to resource allocation.
UNBC stands out for its student to faculty ratio, the number of faculty members winning national awards and the amount of social science and humanities grants received.
As for overall student satisfaction, Maclean’s once again gave UNBC top grades for mental health services available on campus as well as services provided by administrative staff, academic advising staff and in offering experimental learning opportunities.
“UNBC continues to educate, innovate and lead in Northern British Columbia, across the country and around the world,” said UNBC board of governors chair Tracey Wolsey.
“UNBC has repeatedly placed at, or near, the top of the Maclean’s rankings, a testament to the hard work and commitment of the entire UNBC family.”
McGill University maintained its top ranking in the Medical Doctoral category and Simon Fraser University placed first in the Comprehensive list.
UNBC placed first in the Primarily Undergraduate category for the last two years.
“For us, it’s all about quality and all institutions strive for quality,” Weeks said.
“We have such success in our staff, faculty, resources and our community and when all of these things come together, this produces quality in our students.”
Ahis eyes. After hearing testimony over a span of five weeks, jury members deliberated for two days before reaching their verdict in relation to the January 2012 death of Fribjon Bjornson.
The Vanderhoof father of two young children had gone to a home on the reserve just south of Fort St. James to buy drugs.
What happened next remains largely a mystery but evidence presented during the trial had suggested Charlie and three others – Wesley Duncan, Jesse Bird and a third person whose name is protected by a court-ordered publication ban – launched an apparently-unprovoked attack on Bjornson. According to an agreed statement of facts, he was dragged into the home’s basement where he was punched and kicked into unconsciousness and then strangled with a telephone cord, although it’s possible Bjornson was already dead by that time.
Theresa Charlie, meanwhile, had emptied Bjornson’s wallet and distributed about $800 in cash between the culprits.
The incident occurred in an atmosphere of chaos fueled by drugs and alcohol.
When he testified, Duncan described Bjornson’s death as an “accident.”
“We got in a scuffle with him and that and it just went bad,” Duncan continued.
In June, Duncan and Bird were sentenced to life without eligibility for parole for 15 years after they pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Charlie’s sister, Theresa, who had been in custody for 3 1/2 years, was sentenced to time served on a count of indignity to a dead body.
Given a chance to speak, Charlie stood up and turned to Bjornson’s parents, Fred and Eileen, and apologized.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t know what happened.”
“I don’t doubt that, I don’t doubt that you’re sorry,” Bjornson’s father replied. “But I know what you did. I know you were there.”
Fred Bjornson pumped a fist upon hearing the verdict and within moments Eileen was in tears, her head on his shoulder.
The outcome had been a long time coming and the process has exacted an emotional toll, they said in an interview outside the courtroom. “It’s huge,” Fred Bjornson said. “Not only did they take my son’s life, they (Charlie, Duncan and Bird) took their own lives because they’re behind bars now,” Eileen Bjornson added. “Let’s just hope they make something of it now, you know. Not for nothing.”
They described Fribjon, who was 28 at the time of his death, as kind, generous and thoughtful.
“I’d like to say he was a true northern boy. He liked to fish and hunt and he loved the outdoors and he was just ours and we love him and miss him,” Eileen said as she broke into sobs.
Fribjon had addiction issues they acknowledged but added no one is perfect.
“He had a good heart and he was constantly doing things for people,” Fred said.
While happy with the outcome, they said key a question remains unanswered: Why was their son attacked?
Outside the courtroom, defence lawyer Danny Markovitz spoke to the couple about the possibility of meeting with Charlie face-to- face with the hope of getting an answer.
“If it comes to nothing, then we’re no worse off than we are now, but at least we have tried,” Eileen said.
Also unanswered is why Bjornson’s head was cut off in the process of disposing of his body in the days that followed.
Charlie initially denied carrying out the act but in an agreed statement of facts acknowledged he was the one who did it and pleaded guilty to indignity to a dead body.
On that count, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ron Tindale went through the formality of sentencing Charlie to three years, to be served concurrently to his life sentence.
First-degree murder automatically carries a term of life without eligibility for parole for 25 years.
Even then, he must convince a panel he deserves to be let out and if he is, will remain under the eye of a parole officer for the rest of his life.