Brandon University’s standings changed from the previous year, in some ways for better and in some ways for worse, in Maclean’s magazine’s new 2018 edition of their university rankings.
Out of the 19 universities on the rankings’ list of “primarily undergraduate” schools, BU came in 16th place overall, a slight improvement over 2017’s 17th-place ranking, putting it just under the University of Winnipeg, which tied for 14th.
However, BU retained its last-place rankings in Student Satisfaction and Scholarships and Bursaries from last year, and this year also placed last in the Reputational Survey, down from last year’s position of 18th.
Among the university’s strengths in the rankings were Student/Faculty Ratio (1st), Library Expenses (3rd), Student Services (4th), Operating Budget (5th), Social Sciences & Humanities Grants (6th), and Citations (7th).
Its other weaknesses were in Student Awards (tied for 18th), Medical/Science Grants (18th), Total Research Dollars (17th), Faculty Awards (tied for 15th), and Library Acquisitions (15th).
Maclean’s profile of Brandon University was also updated, with programs of note including Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies, Crime and Community, and Jazz Studies, and courses of note being the Department of Philosophy’s 70:151 Beer, Books and Sex, and ADES’ 40:254 Disaster Movies: Fact or Fiction.
BU’s graduation rate was pegged at 47.7%, a drop from last year’s 56.1%, while its retention rate also showed a slight decrease, at 73% versus last year’s 74.5%.
The university, as they did last year, played to their strengths in a press release, highlighting the university’s first-place ranking in Student/Faculty Ratio, as well as its high rankings in Student Services and Library Expenses (despite its low placement in Library Acquisitions).
BU interim President Dr. Steven Robinson said on the matter, “Today’s libraries are much more than reading rooms...Along with providing ample space for traditional studying and reference, our library is a spacious and welcoming environment for learning events, for art, and for displays.”
BU also cited “a difference of philosophy” relating to Maclean’s ranking of student quality relating to students admitted with high school grades less than 70%, with acting Vice-President (Academic & Provost) Dr. Meir Serfaty claiming, “Brandon University has an open admissions policy because we know that education can benefit everyone. Our affordability and outreach to non-traditional student populations brings us a diverse and inclusive community that is a real strength.”
Pertaining to BU’s recurring last-place finish in Student Satisfaction, Serfaty said, “Students tell us they are looking for quality academic supports, vibrant student life, opportunities for experiential learning and forceful action against sexualized violence – all areas that we are investing in,” mentioning the university’s new policies and positions targeting those areas, as well as “new and expanded academic support programs to improve retention.”
This year’s edition of Maclean’s university rankings can be accessed online at http://www.macleans.ca/tag/university-rankings-2018/. More results relating to the rankings will be released on October 19th.