Mount Allison University’s longtime stronghold on Maclean’s “primarily undergraduate” category in the magazine’s annual university rankings has finally loosened. Maclean’s now ranks Mt. A as the fourth-best undergraduate university in Canada. Mt. A still holds to the top spot among Atlantic schools.
Every year Maclean’s magazine ranks Canada’s undergraduate universities in categories like ‘scholarships and bursaries,’ ‘student services,’ ‘student/faculty ratio,’ ‘faculty and student awards’ and more.
Last Wednesday, Oct. 28, Mt. A President Robert Campbell sent an email to all students concerning Mt.A’s decrease in position. This email was sent in advance of Maclean’s official publication of the rankings. Campbell wrote: “Though we have achieved higher rankings in the past, it is important to note that being ranked among the top undergraduate universities in Canada is a positive result.”
Campbell said that Mt. A scored very well in many of the key areas Maclean’s takes into consideration. “Mt. A was ranked first overall amongst undergraduate schools in terms of faculty awards and per capita expenditures on library services, and near the top in terms of research grants in sciences, student awards, and overall reputation,” he wrote.
Robert Hiscock, Mt. A’s director of marketing and communications, said the higher rankings in areas of faculty relations were “good signs, with respect to the relationship between faculty and students, which is of course core to what we do at any university.”
Fourth-year student Caroline Kovesi said she feels greatly indebted to her professors, in particular those who go out of their way to support and enrich her learning inside or outside their office hours and classtime.
What brought Mt. A’s score down was the introduction of student evaluations of their satisfaction with their schools. According to Maclean’s, Mt. A’s “decline was partially driven by their 14th-place finish in student satisfaction. In 2014, students were upset when the university administration did not refund any some tuition after a three-week strike by faculty.”
“No university wants to go through a strike and there can sometimes be residual feelings depending on the nature of the strike […] I don’t see anything in the data that I’ve received that says that was the one thing,” said Hiscock.
Kovesi said she didn’t think all of student satisfaction was due to the lack of rebates. “I think that the fact that we didn’t get the rebate was demonstrative of changing trends at the university, and gave us a clearer understanding of where the university’s priorities lie. I think that was eye-opening for us, and that a lot of the dissatisfaction led from it.”
MASU President Dylan Wooley-Berry said that he believes the strike and lack of rebate are still sore spots among the student body, but there are still other more important issues for students.
“I don’t think [the lack of tuition rebate is] a pressing issue. When I talk to students that’s never an issue that has come up this year, so I was a little surprised to see that correlation,” said Wooley-Berry.
Wooley-Berry said issues like how the university invests its endowment, the lack of accessibility on campus, and a need for increased mental-health resources are issues he sees as more important to the student population.
Hiscock said he followed up with Maclean’s and they told him they had received 124 student evaluations surrounding student satisfaction. Hiscock said that this was a relatively low number in comparison to our student base. “I’m not saying it isn’t what it is, but it is a low number.”