A new school of thought
For the past decade, the name Maclean's has made students at Western shudder and has forced the hair on J.W.'s tail to stand on end. That's why we are pleased to learn that Maclean's has decided to venture in a new direction targeting other post-secondary institutions.
Sigh of relief.
With the desire to explore new territory, managing editor Ann Dowsett Johnston has said that Canada's national newsmagazine is going to help students by supplying information about community colleges.
It's an idea that is long overdue.
Maclean's, the self-proclaimed educational informant for the nation, has come under fire over the years for ranking Canada's universities. And while university educators, students and graduates have cried that Maclean's does not have its facts straight about universities, colleges have remained untouched by the magazine's powerful pen.
Maclean's is not actually going to rank the colleges, but regardless, providing information to the public about colleges can only be beneficial, with or without a grade scale.
Right now, there is no popular guide for information about the over 100 colleges existing in Canada. The schools are spread about the country but there is not a lot of cumulative data about them. What distinguishes them from each other? What grades are required? Is there on-campus housing? For students, having all this information at their fingertips will help with the choice when it comes time to choose a school or transfer.
If you think the guide will not help Western students, think again. Western is the single largest feeder for enrollment at London's Fanshawe College. The trend of students getting their first degree at universities and then continuing studies at a college so they can actually get a real job is on the rise.
As well, the guide will raise the profile of Canada's colleges which benefits all post-secondary institutions by putting education in the spotlight once more.
The guide will also expand the role of Maclean's, though whether the magazine wants to be established as the sole expertise on post-secondary education is questionable. It seems Maclean's is known more in student circles for its university guides than its journalists' coverage of other Canadian news throughout the year.
Why the magazine has taken on the role of school watchdog and others have not jumped at the opportunity for an open market is anybody's guess. Regardless, it is good that at least one organization is making an attempt to bring college education to whoever wants it.