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Western places fifth again
Western places fifth again
By Chris Lackner
The leading and thinking the University of Western Ontario has done over the past year has gone unnoticed as Maclean's magazine has placed the institution fifth again.
Maclean's 2000 university study has once again ranked Western fifth out of 15 under the medical/doctoral category. The category includes educational institutions with a wide range of PhD and medical school programs.
The University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, Queen's University and McGill University, all finished ahead of Western in a descending order of first to fourth.
"I'm pleased we once again ranked in the top five universities in Canada," said Western president, Paul Davenport.
The Maclean's study is a useful tool, but fails to measure the complex strengths and weaknesses of an academic institution, he added.
He said the survey also failed to explore unique Western strengths in areas such as civil engineering, business, English and philosophy.
Davenport said he urges prospective Western students to visit the campus and talk to current students, before making a decision as to where to seek their post-secondary education.
Western scored high ratings in the categories pertaining to scholarships, the number of classes taught by tenured faculty, research grants, library services and the size of first and second year classes.
Dave Braun, Western's University Students' Council president, said the Maclean's study is an extremely rough and crude method of measuring the value of a university. "My friends rank women much more accurately than Maclean's ranks universities," he added.
However, Braun said the ranking does indicate Western is one of Canada's elite.
Ann Dowsett Johnston, assisstant managing editor at Maclean's magazine, said the study, based on 21 category indicators, provides a fairly accurate picture of what is going on at the undergraduate university level.
"Don't make your choice based upon these rankings," she said. "We're just trying to make students, the government and the public alert of Canada's academic situation."
"We're happy to hold number one," said Susan Bloch-Nevitte, director of public affairs for the University of Toronto. "It's our aspiration to rank among the leading universities of the world."
Despite the university's enthusiasm at its first placed ranking, Bloch-Nevitte said the study, on its own, is not an adequate method of measuring a university's performance.
She said small differences between Canadian universities are magnified by the Maclean's rankings, when in reality the nation's top post-secondary institution may only be marginally different in quality.