Monday, November 08, 2004

MACLEANS UNIVERSITY RANKINGS

Has the CBC always reported on the annual Macleans university rankings? It strikes me as odd when one media outlet reports, as news, the content created by another media outlet. It certainly seems to lend even more unnecessary legitimacy to the Macleans rankings.

Macleans certainly provides a very comprehensive aggregation and analysis of important data about Canadian universities. It is data that is certainly worth consulting when choosing a university to attend. The problem is the near unimpeachable reputation this survey has developed amongst many Canadians. But there is no way that anyone can adequately rank the 'overall quality' of the universities.

The school's that consistently rank in the top five of the medical/doctoral category (UofT, McGill, Western, UBC, Queen's) are probably the best school's in the country. But people probably already know this because of the schools' reputations and the graduates they produce. Further, because these school's are understood to be the best they maintain their reputations by getting the most private donations, research grants and top professors. This overshadows the high quality of education at other Canadian schools and any relative improvement that those other schools such as Dalhousie, Alberta and McMaster might make.

Am I bitter that my alma matter (McGill) is again ranked second to the behmouth that is UofT, and that my new school (Queen's) has fallen from third to fifth? Perhaps. But to me this just proves my point. The two best schools in the country are not ranked 1-2.

Posted by Matthew @ 11:11 PM