U of R continues to slip in national rankings
President Timmons “disappointed” by results
The University of Regina has slipped two places since last year in the annual Maclean’s University Rankings, tying with Université du Québec à Montréal for twelfth out of fifteen Canadian comprehensive universities. Simon Fraser University took the top spot, followed by Waterloo and Victoria. This continues a downward trend for U of R, after falling two places in last year’s rankings as well.
While the U of R performed abysmally in the categories of Social Sciences/Humanities Grants, Student Awards, Total Research Dollars, and Library Acquisitions, the rankings are not all bad. U of R placed second in the Operating Budget (per student) category, third in Student/Faculty Ratio, and fourth in Scholarships/Bursaries.
In a letter circulated among faculty and staff earlier this month, U of R President Vianne Timmons expressed her disappointment with the U of R’s decline.
“While not the only metric we measure ourselves on,” writes Timmons, “all of us need to consider these results and determine whether there are lessons we can learn from other comparable institutions to strengthen our commitment to teaching, research and public service.”
The Maclean’s rankings have been criticized by some as misleading, leading to a boycott by a number of Canadian universities in 2006. According to Timmons, the rankings are just one benchmark, not the basis for planning and priorities at the U of R. “…The University will continue to focus its efforts on… student success, research impact, and commitment to our communities.”
Dr. John Stavrinides, principal investigator at the U of R’s Stavrinides Laboratory, is also disappointed in the results:
“The President mentioned that our overall ranking fell from tenth to twelfth, and that there were lessons to be learned,” Stavrinides told the Carillon via email. “But we had already dropped from eighth to tenth in the previous year, so why did we continue to drop?”
Stavrinides also noted that the U of R’s high placement in the Operating Budget category (2/15) may actually be cause for concern, rather than celebration:
“We have (had) one of the highest per-student budgets, yet we rank close to the bottom of the list. That also means that almost all of the institutions that rank higher than us overall have (had) a lower per-student operating budget. So how are the other institutions doing so much more with less, and what does this say about budgetary priorities at our institution?”
According to Stavrinides, graduate students at U of R are “grossly underfunded” compared to similar institutions, which has a negative impact on recruitment. “Total research dollars at our institution in 2014/2015 was $18.5 million, the lowest since 2003, and that should be cause for concern.”
President Timmons’ letter acknowledges “room for improvement” at U of R, but claims recent initiatives such as the new U of R policy on sexual assault and violence, as well as the new Student App “should serve to address some of these issues.”
Timmons also describes U of R’s increase in the reputation ranking (33/49 up from 38/49 last year) as an encouraging sign.
Administration was unavailable for further comment.
The full list of rankings and survey methodology can be found at: www.macleans.ca/education/best-universities-comprehensive-2016