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Maclean’s ranks U of A fifth overall, first for operating budget

Just like last year, the year before, and the year before that, the University of Alberta has ranked 5th in the Maclean’s University Rankings’ medical/doctoral category.

At the top of the 2017 Maclean’s medical/doctoral charts were McGill, Toronto, British Columbia, and Queen’s. The category ranks 15 schools with broad PhD programs according to factors including student-faculty ratio, student satisfaction, professor research, academic resource availability, and reputation.

In 2011, the U of A dropped from fourth to fifth place in the Maclean’s rankings and has maintained the position since.

The U of A came in fourth in “reputational survey,” which was based on “those whose professions put them in a position to form opinions about how well universities are meeting the needs of students, and how ready their graduates are to embark on successful careers” — that is, administrators, faculty, high school guidance counsellors, and people in business.

Despite the operating budget being a topic of serious concern for the Board of Governors in June, Maclean’s ranked the U of A’s operating budget in first place. The university’s projected budgets indicate that the university’s costs are going up while revenues are staying the same — by 2020, costs are likely to exceed revenues. President David Turpin told the board that the solution to the budgetary problem will be to reduce staff costs, which can include reducing the number of new faculty and not replacing faculty that leave.

Meanwhile, the university’s student services were ranked 15th. It finished in seventh for “student satisfaction,” based on surveys conducted by Maclean’s on 16,955 students. These surveys asked students to rate their university’s student life staff, instructors, administrators, mental health services, and sexual assault prevention tactics.

Along with the rankings, Maclean’s listed a few of the U of A’s “Standout Programs,” the first of which was Computing Science, which was unable to graduate an unknown number of students last year due to over-enrollment. Computing Science was joined by Radiation Therapy and Drama.

On the plus side, the university continues to dominate the alphabetical category at first place (followed by Calgary, Dalhousie, Laval, and Manitoba). The alphabetical category is based on the position of the first letter of the university’s name in the English alphabet.

The Maclean’s ranking methodology can be found online.

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