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From the President's Office

University Report Card

The Globe and Mail today published the University Report card which ranked students' perceptions of 29 of 93 Canadian universities based on a number of indicators. The study was conducted by the consulting firm Strategic Council/Uthink.

In describing their methodology, the report's authors indicated that "20,675 on-line surveys were completed by current undergraduate students of Canadian universities. Some 120,000 students from the studentawards.com on-line community were invited to complete the survey." The authors added, "Universities that had fewer than 250 students respondents were not included in the rankings." Trent University was not included in the final ranking.

Canada's University presidents have responded to the report card by publishing their collective response on the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada (AUCC) web site. The content of their message is attached to this information item below.

In responding to the report card, many of the university presidents agreed that:

- general concerns exist regarding the survey methodology which relied on a minimum of 250 students' participation in order for a university to be ranked

- there is no such thing as the single 'best' university for each and every student

Trent University values students' opinions about their experiences at Trent and undertakes its own research to monitor students' perspectives.

The university is pleased that its own 2000 survey of Trent graduates confirmed that 97 per cent of Trent graduates are satisfied with their education and that 92 per cent of graduates would recommend Trent to prospective applicants based on their educational experience.

AUCC releases statement regarding the Strategic Counsel/Uthink ranking of universities

OTTAWA, Oct. 23, 2002 - The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada today released the following statement:

"Canada's universities strongly believe in the value of public and student opinion and consistently seek feedback. Universities routinely use the in-depth information about their students' views and experiences that they have gathered to improve their programs and services. Universities also believe that students and parents should have access to a wide range of information about Canadian universities in order to make appropriate and clear choices.

However, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has expressed concerns about the online survey of university students, which was conducted by The Strategic Counsel and Uthink and published today in the Globe and Mail.

AUCC is concerned about the survey methodology, judging that it could mislead students, parents and guidance counsellors about the relative quality of our institutions. The rankings provide student opinion gathered in an online survey and do not include the full spectrum of Canadian universities or their students' views.

In AUCC's view, there is no such thing as the single 'best' university for each and every student. Universities are complex institutions, serving a variety of missions, and sensitive to the needs of their students and communities. AUCC is concerned about the methodology used for this survey, because it does not assure an appropriate sample for each university. Students will find quality educational programs and experiences at every university in Canada, and this is a feature of our university system that is much admired around the world.

Students recognize the value of a university degree and are enrolling in ever-increasing numbers in Canadian universities. In fact, universities expect enrolment - fuelled by increased demand - will grow by up to 30 percent in the next decade, thereby providing solid evidence of the reputation for excellence of Canada's universities."

AUCC represents 93 universities and university colleges across Canada that offer more than 10,000 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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Last updated November 5, 2002