SFU is still number one

Maclean’s names the Archaeology and Envfiornment programs as standouts for SFU. - Photo by Mark Burnham

SFU, you’ve done it again! MacLean’s has released its university rankings for 2016 and SFU has — for the seventh time in eight years — clinched the top comprehensive university spot.

The university lost the title in 2014, when the University of Victoria temporarily dethroned SFU, bumping it down to second place.

SFU President Andrew Petter was pleased to announce the rankings in this month’s Senate meeting. He reminded the room that rankings are not everything, but nonetheless, this was a cause for celebration.

“We usually take rankings with a grain of salt, but in this case it comes with a lot of sugar,” he joked.

MacLean’s defines comprehensive universities as those with significant research activity, strong undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as professional schools — or, as Petter puts it, “research-intensive universities unburdened by medical schools.”

The president spoke to what he sees as the key factors that went into this high ranking: “Certainly the success we’ve had with faculty and student awards and our research performance clearly figured very strongly in the reasons why we did as well as we did.”

Although MacLean’s put SFU in the top spot, they also asked students themselves to rank Canadian universities for the first time in a decade. According to the surveys, Guelph is the top favourite comprehensive university among students, while SFU ranks much lower at 12th place.

The survey included various subcategories for students to rate their school, such as administrative staff, instructors, and the amount of red tape in its bureaucracy. In these subcategories, students rated SFU the highest among comprehensive universities for its mental health services, making it students’ ninth favourite overall in the country.

Despite the positives of the top ranking, Petter acknowledged that there are other things to consider when evaluating SFU as a whole. “We understand that the strengths of the university are not fully measured by these rankings,” he said, “but it’s nonetheless nice to get that kind of recognition.”