U of T takes top spot in Maclean's ranking

By Steven de Sousa

The University of Toronto has taken the top spot in the annual Maclean’s university rankings for the 12th consecutive year.

Overall, U of T tied with McGill University for first place among medical-doctoral universities, followed by Western, UBC and Queen’s. U of T also earned top spot in the magazine’s national reputational survey, ranking first in the Best Overall and Leaders of Tomorrow categories.

“It is gratifying to have the outstanding performance of our faculty, students and staff recognized through another top ranking in Maclean’s magazine,” said Professor David Naylor, who will be officially installed as U of T’s 15th president today. “This year’s survey underscores our tradition of excellence in teaching and research but also highlights areas where we could do better.”

The Maclean’s analysis confirms what the university has observed through other means, such as the results of the National Survey on Student Engagement, Naylor said. Generally, U of T does particularly well in its academic programs; however, these studies also reflect the challenges that larger universities face, particularly in making students feel welcome.

“While I’m very pleased with the overall results, we also have to pay attention to the feedback we’re getting on student experience.” Naylor added. “That’s why we’ve made improving the student experience – while maintaining the best standards for teaching and research – the overarching priority of our long-term academic plan, Stepping Up.”

Naylor pointed to two other recent surveys that show U of T’s reputation is gaining momentum internationally. In a recent survey by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, U of T finished 24th in an academic ranking of the world’s top 500 universities. Another survey by the Times Higher Education Supplement placed U of T 29th on its annual list of the world’s top 200 universities, up eight spots from the year before.

Ontario universities have consistently fared well in the annual Maclean’srankings, despite receiving less funding per student over the past decade than universities in other provinces. Earlier this year, Premier Dalton McGuinty unveiled Reaching Higher, a blueprint to pull Ontario universities out of the funding basement and ensure a vibrant post-secondary education sector in the province.

The plan, which builds on recommendations by former premier Bob Rae’s review of the post-secondary sector in Ontario, earmarks $6.2 billion over five years to strengthening post-secondary education. “We look forward to putting these new resources into action to provide innovative opportunities for our students, support our scholars and move into an even more competitive position internationally,” Naylor said. “We must not become complacent – we will continue to raise the bar.”

The Maclean’s survey compared Canada’s 15 medical-doctoral universities along 24 indices based on their responses to standardized questionnaires covering the areas of student body, classes, faculty, finances, library and reputation. U of T finished third in student retention and fourth in student awards. U of T Libraries ranked first in total holdings and expenses, second in acquisitions and fifth in holdings per student. U of T professors ranked second in awards per full-time faculty.