Finally at the bottom

By John Leung

The verdict is in, and it’s not looking good for the University of Calgary.

In a survey of graduates from 46 universities across Canada conducted by Macleans’ magazine as part of their 2004 university rankings, the University of Calgary came in last place. Only 43 percent of graduates rated their experiences as very good, compared to Mount Allison University in New Brunswick on the other end of the spectrum, who had 88 percent of graduates give a very good rating.

Students’ Union President Bryan West was quick to defend the university’s score, stating that most of the universities that came in at the top of the list were smaller universities like Bishop’s and Acadia, adding that there is a correlation between larger institutions and rates of dissatisfaction. Institutions that are roughly the same size or larger than the U of C, like the University of Alberta and UBC also ended up in the bottom half of the list.

West said that this was still nothing to celebrate.

“It doesn’t let us off the hook in terms of undergraduate experience,” he said, adding that this is a signal to administration and the provincial government that it is time for change.

West also reiterated the points that he made in his Nov. 16 e-mail to all students, saying that the university was facing “a perfect storm of negative qualifiers” that signified that “the education system in Alberta is deathly sick.” This includes continued maximum tuition increases, budget cuts and low scores on quality indicators such as the Macleans’ poll.

West went on to state that the message the province and the university are sending out to the Alberta voters, with all of the new programs being established here, is really all glam and no substance. These programs are simply window dressing to a problem that goes far further, and undergraduate students are not getting the benefit.

“All this other BS is deceiving, and there is a problem,” West stated.

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