Editor, the Gauntlet,
Once again, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief after reading the latest issue of Maclean's.
While I must admit it is refreshing to find some sort of consistency in the media--for the misinformed, inequitable reporting shown in previous rankings was as prevalent as always--it is somewhat disheartening to discover little effort has been made to achieve anything resembling comparative accuracy. The Maclean's rankings once again glorify a precious few universities, while largely ignoring, and thus demeaning, the rest.
I find it remarkable that no mention is made of the relative age of many of the universities. How can it be expected that the University of Calgary, existing for a mere 35 years, will compare to universities aged 100 years or more? What of other, younger institutions? Simply viewing the information presented at the U of C's Performance Indicators Site, www.fp.ucalgary.ca/unicomm/KPI, exposes many of the inaccuracies and biases shown in this year's Maclean's report.
Examining the history of many other low ranking institutions reveals much of the same. To compare the library resources of a 110-year-old university to that of a 35-year-old one seems slightly flawed, but then again, comparing apples to oranges was never that simple.
I do not seek to glorify my own university any more than it deserves. However, I do believe greater recognition is undeniably past due in many cases. Numerous students enrolled in younger universities, myself included, have come to expect our typically dismal annual Maclean's ranking.
Strangely enough, being ranked among the lowest in its class has never prevented the U of C from experiencing a massive flood of new students every year and I doubt the situation is much different elsewhere. A better understanding of what makes a great university is needed before any Maclean's report will resemble anything remotely helpful to prospective students.