‘Concordia Is Unique,’ Says Administration

University Moves Up to 24th Place in Maclean’s Ranking

  • Photo Riley Sparks

Despite finishing 11th out of 12 comprehensive universities in the latest Maclean’s University Rankings, Concordia’s administration is not in damage-control mode. The problem is Maclean’s, they argue, not Concordia.

“We should be at the top. Concordia is unique in its disciplinary mix and in what it offers students and in the environment it offers it in,” said Brad Tucker, the head of institutional planning at Concordia. “You aren’t going to find anything like Concordia anywhere else in North America.

“Where else do you find engineering and arts together? They call it seepage, and Concordia is only moving more in that direction.”

Finishing 24th out of 49 universities, Concordia’s ranking was hurt largely by the university’s low level of research funding—only $17 million—ranking last among comprehensive schools and a small fraction of what most doctoral schools boast. Reputation, worth 20 per cent of Maclean’s ranking, also hurt Concordia.

“Its interesting to look at the criteria Maclean’s uses to rank university excellence,” said Tucker. “To me, the amount of money you get from the government is not a skill, the amount of money you devote to the library is not a skill, student awards is not a skill, your student-faculty ratio is not a skill, the amount of grant money you attract—well, there might be some skill there.”

“You aren’t going to find anything like Concordia anywhere else in North America,”
—Brad Tucker,
­­Head of
Institutional Planning

In five other international rankings, Concordia finishes almost uniformly 19th in the country, with only a slight variation.

“Despite finishing 11th, we led in areas we did realize we excelled in,” said university spokesperson Chris Mota. She cited the university’s co-curricular record and volunteer centre as firsts which were ignored by Maclean’s.

Concordia was cited by the magazine as a university that may have fallen through the cracks of its ranking system. Despite calling Concordia “the red headed step-child” of English Montreal institutions, Maclean’s wrote that Concordia’s social activism and creativity might not have been reflected in the rankings.

“The passion of a place is a huge draw, and if someone wants to be socially engaged, it’s a draw at Concordia, as it should be,” said Mota.

Tucker will hold an open question period on ranking systems on Nov. 22.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 14, published November 16, 2010.

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