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BU president questions Maclean’s rankings

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Maclean’s magazine released its 2021 university rankings on Thursday, which revealed that Brandon University is designated 17th in the “primarily undergraduate” category that features a total of 19 schools.

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Maclean’s magazine released its 2021 university rankings on Thursday, which revealed that Brandon University is designated 17th in the “primarily undergraduate” category that features a total of 19 schools.

While this represents a single-spot increase from last year’s rankings, BU president David Docherty still believes that the publication is failing to fully credit his school’s strengths as a regionally focused institution.

In a Thursday news release from BU, Docherty said Maclean’s is continuing to penalize the university for valuing different priorities, including its focus on welcoming students who struggled in high school.

“We see that as a tremendous strength, both as an investment in these students and as a source of opportunity for our region,” he said. “We don’t turn our back on any Westman students.”

Furthermore, Docherty said BU’s low scores in areas such as the “student satisfaction survey” are also highly questionable, especially since those numbers don’t reflect, in his view, the school’s emphasis on social amenities and smaller class sizes.

“One answer might be that BU students are just more cautious in filling out their surveys,” he said. “Very few students can make a direct comparison between their BU experience and what it’s like at some other university.”

With that being said, Docherty was happy to see that Maclean’s decided to sing BU’s praises in a variety of other categories, including the school’s student-to-faculty ratio, library expenses, student services and research in areas like social sciences and the humanities.

While Docherty thinks there is always room for improvement, he still believes that BU’s focus on fixing issues unique to Westman puts them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to Maclean’s annual rankings.

“We find ourselves in an area that’s somewhat unfairly under-supported and overlooked, and we’re going to continue to dig in and do the hard work of supporting our students, building our community and investing in opportunity that makes a difference right here at home,” Docherty said.

This year marks Maclean’s 30th annual university rankings, which continues a mandate that was first established in 1991.

Outside of evaluating primarily undergraduate schools, the publication also provides a comprehensive breakdown of different institutions in several other categories, including “comprehensive” and “medical doctoral.”

In terms of determining top schools by overall reputation, which combines all three categories into one group, BU ranks 48th out of 49 total institutions.

To read Maclean’s 2021 university rankings in full, visit macleans.ca/education/university-rankings-2021/.

» The Brandon Sun

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