Food & athletics remain Achilles heel

But Globe and Mail’s fifth annual Report Card gives Queen’s high grades for student experience

The Globe’s University Report Card graded 49 universities.
The Globe’s University Report Card graded 49 universities.
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Queen’s earned As and A+s for academic reputation, libraries, diversity of extra-curricular experiences, quality of education and student satisfaction, and A-’s for quality of student services and quality of teaching, in the Globe and Mail’s fifth annual University Report Card.

The University also received some less satisfactory grades, receiving a C in the availability of financial assistance, a C- in food services and a D in fitness and sports facilities.

Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker said it’s important to take the report card’s results into account.

“The survey is not crazy; it has things in it that are not surprising,” he said.

Laker said he questions the survey’s methodology, which is to get students to rate different aspects of their university.

“Each person has their priority--each person has a thing they’d like,” he said. “They point to areas to do further explanation, but they are not in and of themselves a defining message.”

Laker said the report isn’t infallible, however.

“Any time I see data like that, I believe it’s important to look at it and compare it with other data; no one survey is defining of Queen’s,” he said. “If a school only reacts when there’s a survey, you’re going to have a really fickle institution. We’re looking a long-term approach.

Laker said the school is continually improving, especially with the starting of Queen’s Centre construction.

“I agree the facilities are outdated and we need to make a substantial investment,” he said.

Laker questioned the survey’s timing, wondering if the University’s food services rating would have been higher had it come after the completion of improvements currently underway. “This one may not have taken into account things like the Lazy Scholar.”

Laker said the administration sees the report’s findings as a piece of data “in a general sea of information.”

“We’re looking at these kinds of surveys seriously in the hopes of learning something from them,” he said.

Instead of relying on surveys, Laker encouraged prospective students to come experience the campus themselves.

“For people who want to study commerce or women’s studies or whatever, they should come sit in on a class,” he said. “The proof is in the pudding--you’ve got to come see for yourself.” This year’s survey included input from more than 30,000 students and rated aspects of the university experience including teaching, residences, campus life and reputation.

The report card compares universities against other schools of similar size. Queen’s is a medium-sized school, with between 12,000 and 22,000 students.

For complete results, see globeandmail.com/reportcard.

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