Queen’s falls in international rank

The QS World University Ranking has placed Queen’s at 189 out of the top 400 schools

Queen's University falls 14 spots to 189th place in the 2013 QS World University ranking.
Queen's University falls 14 spots to 189th place in the 2013 QS World University ranking.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has released their annual World University Ranking report, placing Queen’s at its poorest rating so far by the company.

Queen’s tied for the 189th spot out of the top 400 universities, a drop in 14 spots since 2012.

The University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia were the only Canadian Universities to rank in the top 50.

The University’s overall score was calculated based on academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-to-student ratio, citations per faculty, proportion of international students and proportion of international faculty.

The World University Rankings report, which was first compiled in 2004, takes into account the worldwide reputation of a school, according to Jim Lee, vice-provost (international).

“These representational surveys are quite controversial because they’re really just based on opinion, and not fact,” he said.

Lee said that students shouldn’t take the ranking too seriously as he disagrees with its methodology.

“They just mail out a survey to a bunch of academics and ask them to fill in what they think are the top universities,” he said. “How much reliability do you really want to place on that?”

Lee said he doesn’t believe the ranking will change how many students choose Queen’s, as their choice will rely on other factors, such as student experience.

“What those rankings don’t measure are things like the quality of student experience and high-quality teaching,” he said. “Those components are not taken into account at all.”

Despite this, the rankings can’t be completely ignored, and plans are well in the works to raise Queen’s international standing, he added.

Lee said he’s spearheading an internationalization strategy which will ultimately expand and solidify the University’s international profile.

“[The plan] will make sure that all of our students, whether they travel abroad, or stay here on campus, will have the international and intercultural skills to operate successfully in today’s society, because it’s global,” he said.

Lee said that while rankings don’t drive this strategy, he still keeps them in mind.

The International Student Barometer (ISB), which Lee said reflects the University more accurately, ranked it first in Canada.

The ISB calculates a school’s score entirely on student experience, an important factor, according to Jamie Taylor, director of continuous surveys at the International Graduate Insight Group, which created the ISB.

“[A high rank] comes through high student satisfaction ratings which are achieved through great international support mechanisms and well-delivered programs,” he told the Journal via email.

“What today’s students say will determine tomorrow’s student flows, so it’s critical for institutions to understand the spectrum of expectations among students.”

Emily Burda, ConEd ’15, said she doesn’t feel students should pay too much attention to rankings.

“It’s about Queen’s pride,” she said. “We know we have a good school, and we’re still known as a good school.

“I don’t think [rankings] cause enough of a difference to make our reputation change at all.”

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