The 2011 MacLean’s University Rankings were released today and, as expected, do not reflect a true sense of CBU’s student satisfaction and campus experience. Aside from the financial criteria used for measurement, Maclean’s reported on key results from two national surveys, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Canadian University Survey Consortium (CUSC), which did not include CBU student participation. The student survey data for the 2011 report was gathered during the 2009-10 academic year and CBU was only included as of January 2011. However, CBU results will be available for next year’s MacLean’s release and highlights of those results can be found at www.cbu.ca/nsse.
What has been learned from CBU’s first set of results with NSSE is that Cape Breton University students report higher levels of involvement in student activities including lectures, social events, athletic team home games, cultural offerings and in community service/volunteer activities, than comparable undergraduate universities. In terms of educational and personal growth, CBU consistently scored higher than the average of all participating Canadian universities and they also report high quality relationships with other students and with faculty members. Ninety-five per cent of students surveyed reported their professors to be reasonably accessible outside of the classroom. Moreover, the percentage of students who report professors taking a personal interest in their academic progress is 10 percentage points higher for CBU students than the average of all participating Canadian universities in this year’s NSSE survey.
“These are the important facets of university life,” states President and Vice-Chancellor John Harker, adding that “Maclean’s fails to measure some of Cape Breton University’s more defining characteristics such as our strong student-faculty relationships and our campus wide focus on students’ educational and personal growth. When 85 per cent of those surveyed, both in first and fourth year, tell us that they would attend CBU if starting university over again, I know that our faculty and staff are doing a superb job in supporting our students and we can all be proud of what happens here.”
According to students’ NSSE survey comments, CBU provides excellent services, is continually enlarging scholarship offerings, improving library resources, and expanding campus infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing student body.
Maclean’s does indicate that the average entering grade of our students is high and our average class size is consistently among the best in the country through all four years of study. This speaks to the calibre of students attending CBU and their personal commitment to learning. “Enrolment is growing and the campus is vibrant,” notes Harker and “we have every reason to be proud of this university.”