Cover

MEDICAL DOCTORAL WINNER

MCGILL UNIVERSITY

November 14 2005
Cover

MEDICAL DOCTORAL WINNER

MCGILL UNIVERSITY

November 14 2005

MEDICAL DOCTORAL WINNER

Cover

UNIVERSITY RANKINGS | Medical Doctoral

MCGILL UNIVERSITY

When Clive Chang graduated from high school with a 97-per-cent average in 2002, he was showered with scholarship offers. To his mother’s chagrin, he turned down one valued at $40,000. “That’s two cars’ worth,” she told him. But Chang, now pursuing two degrees at McGill University—in commerce and music—and handling an extraordinary load of nine courses, was wowed by the Montreal institution. Even though it offered less scholarship money than others, he knew McGill was his first choice the moment he passed through its famed Roddick Gates. “I remember walking through Montreal,” says Chang, who grew up in Mississauga, west of Toronto. “It was so busy-crazy. Then I turned onto the campus and it was a different world. My first experience in Montreal was so great, it was, ‘Mom, I’ll settle for one car’s worth and go to McGill.’ ”

Graced with history and imbued with a sense of renewal, this Montreal powerhouse is attracting bright students and faculty from around the globe, writes KATHERINE MACKLEM

MCGILL UNIVERSITY

A world-renowned research institution,

and tied as Canada’s top-ranked medicaldoctoral university, McGill has long attracted many of the best students and faculty in the country. Founded in 1821, it boasts 32,000 students, 1,485 professors and 21 faculties. Once home to such luminaries as writer Hugh MacLennan and humourist Stephen Leacock, McGill now hosts a new generation of stars, including pain specialist Jeffrey Mogil, astrophysics whiz Victoria Kaspi and genomics Wunderkind Tom Hudson. And,

MEDICAL DOCTORAL UNIVERSITIES

The Maclean’s ranking takes a measure of the undergraduate experience, comparing universities in three peer groupings. Those in the Medical Doctoral category have a broad range of Ph.D. programs and research, as well as medical schools.

like the city it occupies, it’s graced with a magic that’s as much steeped in its history as in the enveloping culture. Yet as solid as its reputation is at home and globally, McGill has not led the Maclean’s ranking for more than a decade. Now, with a dynamic principal at the helm, its story is one of renewal and rejuvenation.

A former vice-president of research at the University of Toronto, Heather Munroe-Blum is a brilliant strategist with a well-defined vision. She points out that even though Quebec tuition has been frozen since 1994, leaving McGill “grotesquely underfunded,” the university has maintained its emphasis on quality. A prime beneficiary of provincial and federal initiatives, McGill leverages government grants with support from philanthropists and research partners. Under a national initiative to create 2,000 research professorships, the Canada Research Chairs, McGill has used its CRCs—and their prestige-

MEDICAL DOCTORAL WINNER | UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

An eminent research institution is redoubling its efforts to ensure that undergrads have what it takes to become world-class innovators, writes VICTOR DWYER

to recruit externally, attracting 109 top-notch CRC academics. In all, McGill has hired 100 new professors in each of the past five years, most from outside Canada. Today, fully a third of McGill’s faculty is new blood. Says Munroe-Blum: “It’s a sea change—an explosion in our academic senior ranks.”

One star recruit is Wendy Thomson, the new director of the school of social work. Former chief adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair on public service reform, Thomson chose McGill as much for its current leadership as for its reputation. “I’ve been involved with modernizing traditional public institutions,” says Thomson. “That’s the project the principal is engaged in: preserving the best of McGill but also making it fit for the 21st century.”

But there’s more to Munroe-Blum’s vision than world-class academia. “We have a deep interest in being not only Canada’s No. 1 research university, but in being student-

Naylor’s mission includes a $30-million plan to foster interdisciplinary centres of study

centred as well,” she says. “Like many researchintensive universities, we’re coming from behind in that regard.” In 2003, McGill bought a nearby upscale hotel, transforming it into a residence and ensuring a room for every first-year student from outside Montreal. More recently, Munroe-Blum created a task force on student life, which she chairs. The goal? “The hallmark of an undergraduate education at McGill is that our students are going to benefit from the richness of the research environment. That will make them better innovators and give them a network they will use when they graduate.”

A case in point is the new Arts Legacy program, an interdisciplinary offering on the origins of social and political ideas, designed for first-year students. Providing a link between research and undergrad teaching, it

offers small tutorial groups to develop analytical skills and larger lectures from profs who are leaders in their fields. “It combines everything all in one,” says student Joan Christiansen, a freshman from Vancouver. “It’s perfect for me,” she says, adding that arriving at McGill felt like coming home. “To be cheesy about it,” she says, “this felt like family.” A big family, perhaps, and one that delivers a world-class education.

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

When Alireza Rabi of the University of Toronto was expected in Philadelphia last May to present a paper he had co-authored at the university’s Artificial Perception Laboratory, only one thing kept him from attending: he had to write a final exam the same time as the conference. That’s because Rabi was still only in the third year of his undergraduate engineering science degree. Now 21 and in his final year, Rabi is co-

Cover I UNIVERSITY RANKINGS Medical Doctoral | >

publishing a book with Prof. Parham Aarabi on their research into the effects of background noise on cellphones and hearing aids. “People think they’ll get lost at a university as big as this,” says Rabi. “But there’s so much going on that it’s almost impossible

not to find people whose interests are what interest you. And with so much research unfolding on campus, you’re always close to where real learning is going on.”

One of the world’s top research institutions—only Harvard publishes more research

in North America annually—the University of Toronto can be a great place to be an undergrad. The figures alone tell much of the story: 3,000 faculty, more than 300 bachelor’s programs, 32 libraries, three campuses, seven colleges—each with its own distinctive programs, clubs and residences— plus an endowment of $1.5 billion, allowing the school to award $54 million in student aid last year, three-quarters of it based on need. And over the next few years, says new president David Naylor, U of T will redouble its efforts to connect the dots between research and teaching: “More than ever, we want our brilliant scholars bringing their world-building insights into the classrooms.” Central to that mission is a new academic plan, dubbed Stepping Up: unveiled in January, it will devote $30 million through 2010 to foster interdisciplinary centres of study that expose more students to the research experience. Among the first centres announced: diaspora and transnational studies, and global-change science: As well, Naylor wants to start making up for a period in which “student growth sometimes moved ahead of our ability to deal with it in the best ways.” This year, U of T hired 81 tenure-stream professors to work beside such names as cancer researcher Tak W. Mak, filmmaker Kay Armatage and artificial-perception guru Aarabi, recently named one of the world’s

MEDICAL DOCTORAL RANKING

The Maclean’s ranking takes a measure of the undergraduate experience, comparing universities in three peer groupings. Those in the Medical Doctoral category have a broad range of Ph.D. programs and research, as well as medical schools.

OVERALL RANKING

STUDENT BODY

CLASSES

LAST

YEAR

AVERAGE PROPORTION PROPORTION OUT OF

ENTERING WITH 75% STUDENT WHO PROVINCE INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL STUDENT

GRADE OR HIGHER RETENTION GRADUATE (1ST YEAR) (1ST YEAR) (GRADUATE) AWARDS

CUSS SIZES: 1ST AND 2ND YEAR LEVEL

CUSS SIZES: CUSSEÍ

3RD AND TAUGHT

4TH YEAR TENUREI

LEVEL FACULTY

1 McGill

(2)

1*

1

1

12

13

4

*1 Toronto

(1)

10

11

10

14

14

13

3 Western

(3)

11

12*

1

14 6

10

7 2 3 9

8 5

12

11

15

4 UBC

(4)

10

12

14

5 Queen’s

(5)

4*

11

13

12

6 Alberta

(6)

10

12

13

12

11

11

Montréal

(7)

4*

12

11

8 Laval

(11)

15

15

12

9 Sherbrooke

(8*)

14

14

15

14

10 Saskatchewan (10)

13

15

11

15

15

11 McMaster

(8*)

13

10

13

15

15

12 Ottawa

(12)

15

14

4*

12*

10

13 Dalhousie

(13)

11

13

14 Calgary

(14)

12

12

11

14

13

10

15 Manitoba

(15)

14

15

14

10

13

11

* Indicates a tie. Full description of the methodology, page 32.

top 35 innovators under the age of 35 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s prestigious Technology Review magazine.

Also new is the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, whose 10 open-concept floors are designed to enhance the collaborative work of 40 teams of students and professors from the faculties of medicine, pharmacy, applied science and engineering. And in a bid to make life smoother outside the classroom, the university has opened a wireless study and lounge space at the faculty of arts and science’s Sidney Smith Hall, and cut the ribbon on Morrison Hall residence, now

home to 270 students at University College.

Equally ambitious are developments at the two suburban campuses. With Mississauga growing to 11,500 students by 20062007—a 40-per-cent increase since last year— a new academic learning centre will house the campus library as well as a skills centre and student café. At Scarborough, a new home base for management students features three storeys of case rooms, interview rooms and co-op resources, while the new Arts and Administration Building is equipped with studios for painting, sculpture and dance.

Of course, for students like Scarborough’s Stephen Tracy, in his third year of a double major in new media and international studies, U ofT is ultimately about learning opportunities. This month, the 21-year-old

Maclean’s surveyed high-school principals and guidance counsellors, university officials, heads of organizations, CEOs and recruiters at corporations across the country.

HIGHEST

QUALITY

1 McGill

2. Queen’s

3. Toronto

4. UBC

5» Alberta

MOST

INNOVATIVE

1. McMaster

2. Alberta

3. McGill

4. UBC

5. Toronto

LEADERS OF TOMORROW

1» Toronto

2. UBC

3. Alberta

4. McGill McMaster

BEST

OVERALL

1 Toronto

2 McGill 3, UBC

4 Alberta

5. McMaster

heads to Tunisia for the World Summit on Information Society, to shoot a documentary, with Prof. Leslie Chan, on efforts to bring the Internet to isolated areas worldwide. Says Tracy, who has also pitched in at community soup kitchens through a campus outreach group and plays lead guitar with psychology prof Steve Jordan in their band Delusions of Grandeur: “There may be a lot of students at U of T, but there’s no need to be just a number. This is a place where you don’t just learn, but learn to grow.” lïl

AWARDS FACULTY PER WITH FULL-TIME

PH.D.s FACULTY

"TÏ 4

14

10

6

14 12

9

3

15 13

7

6*

10

12

11

13

15

SOCIAL

SCIENCES & MEDICAL/

HUMANITIES SCIENCE GRANTS GRANTS

10

11

12

14 13

15

11

12

15

10

14

13

FINANCES

SCHOLARSHIPS STUDENT

& BURSARIES SERVICES

OPERATING (PERCENTAGE (PERCENTAGE

BUDGET OF BUDGET) OF BUDGET)

15

12

10

14

11

13

8

11

13

15

10

12

14

10

il

15

11

14

13

TOTAL HOLDINGS

HOLDINGS PER STUDENT ACQUISITIONS EXPENSES

12

15

10

13 11

14

12

15

14

12

10

11

13

14

10

13

11

15

11

15

13 12

14 10

REPUTATION

ALUMNI REPUTATIONAL SUPPORT SURVEY

13*

15

10

13*

11

12

10

13

14 11 12

15