UNIVERSITY RANKINGS

SURVEYING THE PROFESSIONALS

The reputational survey seeks opinions on university performance

MARY DWYER November 13 2006
UNIVERSITY RANKINGS

SURVEYING THE PROFESSIONALS

The reputational survey seeks opinions on university performance

MARY DWYER November 13 2006

SURVEYING THE PROFESSIONALS

UNIVERSITY RANKINGS

The reputational survey seeks opinions on university performance

MARY DWYER

While statistics are an important part of evaluating a university, they tell only part of the story. What do people in the know really think about how universities are doing? Just as surveys of students and recent graduates provide an important piece of the picture, so too does the opinion of those whose professions put them in a position to form opinions about how well universities are meeting the needs of students and

producing graduates ready to embark on successful careers.

To find out what the professionals think about the state of post-secondary education in Canada, Maclean’s solicited the opinion of 11,430 individuals across the country, asking for their views on quality, innovation and leadership at Canadian universities. Those surveyed included university officials at each ranked institution, high school principals and guidance counsellors from every province and territory, the heads of a wide variety of national and regional organizations, plus CEOs and recruiters at corporations large and small.

Respondents were asked to rate the universities in three categories: Highest Quality, Most innovative, and Leaders of Tomorrow. Best Overall represents the sum of the scores for the three categories. The survey form reminds participants that Maclean’s does not expect them to be familiar with every university, or even most, but that we are asking them to provide their views on those universities about which they have an informed opinion.

The reputational survey has a regional as well as a national component that divides the country into four key areas: the Western provinces, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. All respondents completed a national survey; university officials, principals and guidance counsellors also completed regional ones, allowing them the opportunity to focus on the region they know best. The national and regional surveys are combined to produce the final results.

The reputational survey achieved an overall response rate of 10.2 per cent. Broken out by groups, the response rates were: 34.5 per cent for university officials; 72 per cent for high school principals and guidance counsellors; 79 per cent for CEOs, corporate recruiters and heads of organizations.