Achieving the Western balance
Recently I had the opportunity to meet with the editorial board of the London Free Press. The meeting was part of my activities to raise the public profile and plight of post-secondary education and to put into context the importance of Bob Rae’s December 1 campus visit.
One of the questions put to me by provincial political reporter Chip Martin was what is Western’s ‘message’ or ‘brand’ (terms he used) that distinguishes our university from others. My answer to this question was something I have been talking about since arriving at Western ten years ago, but which is now receiving some quantifiable third-party validation through the voices of our students and alumni.
I told the editorial board that the Western difference can be explained through our campus community’s unique ability to combine strong research with an exceptional student experience, both inside and outside the classroom. The results of the latest Globe and Mail student survey and Maclean’s alumni survey, I added, support what I believe we have known to be true for several years.
For instance, in the Globe and Mail ‘Report Card’ student survey, Western came out on top. Receiving a grade point average of 4.05 on a 5-point scale, Western led with the highest mark among ten Canadian research-intensive universities (G10). In areas such as faculty members’ knowledge of subjects, personal safety and security, and attractiveness of our campus, Western received grades of A+. In areas including diversity of extracurricular activities, cultural diversity and openness, overall university atmosphere and spirit, Western received straight A’s.
In the Maclean’s survey of recent graduates, Western again led the way among our peer medical-doctoral institutions. The percentage of alumni surveyed who felt “very satisfied” with the education experience and student services they received while at Western stood at 69 per cent. To the question, “Was your university experience a significant benefit to you?”, 89 per cent of Western alumni responded “yes” – the highest such percentage among all Canadian universities.
“Maclean’s didn’t blend the new graduate survey with the annual number crunching,” observed the Globe and Mail’s Jeffery Simpson in a recent column. “If it had done so, the big (medical-doctoral) Canadian school would have been the University of Western Ontario.”
I recently attended the annual UWOFA reception for the winners of UWOFA Scholarships, a joyous event which celebrates both the achievement of Western students and the commitment of our faculty to those students. In my remarks, I reviewed the Globe and Mail survey of students and the Maclean’s survey of recent graduates, and said the results were a tribute to the great work of our faculty and staff throughout the University. In particular, our faculty members have achieved a unique balance of scholarly excellence and commitment to a great academic experience for our students. Professor Allan Gedalof, who spoke after me, said that he thought the results were a tribute to the outstanding students who are coming to Western, and make this a great place for faculty to teach. We were both right.
The Western balance is a distinguishing feature for us all to embrace and celebrate – and for us all to work together to preserve and strengthen in the future.
To share your views please reply to Paul.Davenport@uwo.ca
This page was last updated on
December 17, 2004
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