After seeing a big improvement in last year’s participation, senior Brock officials are encouraging students to again speak up about their Brock experience in the 2019 Maclean’s national university survey.
Each spring, Maclean’s invites university students across Canada to take part in an online survey that asks them to assess the quality of their university experience. They are asked to rate their satisfaction on a number of factors — including the quality of course instruction, experiential learning, mental health services, sexual violence prevention and services related to academic advising, student life and residences.
The responses help Maclean’s editors determine the final results in the magazine’s annual University Rankings, which come out each autumn. The satisfaction survey is just one of the metrics used in compiling the final rankings, which also weigh factors such as research funding and grants, student and faculty awards, and other areas of financial investment.
The survey closes on May 31.
Last week, Brock President Gervan Fearon sent an email urging all students to have their say in the Maclean’s initiative.
“We highly value the views and support of our students,” said Fearon, “and I strongly encourage you to participate in this survey and represent the essence and pride of our University.”
Post-secondary officials across the country recognize that the Maclean’s rankings are an important factor that may significantly influence both parents and students alike.
In recent years, Brock has made strategic investments in several key areas which are also indicators that Maclean’s uses. From 2014 to 2018, Brock’s library acquisitions budget increased by 66 per cent. In the same period, the scholarship/fellowship budget grew by 25 per cent, to nearly $20 million. In addition, the Office of Human Rights and Equity was restructured and its new Director and staff resources have increased services and training across the campus.
In 2018, a University Senate sub-committee was established to review and make recommendations on how Brock might improve its standing in the Comprehensive University category. As one action, last year University officials actively encouraged students to complete the survey, which accounts for 10 per cent of Maclean’s overall ranking of a university. The result was remarkable.
In 2017, only 309 students took part in the student survey. Last year’s participation increased by more than 500 per cent, with some 1,900 students giving feedback about their Brock experience. Brock’s overall university ranking that year jumped for the first time since 2011 when Brock first entered the Comprehensive category. Brock moved up two positions in the national ranking.
Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost for Teaching, Learning and Student Success, said the University’s attention to the Maclean’s ranking is important because it parallels the same indicators that Brock has identified as key institutional priorities.
“Many of the Maclean’s success indicators align to the priorities that we have identified in our own Institutional Strategic Plan,” said Lathrop. “Over the last few years, we have made an effort to increase strategic investments that enhance our commitment to teaching and learning, research and the student experience. And encouraging our students to respond to Maclean’s is consistent with our encouragement to have students participate in other important reviews, including NSSE (National Survey on Student Engagement), CUSC (Canadian University Survey Consortium) and CGPSS (Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey).
“We are looking forward to another year of high student participation rates. We value student engagement, and genuinely believe that the student voice is essential to be heard.”