Faculty and students encouraged to speak up about their York experience in Maclean’s annual survey

Keele campus Fall image showing the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence

Senior administrators, faculty and students are being encouraged to voice their opinion about York University by participating in the 2022 Maclean’s national university surveys. The Canadian news magazine uses the survey results to help compile its annual university rankings report, considered to be one of the most influential publications for prospective students to use when deciding their school of choice.

The rankings are derived from responses received from their Reputational Survey, which canvases the opinions of university faculty and senior administrators, as well as businesspeople from across Canada. The Reputational Survey will be available to qualified participants to complete until September 2021. The other component of the rankings comes from the responses received from the Student Survey. Current students are polled about their university experience and satisfaction in areas such as teaching, learning and the student experience, mental health services, sexual violence prevention, academic advising, and student and residence life. It is available to all students wishing to complete it until September 2021.

In the 2021 Maclean’s University Rankings, York University placed No. 6 in the overall rankings for comprehensive schools, moving up one spot from the 2020 rankings when it was No. 7. In the same rankings, York was No. 20 out of 49 Canadian universities in the reputational ranking and No. 13 out of 15 comprehensive schools for student satisfaction.

Lisa Philipps
Lisa Philipps

“The Maclean’s University Ranking is an important source used by many students to decide on their university of choice. The complications imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning have made this year tough for students who are making this key decision about their future,” said Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps. “York University is encouraging faculty and senior administrators to complete the Reputational Survey to help highlight to prospective students the many advantages associated with choosing York University.”

York continues to make it a priority to support its students, staff, instructors and faculty members. Philipps highlighted York University’s commitment to student success through its proactive measures to enhance access to critical technology and services, and to improve delivery of remote learning in the pandemic. The University also provided a range of supports to help instructors adapt their courses while balancing family and work responsibilities.

A key strategic investment in the Student Systems Renewal Program (SSRP) is focused directly on building faculty and student satisfaction. The SSRP is the largest information technology project in the history of York University. It is a digital and technological transformation program that will enable the University to significantly improve the supports and services provided to students, faculty and staff.

As well, the University’s new academic plan, Building a Better Future, is focused on bringing students, faculty, instructors and researchers together to work towards this common goal across six priority areas. York’s commitment to creating positive change was once again reflected in its ranking in the top six per cent of universities globally for contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

York University is also investing $20 million in a Classroom Renewal Program, which is in response to the needs of students and the academic community. The renewed classrooms provide 21st-century sustainability, updated audiovisual technology and/or equipment, furniture, finishes, lighting, heating and air conditioning.

To further enhance student satisfaction, York University has established SAVY, an artificial intelligence-based bilingual student virtual assistant for student advising, student life and career development. SAVY has proven to be extremely popular with students. In 2020, SAVY had more than 50,000 conversations and 120,000 messages from 20,000 students.

Amir Asif
Amir Asif

From a research perspective, York University has much to be proud of, said Vice-President Research and Innovation Amir Asif. “York University has played an important role in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The University is proud of its researchers and graduate students, who despite the closure of most on-campus facilities, continued their research activities to the best of their abilities,” said Asif. “Our research enterprise remains active and, in terms of research funding, we had a highly successful 2020-21 year.

“In COVID-related areas, for example, York spearheaded several initiatives, including the One Health Network for the Global Governance of Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance for $2.5 million, led by professors Mary Wiktorowicz and Sean Hillier, and the pan-Canadian Emerging Infectious Disease Modelling network – Mathematics for Public Health for $3 million, co-led by Professor Jianhong Wu and University of Toronto Professor V. Kumar Murty.”

The University is also celebrating new research infrastructure that positions both researchers and students as global leaders. “We are excited about our new, state-of-the-art telescope installed in the Allan I. Carswell Observatory on the Keele Campus, which is the most advanced of its kind in Canada. We thank our researchers for their patience and look forward to the full resumption of on-campus research activities for which plans are in place for implementation as soon as the COVID-19 situation permits,” added Asif.

Globally, there is a high regard for the quality of research undertaken at York University. This is demonstrated in the 2020 QS World University Rankings that ranked York’s research output as “very high.” Researchers at York University have, for the past seven years, ranked first in Ontario for global collaborative research publications. Nearly 60 per cent of York’s publications have international co-authorship, according to SciVal 2019-20. More than $100 million in research grants and awards was earned by York researchers 2018-19.