SFU maintains top spot among Canadian comprehensive universities

October 03, 2019

By Shradhha Sharma

Simon Fraser University continues to be the top ranked university among Canadian comprehensive universities in the Maclean’s Magazine annual university rankings.

SFU’s research record and ability to translate that research into “real-world change,” particularly in the areas of technology and sustainability, are among the strengths behind the university’s number one status. SFU is also placed second in terms of reputation in its category.

The comprehensive category includes post-secondary institutions that have a significant amount of research and a wide range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as professional degrees.

The Maclean’s article highlights several SFU success stories, including the new School of Environmental Science, which aims to train the next generation of scientists to tackle environmental problems, and the Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) program – inaugurated in 2019 and the first of its kind in Western Canada –"dedicated to preparing students for careers in the booming clean-tech industry."

The story also notes as an “encouraging counterpoint” to many of Canada’s engineering programs, that more than 40 per cent of SEE’s undergraduate cohort are female.

Elaborating further on SFU’s strong support for the philosophy of sustainability, the magazine mentions the university’s new Business of Design program that will help “revamp B.C.’s entrepreneurial textile community, brainstorming a slew of new environmentally responsible products.”

As well, “For those with more of a linguistic flair, SFU’s new certificate in Creative Technologies in Digital Journalism combines courses in contemporary arts, technology, publishing and communications.”

Maclean’s also makes specific mention of student resources, such as the “new, much-anticipated $55-million, 100,000-sq.-foot student union building,” and student wellness on-campus through the My Student Support Program (My SSP) app. This two-year pilot project connects students to counsellors via a mobile app and helps to sidestep longer wait times that are typically a barrier with traditional therapy appointments.

Maclean’s criteria for the rankings is broken down into five broad areas with 14 performance indicators. The rankings use the most recent and publicly available data, including Statistics Canada, to assess student and faculty numbers, as well as data for total research income and five financial indicators: operating budget; spending on student services; scholarships and bursaries; library expenses; and acquisitions.