Campus Digest: Psychology tops in new rankings

As if university presidents needed another set of rankings to worry about.

In the organization’s first-ever subject-based rakings, released this summer, QS World University Rankings broke down the top 200 global university in 29 disciplines based on academic and employer reputation surveys and academic citations per faculty member.

MIT and Harvard University topped 11 of the 29 disciplines covered, ahead of the University of Oxford (three), Stanford University (three) and Cambridge University (one).

In Canada, the University of Alberta and McGill University landed somewhere in the Top 200 of 29 categories; Western in 21 of 29. The University of Toronto, however, ranked No. 1 nationally in 21 of the 29 disciplines, ahead of the University of British Columbia with six and McGill with two.

Universities from 17 countries made the top 20 in at least one discipline.

Western’s Department of Psychology ranked No. 50 in the world, Western’s top performer on the list.

Pharmacy, Philosophy, History, Economics and Accounting ranked No. 51-100 (no specific places are defined after No. 50). Medicine, Statistics, Sociology, Political Science, English, Education and Media Studies ranked No. 101-150. Earth Sciences, Computer Sciences, Biological Sciences, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Linguistics, Law and Geography ranked 151-200.

Full results of the annual 2012-13 QS World University Rankings will be released Sept. 11. Now in its ninth year, the rankings are considered around the world to be the benchmark of academic excellence. Results are based on academic reputation (40 per cent), employer reputation (10 per cent), faculty/student ratio (20 per cent), citations per faculty (20 per cent), international faculty (5 per cent) and international students (5 per cent).

According to the 2011-12 QS World University Rankings, Western ranks No. 157 among the top 500 universities in the world, tucked between the University of Cape Town and Texas A&M University. Western’s position is up seven spots from the 2010-11 rankings.

Topping the international rankings was the University of Cambridge, followed by Harvard, MIT, Yale University and Oxford. At No. 17, McGill ranked as Canada’s top school, followed by U of T (No. 23), UBC (No. 51), Alberta (No. 100), University of Montreal (No. 137) and Queen’s University (No. 144).

News and notes

  • Charmaine B. Dean, Western Science dean, has been named chair of the National Institute of Health’s Biostatistical Methods and Research Design Study Section, Centre for Scientific Review. Her term runs until June 30, 2013.
  • A paper by Western Philosophy professor Wayne Myrvold has been named one of 10 Best Papers of 2011 by Philosopher’s Annual.  Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics: A Maxwellian View was published in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Vol. 42.
  • Western Law student Dina Milivojevic won first place in the 2012 Insolvency Institute of Canada’s Law Student Writing Award Competition for the paper, The Canadian Recognition of Foreign Insolvency Proceedings: Comity, Public Policy and Judicial Discretion, written for professor Chi Carmody’s International Business Transactions course.
  • Western came in at No. 18 of 61 schools in a ranking of Canadian research universities released by Higher Education Strategy Associates, a Toronto-based education research group, last week. Besides an overall ranking, the report ranked schools in science/engineering (where Western ranked No. 17) and social sciences/humanities (No. 20). The University of British Columbia topped both categories, as well as the overall rankings.
  • Western graduate Ben Paylor has been named among 17 emerging Canadian leaders awarded Action Canada Fellowships for 2012-13. Paylor, who earned a BMSc from Western, is a scientist researching cardiac stem-cell biology at the University of British Columbia for his PhD.
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Jason Gerhard was part of a University of Toronto team that finished third in a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation challenge to eight universities around the world to bring safe, reliable and sanitary toilets to billions in the developing world. The Toronto entry was recognized for their toilet that sanitizes feces and urine and recovers resources and clean water.
  • Greyhound will be commencing a new express service at Western beginning this month, complete with leather seats, guaranteed seating, more passenger space, Wi-Fi and a direct route from the university to Toronto. Greyhound currently picks up 500 students at Western and an additional 500-600 from its downtown terminal. Pick-up and drop-off will continue to be along University Drive near the residences, with an additional location to be along Oxford Drive, adjacent to the University Community Centre.
  • The Next 36, co-founded by Western MBA’88 graduate Tim Hodgson, seeks to help launch the careers of Canada’s most promising and innovative undergraduates. The call for applications is now open for third-, fourth- and fifth-year undergraduate students. Application deadlines are Sept. 18 (early) and Oct. 22 (final). Next 36 participants from the inaugural two years of the program have included six Western students. The president’s office is hosting two information sessions on Tuesday, Sept. 18 (2:30 p.m. for faculty and staff; 4 p.m. for students). Email to attend. Visit