Campus Digest: Rankings recognize Canada’s global appeal

Four Western subjects found themselves among the Top 5 institutions in Canada, according to the latest round of QS World University Rankings.

In the organization’s third annual subject-based rakings, released May 8, QS broke down the Top 200 global university – including 23 Canadian – in 30 disciplines based on academic and employer reputation surveys and academic citations per faculty member.

Globally, Harvard University ranked No. 1 in 10 disciplines, ahead of MIT (seven), University of California, Berkeley (four), Oxford (four), Cambridge (three), Imperial (one) and University of California, Davis (one).

In Canada, the University of Toronto topped the list, ranking No. 11 globally in philosophy and medicine. McGill University and the University of British Columbia followed with the former ranking No. 18 globally in philosophy and the latter No. 19 globally in English language and literature.

Western made the Canadian Top 5 in four subjects – philosophy, No. 4 in Canada, Nos. 51-100 globally (no specific places are defined after No. 50); psychology, No. 4 in Canada, Nos. 51-100 globally; accounting and finance, No. 5 in Canada, Nos. 51-100 globally; and economics and ecometrics, No. 4 in Canada, Nos. 51-100 globally.

“Looking at Canada’s overall performance, the country’s institutions are clearly world class in a wide variety of disciplines,” said Ben Sowter, QS head of research. “Alongside the government’s continued focus on international education and increasingly open immigration policies, this year’s results are likely to further enhance Canada’s appeal to international students.”

The 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject evaluated 2,858 universities and ranked 678 institutions in total.


  • Betty Anne Younker, Don Wright Faculty of Music dean, has been named president-elect of the College Music Society.
    This is the first time a president of the American-based organization will be affiliated with a Canadian faculty of music. Younker will serve two years in this position before assuming the role of president. She has been active in the society for several years, serving on committees, and most recently chair of professional development.
    CMS supports music educators, providing them with leadership, resources and opportunities for interaction among members on the philosophy and practice of music.
    “I believe firmly in the CMS,” Younker said. “It brings all disciplines together. It has an ability to serve society through research, policy, community engagement, professional development and pedagogy.”
    Being the first Canadian in the role, Younker said brings more awareness to the university. “When I’m out there, I have my Western badge on.”
  • Darren Pitre, an animal care technician in Centre for Brain and Mind, recently won the Canadian Association of Laboratory Animal Medicine (CALAS) annual award for animal enrichment programs. He presented the program he developed in conjunction with the primary investigators and the Department of Animal Care and Veterinary Services at this year’s CALAS convention in Winnipeg. This is the first time an Animal Care technician from Western has won this prestigious award.
  • Three Western students have their summer plans set, thanks to winning the NESTEA: The Recruit national marketing competition. William New, a third-year Finance and Administration student at King’s University College; Peter Nahinry, third-year Sociology student at Kings; and Nick Palmieri, an Ivey Business School student, comprised the winning team, Just Juice It!
    Each member of the team was awarded a paid summer advertising internships with Coca-Cola as well as one-year paid tuition by NESTEA. The win also included a concert by The  Sheepdogs, held at April 25 at The London Music Hall.
  • Western Mustangs legend Jack Fairs was honoured by Ontario University Athletics (OUA) with the John McManus Award at the OUA Honour Awards banquet Thursday evening in Gravenhurst, Ont. The McManus Award honours an OUA coach who exemplifies the highest ideals and qualities of sportsmanship and service while engaged in coaching in university sport.
  • A growing concern for graduating students around the world is how they will repay student loans, which have accumulated over the course of their studies.
    According to new research from Western’s CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity, a student borrower in Canada, on average, faces more than $10,000 in Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) debt upon graduation. More shockingly, nearly 15 per cent will find themselves in default at some point within the first three years after leaving university.
    In a policy brief, Student Loan Payment Problems, Lance Lochner, CIBC Centre director, Todd Stinebrickner, CIBC Faculty Fellow, and Utku Suleymanoglu, Western graduate student, examine two recent CSLP surveys to determine which factors contribute to student loan delinquency and default. Lochner says post-education earnings and family support are centrally important to avoiding debt defaults.
    “Roughly half of all students defaulting on their CSLP loans earned less than $10,000 per year at the time they entered default,” said Lochner, a professor in Western’s Department of Economics. “Students with low incomes are significantly more likely to experience repayment problems if they cannot draw on financial support from their families.”
    Other important factors include student debt levels, educational attainment and institutional choices, and beliefs about the importance of repaying student loans.
    The policy brief is based on CIBC Centre Working Paper 2013-3, also by Lochner, Stinebrickner and Suleymanoglu.