May 2, 2005

McMaster University excels in North American survey

Hamilton, ON - McMaster University has received a triumphant vote of confidence from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). McMaster scored higher than its Canadian peers in numerous categories, and in a few scored higher than its U.S. peers.

In the category of Academic Challenge, McMaster outscored its U.S. and Canadian peers in both the first-year students and senior student surveys.

In Active and Collaborative Learning, McMaster University scored higher than its Canadian peers, and was almost on par with its U.S. peers, in the first-year students level, and above its Canadian peers in the senior student level.

In the Supportive Campus Environment category, McMaster scored second among its Canadian peers in both the first-year and senior students levels.

In the Student-Faculty Interaction category, McMaster scored higher than its Canadian peers, but almost 10 points lower than its U.S. counterparts in both the first-year and senior-students levels.

Full results are available online.

“Naturally, we’re very pleased with McMaster’s standing in this survey,” said Peter George, president and vice-chancellor of McMaster University. “We put a lot of emphasis on integrating our research excellence into the student-learning environment, and that’s reflected in the positive standings in areas such as academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, enriching education experiences, and supportive campus environment.

“On the other hand, because of historic underfunding, we share low rankings with our Canadian counterparts in terms of high student-faculty ratios,” George continued. “Our students do not benefit from as much interaction with faculty as we’d like to see, and this is reflected in the comparisons with peer U.S. institutions, which are better resourced. The University of Michigan, for example, has a student:faculty ratio of 9:1; McMaster’s is 25:1.”

The U.S.-based survey of first-year students and senior students from more than 700 colleges and universities throughout Canada and the United States is designed to give institutions a sense of how they measure up against their peers, and to adjust their practices toward improving student engagement. In the survey, students are asked to assess their classes, their interactions with faculty and friends, and other critical areas.

McMaster University, named Canada’s Research University of the Year by Research InfoSource, has world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster's culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 20,000 and more than 112,000 alumni in 128 countries.