April 23, 2018: McGill students and principal resolve professor sexual misconduct issue?

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McGill students and principal resolve professor sexual misconduct issue?

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

In an anti-climactic end, McGill University students have resolved their complaint with the university’s administration over mishandled complaints of professor sexual misconduct. On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) leaders met with Principal Suzanne Fortier where they decided an action plan to move forward. The headway comes after three weeks of SSMU leaders and McGill students protesting the way the university officials have been handling complaints against five professors in the Faculty of Arts accused of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior with students.

The meeting was not all planned. SSMU Vice President of External Affairs Connor Spencer and other SSMU executive leaders crashed a meeting Principal Fortier that was exclusively for the incoming and outgoing SSMU presidents. Spencer only discovered there was a meeting because the news medias contacted her. Spencer spoke to CBC News telling them about her surprise. Spencer recounted, “I found out about it because media contacted me last night asking to talk to me after the meeting with student leaders, to which I responded [that] I had no knowledge of such a meeting, and they must have gotten the date wrong.”

Spencer had been the voice of the protest and movement against the administration. She headed the walkout, was the first listed in the open letter signature and was the one who spoke to the media to get the message to the public. SSMU’s outgoing president has not been vocal about this issue. Spencer was upset that in order to be at the meeting she and other student leaders had to crash the meeting to get their voice heard on the issue. Spencer told CBC News, “It’s really sad that those of us who are doing this work had to crash this meeting.

The meeting commenced with “high tension,” but progress was made. Spencer explained it helped to be able to speak face with the administration. Spencer told CBC, “By giving us space to express what students were concerned about, we were able to leave on a much more neutral footing and an understanding of where each side is coming from.”

The outcomes were far different than the hardline demands the students had been requesting, there will be no external investigation or even investigation as Concordia conducted after the student outcry in January. Neither will any of the five professors be put on leave or not teach next fall. What the SSMU leaders were able to secure were meetings to discuss the issue every two weeks. The administration also promised they would address professor-student relationships, a key issue. The McGill Senate consisting of “faculty, staff, students, administrators and board members” would decide on the policy.

After weeks of dodging and refusing to publicly comment to the media, McGill finally issued a statement, Wednesday evening. The administration expressed, “Everyone acknowledged that they are pursuing a common objective — to ensure that the campus is and remains a safe place for all members of the McGill community — and are committed to the principles of procedural fairness.”

The meeting occurred a day after McGill student leaders filed a complaint against the university with the Quebec Ministry of Higher Education. On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, both undergraduate and graduate student societies, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) and Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) joined forces for a letter and sent it by email to Quebec’s Minister of Higher Education, Hélène David about the university’s administration officials mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints.

The student’s letter amounted to a complaint against the university saying, they were in violation of Bill 151, that requires all universities in Quebec to have an integrated sexual violence policy, including dealing with professor-student relationships, which at the center of the controversy at McGill. For a week now the SSMU has been warning administration officials about this next move, but the university has failed to heed to demands. The letter to the Ministry of Education came after the SSMU published an open letter, the students staged a walkout, and they held a town hall meeting closed to the public and media.

McGill students were also supported by the faculty in their fight against the administration. About 150 professors signed an open letter and sent it to administration officials on Monday, April 16, 2018, supporting the students’ grievances against the administration. The 148 professors made it clear that they support the SSMU’s call for an external investigation, their timeline to have it completed by June and the establishment of a single sexual violence policy covering both misconducts by students and faculty. The professors, who signed came from all the university’s faculties, not just Arts.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, a week after publishing an open letter to the university administration, students staged a walkout over the administration ignoring repeated calls over professors’ inappropriate and sexually violating behavior in the Faculty of Arts. McGill students were joined by neighboring Concordia University students, who have been dealing with complaints against professors in their Creating Writing program, which go back nearly 20 years. Around 1,000 students walked out of their classes at 2 p.m. and protested in front of the James Administration Building at McGill’s downtown campus in community square. The joint protest was organized by both schools students societies; Concordia Student Union and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

Three weeks ago, on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the SSMU published an open letter addressed to the administration calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have been dealing sexual violence and harassment complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by over 2300 students and over 100 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts.

McGill students wanted an investigation conducted by a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They wanted the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wanted the findings by this June. They were also demanding McGill to have an inclusive sexual violence policy that addresses professor-student relationships and misconduct complaints against professors.

For the past few years, there have been rumblings about five professors that have misused their positions among both the students and faculty. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”

Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok. Students have been writing anonymous accounts of the misconduct for years in the McGill Daily. This past year, however, the protests are louder because one of the accused professors are up for tenure, which led to student letters to his department and a grassroots protest movement this past fall semester.

Despite the knowledge of the misconduct, students, however, are and have been discouraged from filing complaints by the Faculty of Arts. The complaints process at McGill has not and still does not deal with complaints against professors, especially those who engage in relationships with students, despite a revised sexual violence policy passed in 2016.

McGill students have been looking to Concordia for inspiration and to show McGill, an investigation is needed and a policy enforced to address professor-student relationships. Seeing the quick action at Concordia, made McGill’s students take an active and official stand against the administration’s lax treatment of professors who abuse their power.

Although, Spencer is declaring a victory, what the students received from the administration pales to their demands. The external investigation by a third-party going back five years, which was central to the student’s demands is long forgotten. There is no immediate ban on professor-student relationships. So far no word on the five professors teaching next fall semester, and what happens to the professor who was bedding his students as he was up for tenure? They will keep up their careers as the students, who suffered under them live with the fallout of their actions. McGill is handing the students a raw deal, there will not be any quick action for an investigation, and a new policy like Concordia, nor swift dismissals.

Exam period destroyed the pace of the movement, with students more concerned about exams and marks than justice, even the news media lost interest, with only CBC News following through to the end. No matter what concessions until those professors lose their powerful posts, there will be no justice. Otherwise, next year they will be again trolling for the next target. Next fall, the students have to demand more than what they received and not cower, McGill owes their students to feel safe, not create a playground for professors on the make.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

 

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Education April 17, 2018: McGill professors sign an open letter supporting students over complaints of sexual misconduct

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EDUCATION

McGill professors sign an open letter supporting students over complaints of sexual misconduct

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

McGill University students are getting some support from their professors in their fight with the administration over sexual misconduct by professors in the Faculty of Arts. About 150 professors signed an open letter and sent it to administration officials on Monday, April 16, 2018, supporting the students’ grievances against the administration. The letter comes after the Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) published an open letter demanding an external investigation, and staged a walkout protesting the administrations’ inaction over the misconduct of five professors in the Faculty of Arts. Tomorrow, Tuesday April 17, McGill students will be hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the issue.

The 148 professors made it clear that they support the SSMU’s call for an external investigation, their timeline to have it completed by June and the establishment of a single sexual violence policy covering both misconducts by students and faculty. The professors, who signed came from all the university’s faculties, not just Arts. They declared, “We stand in support of the students who have come forward with their experiences and with the student representatives and advocates who have supported these students.”

The professors wrote in the letter, “As teachers, we have a commitment to upholding a learning environment where students feel safe, supported and able to challenge themselves. It would be in violation of this duty for us not to add our voices to those of the students.” The professors also acknowledged that professor-student relationships should be prohibited. They wrote, “We believe that sexual relationships between students and faculty who are in a position to influence their academic and professional progress should be banned.”

The professors also reminded the administration that the issue affects the entire McGill community and the universities reputation. The professors pointed out to the administration, they have to “publicly acknowledge the fact that this issue affects the entire McGill community and the university’s reputation.”

The professors claim that the university has to keep in check professors that abuse their power because it also affects other faculty members. They indicated, “The lack of transparency concerning how complaints are handled against faculty members, who abuse their positions of power in this way, creates a toxic work and learning environment, and often places an invisible burden on other faculty members.”

History professor Shannon Fitzpatrick spoke to CBC News about the faculty’s open letter. Fitzpatrick finds it troubling that the administration is ignoring students complaints. Fitzpatrick told CBC, the administration is “actively shutting down a line of communication. That to me goes against the university’s mission of critical inquiry into social problems.”

Last Wednesday, April 11, 2018, a week after publishing an open letter to the university administration, students staged a walkout over the administration ignoring repeated calls over professors’ inappropriate and sexually violating behavior in the Faculty of Arts. McGill students were joined by neighboring Concordia University students, who have been dealing with complaints against professors in their Creating Writing program, which go back nearly 20 years. Around 1,000 students walked out of their classes at 2 p.m. and protested in front of the James Administration Building at McGill’s downtown campus in community square. The joint protest was organized by both schools students societies; Concordia Student Union and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

Two weeks ago, on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the SSMU published an open letter addressed to the administration calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have been dealing sexual violence and harassment complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by over 2000 students and over 85 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts.

McGill students want an investigation conducted by a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They want the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wants the findings by this June. They are also demanding McGill to have an inclusive sexual violence policy that addresses professor-student relationships and misconduct complaints against professors. Now the SSMU has added a threat to motivate the administration; they act by Monday, April 23, or the SSMU will file a complaint at the Quebec Ministry of Education that McGill is in violation of Bill 151, the law requiring a single sexual assault policy for Quebec universities.

For the past few years, there have been rumblings about five professors that have misused their positions among both the students and faculty. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”

Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok. The McGill Daily in their article, “We have always known about McGill’s predatory professors” wrote that the survey they conducted confirmed decades of sexual misconduct and that students have used a word-of-mouth system. The Daily sent out this survey April 9, receiving “dozens” of testimonies from the word-of-mouth system going back to 2008 according to the article. Unfortunately, professors have been blurring the lines for many years before at McGill, and there have been more than the five at the heart of students’ protests now.

Students have been writing anonymous accounts of the misconduct for years in the Daily. This past year, however, the protests are louder because one of the accused professors are up for tenure, which led to student letters to his department and a grassroots protest movement this past fall semester.

Despite the knowledge of the misconduct, students, however, are and have been discouraged from filing complaints by the Faculty of Arts. The complaints process at McGill has not and still does not deal with complaints against professors, especially those who engage in relationships with students, despite a revised sexual violence policy passed in 2016.

McGill students have been looking to Concordia for inspiration and to show McGill, an investigation is needed and a policy enforced to address professor-student relationships. Seeing the quick action at Concordia, made McGill’s students take an active and official stand against the administration’s lax treatment of professors who abuse their power.

Tomorrow students are going to continue their protest with a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. The meeting will allow students “to share stories, concerns, thoughts and questions” and to discuss what else the SSMU can do to convince the administration to act. The event is closed to the public and the media, and can only be attended by current McGill undergraduate and graduate students.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 11, 2018: McGill students protest enough is enough to the administration in walk-out over professors’ sexual misconduct

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McGill students protest enough is enough to the administration in walk-out over professors’ sexual misconduct

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

McGill University students are taking their protest to professors’ inappropriate behavior going unchecked to the next level. On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, a week after publishing an open letter to the university administration, students staged a walkout over the administration ignoring repeated calls over professors’ inappropriate and sexual violating behavior in the Faculty of Arts. McGill students were joined by neighboring Concordia University students, who have been dealing with complaints against professors in their Creating Writing program, which go back nearly 20 years. Around 1,000 students walked out of their classes at 2 p.m. and protested in front of the James Administration Building at McGill’s downtown campus in community square. The joint protest was organized by both schools students societies; Concordia Student Union and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

The Facebook event entitled, “McGill and Concordia Student Walk-Out over Handling Complaints” stated the united protest’s purpose, “We all demand an acknowledgment of the extent of the problem. And we demand change.” The hashtags for the walkout was #EnoughisEnough and #NoMoreOpenSecrets, referring to the five professors, whose misconduct is called an open secret among students and other faculty members. Students chanted, “we will not be silenced” and “this will not blow over.”

The students also held up eye-catching signs, which read, “Who are you protecting?” and “Do you care about survivors?” Many had common taglines from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual violence and harassment including, “Enough is enough,” “Time’s up,” and “No More Secrets.” Other signs eluded to the professors’ misconduct, saying, “No I don’t want to go office hours at Gerts,” the bar in McGill’s student society building, where one of the accused professors holds his office hours.

Connor Spencer, vice-president of external affairs for the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) has been leading the calls and protests against the professors’ misconduct. Spencer spoke to the crowd and asked them, “Can everyone here who has been warned or heard of an abusive professor during their time here please raise their hand.” Practically everyone present raised their hands, to which she replied: “That, is why we are here today.”

Last Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the SSMU published a letter addressed to the administration calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have been dealing sexual violence and harassment complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by over 2000 students and over 85 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts and they are demanding a third-party investigation to look at complaints for there past five years and for McGill to have an inclusive sexual violence policy that addresses professor-student relationships and misconduct complaints against professors.

For the past few years, there have been rumblings about five professors that have misused their positions. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”
Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok, while students are being discouraged from filing complaints. The complaints process at McGill has not and still does not deal with complaints against professors, especially those who engage in relationships with students, despite a revised sexual violence policy passed in 2016.

McGill students have been looking to Concordia for inspiration and to show McGill, an investigation is needed and a policy enforced to address professor-student relationships, Seeing the quick action at Concordia, made McGill’s students take an active and official stand against the administration’s lax treatment of professors who abuse their power. This past January at Concordia University, former students, and graduates of the school’s creative writing program came forward against four professors without tenure with allegations going back two decades. The university acted swiftly and dismissed three of the living professors, then launched an investigation. Within two weeks the university issued guidelines on how to deal with professor-student relationships acknowledging there is a “conflict of interest” and an “imbalance of power.” Despite decisive action now, Concordia students have been complaining for years, writing a letter in 2015, that the administration ignored, while students feared these professors harassment and predatory behavior.

Spencer told CBC’s Daybreak why the SSMU wanted Concordia students involved. Speaking to host Mike Finnerty, Spencer said, “I think McGill is trying to work within its own bubble. That’s why it’s important we bring Concordia, and what happened on their campus, to our campus.” Asma Mushtaq, academic and advocacy coordinator for the Concordia Student Union spoke to the Montreal Gazette why it was important to get involved. Mushtaq told them, “Concordia has allowed for open secrets to persist and fester for too long.”

The two universities’ students have different requests of their respective administrations. At McGill, students want an investigation conducted by a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They want the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wants the findings by this June. Now the SSMU has added a threat to motivate the administration; the act or they will ask the Quebec Ministry of Education to intervene.

At Concordia, where an investigation is already underway, the students want to be involved and their voices heard. They also wanted recommendations from the independent Our Turn Report included in Concordia’s revised sexual violence policy. The report graded the sexual assault policies at different campuses with recommendations.

McGill’s administration has yet to respond to the SSMU’s latest tactics. Concordia’s officials were quicker to comment. The statement claimed that they do want student input in the investigation, and wants them to participate “through any avenues open to them,” saying their “Their input is vital to the work we are doing.” McGill’s Spencer, however, said it best in thanking students, who walked out today, declaring, “This is not over,” as much as professors and administration officials want, the students are not going to continue to live in fear as certain professors continue their abuse of power and hunt for their next victim among the student body.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 8, 2018: McGill University now has their #MeToo movement moment as students protest lothario professors 

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McGill University now has their #MeToo movement moment as students protest lothario professors

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Montreal universities are now being drawn into the #MeToo movement forced to confront years of sexual harassment and assault that was pushed under the table. First, it was Concordia University, now McGill University is getting barraged for their handling of complaints. On Thursday, April 4, 2018, the Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) published an open letter calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have dealing sexual violence complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by nearly 1,500 students and over 50 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts and they are demanding a third-party investigation. The letter and calls are a long time in the making as students and professors have been writing and commenting about the actions of these professors in the Faculty of Arts, who engaged in so-called consensual and unwanted inappropriate behavior against students for years.

The president of SSMU and its societies and five vice presidents addressed the letter to Principal Suzanne Fortier, Provost Christopher Manfredi, and Dean of Students Chris Buddle. The letter recounted the situation at the university but did not name any professors, although students have been naming the professors in unofficial capacities for years. Neither does the letter describe the professors’ actions, although the chatter is quite loud on online forums, personal blogs, and the student press, everyone on campus knows who these offenders are.

The letter claims, “These professors continue to teach and to supervise, in some cases teaching mandatory first-year courses, leaving vulnerable the students who have not yet been warned about the predatory behaviors of certain professors. It has also been the case that student representatives over this past year have brought up these concerns multiple times to many different members of the administration. It was clear that the majority of the administration who were met with knew which professors students are concerned about. And despite our expressing anxiety over the safety and well being of a particular student in one case – no action was taken.”

Connor Spencer, vice-president of external affairs for the Students’ Society of McGill University had a press conference on Thursday, April 5, clarifying the allegations. According to Spencer, there are five professors that have misused their positions. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”

Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok, while students are being discouraged from filing complaints. Spencer told CBC News, “Everyone’s aware of where the problems are, and no one’s doing anything to address it, year after year.” Spencer explained to the Globe and Mail, “Everyone knows the names of the professors and it’s shared among students.” The problem has been happening for at least five years with these specific professors. Spencer recounted that female students have been warning incoming students with a list of professors “whose classes I was not to take.” Female students were warned to never be alone with these professors. Spencer told the Globe and Mail, “If she did take their courses, she was told never to go to their offices ‘if I wanted to keep myself safe.’”

Despite everyone in the university, from the students to the administration know about the problems, the administration refuses to take any actions, because of the lack of formal complaints. Spencer recounted to the Globe and Mail, “We’ve spoken about specific cases with administrators in meetings and still nothing has been done, even though they know that these are reoccurring issues.” Spencer told the Montreal Gazette the SSMU wants the university to take the problem seriously, “We are hoping with this open letter to change the culture of understanding and show (the administration) they need to investigate when there are serious problems that compromise the safety and well being of students … whether or not there are official complaints.”

The SSMU’s letter is a means to force the administration to launch an investigation. The SSMU letter also asked for a remedy to the ongoing problem, their solution a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They want the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wants the findings by this June.

The SSMU made the request in their letter, “We understand that the Faculty of Arts is not the only faculty that has a problem with professors who abuse their power, and we hope that an external investigation into Arts will set a precedent so that in the future McGill will act when they become aware of departmental issues and that above all they will begin to prioritize the safety of their students before the legal liability or reputation of the institution.”

When asked to respond by the press Vice-Principal Louis Arseneault (Communications and External Relations) declined to comment. Arseneault only gave a generic politically correct response in a statement, saying, “McGill University has put in place staff, resources, policies, and opportunities for individuals and groups to come forward with their concerns and complaints. These are matters we take very seriously. Every report or complaint of sexual misconduct, abuse of authority through sexual misconduct or ‘predatory behavior’ that contains sufficiently detailed facts is investigated. If there are findings of sexual misconduct of any kind, appropriate measures are taken, following due process.” Arseneault cited privacy laws in the investigation, stating, “Because of Quebec law concerning privacy, the University cannot disclose when it is conducting investigations, nor reveal any results. Thus, the fact that results are not disclosed is not evidence that investigations did not occur or that they were faulty.”

Provost and Vice-Principal Manfredi also sent a personal response to Spencer, insisting, “Every report and complaint of misconduct that contains sufficient details is investigated.” Manfredi told Spencer, “As you know from your own work on the Sexual Violence Policy Implementation Committee and from McGill administrators’ ongoing, direct engagement with SSMU executives – yourself included – McGill has in place extensive resources, skilled staff, and robust policies to address matters of sexual violence and to support survivors.”

Despite the university being on defensive as to investigating sexual misconduct complaints, the process deters students from filing a complaint or if they start they usually stop. As Spencer pointed out, “it’s so labor-intensive and retraumatizing.” As with women who file complaints against men in positions of power many are worried they would not be believed. The university has also in past situations attempted to discredit claims that are filed as a deterrent for students filing complaints. The complaints process is also steeped in confidentiality, it is meant to help the students, but does more to protect an accused faculty member.

Student Geneviève Mercier-Dalphond writing in a March 2016, McGill Daily article entitled, “The vicious circle of professor-student relationships A follow-up investigation of McGill’s policies on sexual harassment” discussed the problems confidentiality in the process causes. Mercier-Dalphond explained, “On a broader level, it sends a message that normalizes student-professor relations, and sets an example for other professors that they can get away with this kind of inappropriate behavior.”

In December 2016, McGill revised their sexual violence policy, Policy against Sexual Violence, to comply with Quebec’s new Bill 151, requiring schools to have a consolidated sexual violence policy (SVP) including addressing professor-student relationships by 2019. The new SVP deals with violence by the whole McGill community, especially students and operates under the Student Code of Conduct. The policy can “reprimand, expel or suspend a student.” The new policy was three years in the making, and was supposed to have a “survivor-centered approach.” Additionally, the policy “establishes measures that McGill will adopt with respect to prevention, education, support, and response to sexual violence.” The university also created a new sexual assault center, “dedicated to sexual violence education and response.”

At the time the new policy was passed by the university senate; the students still had misgivings about how complaints would be handled under the new rules. Erin Sobat, the vice-president of university affairs for the SSMU during the 2016-17 academic year commented at the time to CBC News, “What it doesn’t do is address the disciplinary process past the process of filing a report.” Labour laws in Quebec, prohibit the publication of the procedures.

The new policy also failed to address professor-student relationships, and complains against professors; a central problem at the heart of the complaints against one of the professors the open letter is directed. The new SVP says very little about these relationships, writing, “an abuse of a relationship of trust, power or authority, such as the relationship between a professor and their student,” and agreeing they cannot be consensual. The only way to file a complaint against a professor is by filing a complaint about “harassment, the violence of coercion.” The complaints are then processed through the Regulations Relating to Employment of Tenure-Track and Tenured Academic Staff. Labour laws in Quebec, prohibit the publication of the procedures. The process is so complicated that it dissuades students from filing. Connor explained to the Montreal Gazette, “You have to consult at least six documents full of policy jargon after you’ve just experienced a trauma, and you are not really sure about wanting to do this, anyway. That would discourage anyone from coming forward.”

In December 2017, the McGill Tribune editorial board wrote an opinion piece opposing the lack of policy for such complaints entitled, “McGill’s sexual violence policy lacking on professor-student relationships.” They emphasized what an important gap this is in policy since these relationships cannot be consensual. The board pointed to the conflict of interest with such relationships and indicated why. The board expressed, “Of more dire ethical concern is the question of consent in these relationships. The power differential between students and professors is enormous—whether acting as an intro-course lecturer or a master’s research supervisor, a professor has substantial control over their students’ success at McGill, and, by extension, their career prospects upon graduation. Given this compromised capacity to object to unwanted sexual advances, it is unethical for a professor to initiate any relationship with a student directly beneath them.”

The #MeToo movement is altering the definition of consent, especially there is a difference power between the two parties in evolved, such as professors getting involved in relationships, and sexually with their students. Students who believe they are getting involved consensually with professors seem to forget, with such a power difference, these relationships can never truly be consensual, because there is no equality. Mercier-Dolphand in the McGill Daily explained, “The student’s power in this dynamic is not comparable, and talking of equality between consenting adults, in this case, ignores the power differential on which the relationship is built.”

Recently, even former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in a March 2018, Vanity Fair article entitled, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo” re-examined her relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky persistently claimed it was consensual and she was not a victim, but she is currently reconsidering it in light of the #MeToo movement. Lewinsky expressed, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)”

A former Associate Dean of Arts at York University, Shirley Katz wrote a policy paper on the very issue published in University Affairs in 2000, entitled “Sexual Relations Between Students and Faculty.” To Katz, there cannot be consent because of professors’ “power over students” as the nature of the role. Katz concludes the power difference is always there making consent in the traditional way impossible for students. Katz wrote, “because the professor’s powers affect the student’s life in a significant way, […] the student cannot say no to the relationship, so her consent is actually coerced compliance.”

Jason M. Opal, associate professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill commented in the 2015 McGill Daily article, “Let’s talk about teacher,” a student’s anonymous recount of her sexual relationship with one of the professors accused of inappropriate behavior. Opal concurred the power dynamic affects consent. Opal wrote there are “profound inadequacies of ‘consent’ as a moral and social category.” Continuing, he said, “consent is better than coercion: that is the best thing we can say about it. Opal concluded that the professor-student relationship is “inherently problematic, usually exploitative, and often predatory.” The unequal predatory nature is the reason professors involved have to face sanctions and punishments from the university because they have an obligation to protect their students.

Some of the accounts coming from McGill describe sexual relationships, but they are not the only inappropriate ones. Others blur the line, friendships and emotional relationships that can tether on sexual harassment or impropriety but avoid the messy sexual dynamic that is easier to prove crossed a line. Even if broken boundaries are easily proved, the university has not been kind to students filing complaints against professors after such relationships. They are not given the same weight as unwanted and forced sexual harassment and assault committed by other students. Universities have been enacting policies that prohibit any personal relationships between students and professors, especially if they are in a position to grade them for some timer already. McGill has yet to address the issue even after revising their sexual assault policy.

Students had a right to be concerned about the revised SVP seeing what is transpiring with the five Arts professors and the way complaints have been brushed aside. The SSMU has been working on an additional policy covering misconduct from students in McGill’s clubs and societies. Closing the “loophole” would make students more comfortable making complaints against fellow students. It would allow the SSMU clubs and societies to remove or sanction someone that has a complaint filed against them, even banning them from the SSMU building. Additionally, it would provide mandatory training in defining and preventing sexual assault for all SSMU associated university clubs and societies.

For over two years there have been rumblings of complaints of transgressions by professors in the Faculty of Arts, particularly, the Department of Political Science, incidentally Provost Manfredi’s old department and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Apparently, there are claims that there is a serial sexual harasser in the department of political science and a serial lothario in the Institute of Islamic Studies. This professor in the Islamic Studies is a central reason for the students and SSMU’s uproar over the university’s mishandlings of professors’ inappropriate behavior.

Former McGill political science professor Stephen Saideman, who taught at the department from 2002 to 2012 wrote about the actions of a professor in his department. Saideman repeatedly wrote about this particular professor in a number of blog posts. In his blog post entitled, “McGill’s Shame Continues” from March 2016, he specifically revealed that this professor was teaching Middle East and peacebuilding studies in the department. Saideman explained in his post why he did not expose the name of the professor. The former McGill professor commented, “I have repeatedly referred to a particular serial sexual harasser […] but obliquely so. Why obliquely so? Because I am not sure what the consequences are for me of violating the confidentiality agreements of a place I used to work and because I didn’t want people to speculate about who received this guy’s unwanted attention.”

A student did successfully file a complaint this particular professor; however, the so-called punishment was hardly enough to deter him from continuing harassing students. Saideman recounted, “[the University] did find in favor of the student, and the provost found that something inappropriate happened at the time, but that it did not fit the definition at the time of sexual harassment. I do believe this is a failure on the part of that provost.” All the university did be change the professor’s office to one where he can be monitored and prevented him from taking on graduate students. In barely any time, the department lapsed, he was back in his old office and supervising graduate students, even female ones.

In 2016, Saidemen claimed the major problem with the complaints process was confidentiality and the university refusing to name guilty professors. During his time at McGill Saideman used to discourage students from studying that area, as the only means of deterrence he could do. Saideman told the McGill Daily, “The core problem is how McGill has handled it. It was all treated confidentially, which has the effect of protecting the perpetrator…. the job of the University is to protect students.” Saideman was surprised that he was still teaching, saying, “I simply don’t understand why McGill has not fired him yet.”

Another story that brought out the problem of the professor accused of sleeping with his students was an anonymous article in the McGill Daily of a student recounting her nearly two-year affair with this professor, the one supposedly from the Institute of Islamic Studies The article published in September 2015 was entitled, “Let’s talk about teacher I slept with my professor and here’s why it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.” The explicit article described how this professor-student relationship developed from office-hour meetings to a working and sexual relationship that tore this student apart with the conflicting roles they played. In her recount, the working relationship played a prominent role in their developing relationship. The working relationship was the legitimate way for them to spend time in his office behind closed doors; a common excuse professors use to justify publicly their inappropriate involvement with a student. After the second year, the student discovered he had been sleeping with other students as well she was not the only one, but one of many.

The student described this professor as she saw him after everything ended, “He was a predator. He was a manipulator. He was a liar. He was using young women as vessels for self-validation. He was abusing his power, and he had no intention of stopping.” She also discovered this professor, “slept with, propositioned, sent inappropriate emails to, or generally made uncomfortable” other female students. The complaints process was daunting and these students feared retribution and reprisals that are so common so they did file. The article published nearly three-years-ago indicated that at that time there were problems also with five professors in different departments, “who had reputations of either serially harassing or sleeping with their students.” The student recounted, “Where some professors were concerned, students spoke of the incidents like they were common knowledge.”

At that point, there were no formal complaints filed against that professor. This fall the students were fed up with this Islamic Studies’ professor at the heart of this scandal as he was up for tenure this academic year, so they initiated their own grassroots protest. At the start of this academic year, stickers were posted in the women’s bathrooms with the Islamic Studies professor’s name, warning other female students. According to the McGill Daily, “Noting that the professor is up for tenure this semester, the stickers urged students to send testimonies of abusive behavior from faculty and staff to zerotolerance@riseup.net.” The professor in question responded with a denial, saying, “Anonymous accusations have been posted around campus about me that is categorically untrue and constitute defamation. I am deeply committed to doing my part to make every student feel safe in my classroom and on McGill’s campus.”

The university administration seemed to have backed up the professor with Angela Campbell, the Associate Provost (Policies, Procedures, and Equity) writing a defending statement that admonished the students who revealed the professor publicly. Campbell stated, “The University takes all complaints of misconduct seriously.” Continuing Campbell expressed, “Survivors can and should report through the appropriate channels,” and “McGill’s administration disapproves of attempts to address such matters through anonymous posters such as [the stickers] found on campus and is taking measures to remove these.”

Additionally, in the Winter 2017 semester the 2016-2017 executive leaders of the World Islamic and Middle East Studies Student Association (WIMESSA) Sent an open letter objecting to the professor to Robert Wisnovsky, Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies. The letter read, “We (WIMESSA execs) believe that the department is partially not taking this seriously, because they don’t think many undergrads personally care,” read the preamble to the open letter. “There is also no ‘paper trail’ of student concern which makes the department less accountable to the university.” WIMESSA asked the department not to grant the professor tenure, writing, “It is disconcerting that such an abuse of power appears to be going unreprimanded. As it stands, women are at a disadvantage within the Islamic Studies department, and this inequality needs to be corrected. For these reasons, WIMESSA vehemently encourages the impending tenure committee to deny [the professor] tenure.”

The program director never publicly responded, and this year’s WIMESSA executives issued a statement. The statement backtracked and avoided mentioning the particular professor. The executives wrote, “In light of recent events regarding the Islamic Studies Institute, we want to extend our services to the community and support our students in any way we can. […] Sexual violence is a serious issue that we do not tolerate and we recognize the institutional violence that this inherently causes. […] This is a matter that we are taking very seriously and we are working as much as we can within our power to ensure transparency and accountability.”

It is too easy for the lines to be blurred in academia. For professors they are presented with wide-eyed naive students in awe, many enamored with the professors’ charm, sophistication, and brilliance, and they easily take advantage of the situation. Many of the young faculty members are often less than then ten years older than the students they teach, for others they never want to see themselves as older than the students. They behave as friends, buddies cross the line into sexual harassment, sexual relationships, but the power dynamic is always there. Professors and students never equal and it is inappropriate for them to think it is even possible.

Research has proven that power alters the minds of men, making them believe they have the right to behave in the controlling manner that leads to sexual harassment and assault. They believe they have a privilege to behave the way they do and many fail to see how wrong they are. The #MeToo movement in a short six months has swept through the entertainment industry, politics, business, and journalism. The movement gave a voice and credibility to women who for years had experienced harassment, abuse, and assault in the hands of men in positions of power and then suffered in silence fearing reprisals.

Now it is sweeping academia, but there are setbacks. Tenure has always given professors an extra boost in their power, giving them an air of invincibility. Tenure has and is still protecting professors preventing universities from firing professors who behave inappropriately with students. Professors, however, believe universities owe their students to deal with the accused professors, not just fire them, which would allow them to continue their behavior elsewhere. The SSMU’s open letter wants an investigator to examine tenure and tenure-track professors as well, to see if complaints against professors are presented to the tenure committee and to see whether tenure status “can be reassessed following formal complaints against a faculty member.”

The students realize tenure cannot be overturned and the system changed overnight, but they do believe there should be consequences for tenured professors. Spencer commented to the Montreal Gazette, “Right now if a prof has tenure, they are untouchable. Some of the profs (who are the subjects of repeated complaints) have tenure and some don’t. For the ones who do have tenure, why would anyone bring a complaint forward? … It’s not about, one complaint, therefore fire them, but we need to explore what a procedure for processing complaints against a tenured prof looks like.”

In Montreal, there have already been cracks in that invincibility. This past January at neighboring Concordia University, former students, and graduates of the school’s creative writing program came forward against four professors without tenure with allegations going back two decades. The university acted swiftly and dismissed three of the living professors, then launched an investigation. Within two weeks the university issued guidelines on how to deal with professor-student relationships acknowledging there is a “conflict of interest” and an “imbalance of power.”

The events at Concordia inspired SSMU to take action now, and force the university to confront the way they have been dealing or not dealing with complaints against these five repeat offending professors. Spencer commented the press, “We were told that it couldn’t happen, and then we looked over at our neighbor and they were doing it, so we didn’t accept that anymore…I thought, ’If not now, then when,’ If something doesn’t happen now, I don’t know when it’s going to happen.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

History November 27, 2017: British Historian Daniel Beer wins McGill University’s Cundill History Prize for book on Siberian exiles

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British Historian Daniel Beer wins McGill University’s Cundill History Prize for book on Siberian exiles

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

British Historian Daniel Beer accepting the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature for his book The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Nov. 16, 2017 (PubPerspectives, Twitter)

British historian Daniel Beer is the winner of the richest history book prize in the world. Canada’s McGill University announced Beer and his book The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars (Allen Lane) the winner of the $75,000 USD annual international Cundill Prize in Historical Literature on Nov. 16, 2017, at the prize’s gala at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The annual prize honors history non-fiction books published in the last year. Beer is a lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, and his prize-winning book about Siberian prison exiles during the Russian tsarist regime has been lauded throughout the year before winning the ultimate history prize.

Chair of the prize jury Margaret MacMillan feted Beer’s book in announcing him the winner. MacMillan expressed at the gala, “Daniel Beer has done extraordinary research, using underappreciated and unexamined sources, to show what exile meant to generations of Russians and other nationalities within the Russian Empire. He gives a moving and heart-rending account of what happened to these people, most of whom never returned from Siberia. The House of the Dead is a haunting and important contribution to Russian history and hugely deserving winner of the 2017 Cundill History Prize.”

McGill Dean of Arts Antonia Maioni also spoke at the Cundill History Prize Gala before the announcement. The Dean of Arts expressed, “We are so very proud to celebrate this important prize at McGill University and in Canada.” Maioni also commented, “At McGill, we value research-intensive history and, at the same time, the ability to communicate to the rest of the world the importance of history writing and an understanding of Canada’s role in the global setting. The Cundill History Prize plays a hugely important role — championing the highest quality historical scholarship from around the world, and rewarding books that can reach out to appeal to a wide audience, ignite conversation, and evoke a better understanding of ourselves and others.”

The Cundill prize is open to any authored history book across the globe. For the tenth anniversary, the university “rebranded” the prize to “illuminate the truth at a time in world affairs when informed, factual debate is increasingly losing out to populism and retrenchment is on the rise.” This year’s long list was shortened from a record 330 submissions, double the amount McGill received for their 2016 prize.

jury of five historians determined who wins the book prize. Canadian historian and Oxford University professor Margaret MacMillan chaired this year’s jury. The jury was predominantly British, with Oxford University professors Roy Foster and Rana Mitter, but included one American British-American historian and columnist Amanda Foreman and one Canadian, journalist Jeffrey Simpson. The Cundill Prize also had a committee of McGill faculty members.

Beer beat out his two competitors, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) professor, Christopher Goscha and “Austrian-born, US-based historian” Walter Scheidel. All three historians’ books were shortlisted for the prize down from the list of ten finalists announced on Sept. 26. On Oct. 26, jury chair MacMillan announced the shortlist finalists at a “press conference at Canada House in London.”

Despite Beer, claiming the grand prize both Goscha and Scheidel were both winners of the Recognition of Excellence Award and $10,000 USD. As the McGill Reporter notes, “Goscha was awarded for Vietnam: A New History(Basic Books),” and Scheidel was awarded “for his controversial economic thesis The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press).”

When the finalists were announced MacMillan praised the three books equally. MacMillan said, “The three finalists for the 2017 Cundill History Prize are extraordinary works of history: beautifully crafted, well-researched, and ambitious. They tackle big issues and help us to know ourselves and our world better. We live in complicated times and the work of historians such as these provides us with the necessary background, understanding, and insights to enable us to formulate the sorts of questions we ought to be asking.”

The Cundill Prize in Historical Literature was “founded by McGill alumnus F. Peter Cundill,” with the first prize was announced in 2008. Qualifying and winning books have to include “historical scholarship, originality, literary quality and broad appeal.” Beer’s award-winning book “The House of the Dead has also been shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize, the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize and the Longman History Today Prize.” The House of the Dead was also “The Times, BBC History and TLS Books of the year for 2016.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education November 23, 2017: Will American universities continue losing international students to Canada?

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Will American universities continue losing international students to Canada?

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The University of Toronto in Canada saw the largest increase in international student enrollment this academic year, benefiting the most from the decline to American schools.

With the application period in full swing for the 2018–19 academic year and incoming Class of 2022 freshman class, the question remains if American universities will continue the trend of losing international students. Last year the drop in applications and enrollment was attributed to Donald Trump’s election as president and his immigration policies. Canadian universities benefited from the American loss and received a bump in international applications and enrollments for the 2017–18 academic years. New surveys and reports released by IIE Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact on Nov. 13, 2017, and Universities Canada on Nov. 22 indicate American universities loss seven percent of their international students, while Canadian schools saw an increase in the double digits. The two studies remained on the opposite ends when came to blaming Trump’s presidency for the differing numbers, with American reports downplaying the factor, while Canadian surveys saw a direct correlation.

A new report by the IIE Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairsreleased on Monday, Nov. 13, entitled the “2017 Open Doors® Report on International Educational Exchange” examined at the changing international student rates. The report indicated that just the year prior, the 2016–17 academic year, American universities saw an increase in the peak of total international student enrollment, but a decrease in new international students coming to the US to study.

The 2017 Open Doors report indicates that the US saw a “record” number of international students with 1.08 million studying, the second academic year with over a million students. Open Doors claimed, “This also marks the eleventh consecutive year of continued expansion of the total number of international students in U.S. higher education.” Despite the good news, there were plenty of negatives when looking at the number of new students enrolling; there was a three percent drop from the previous academic year, 10,000 students less to 281,000 new enrollees.

The 2016–17 academic years had only a three percent increase in international students compared to the previous year, the smallest increase since the 2009–10 academic years. Open Door pointed out, “This is the first time that these numbers have declined in the twelve years since Open Doors has reported new enrollments.” The decreases primarily come from two countries Saudi Arabia and Brazil because of the decrease of scholarships. Although the report claims, economic factors trump any political reasons for the decline.

The Open Door gave a glimpse at the present academic year, which shows that the trend is continuing with an additional seven percent loss in new international student enrollees. Although this is the national trend, the results are much different at different universities and colleges. According to IIE, “45 percent of the campuses reported declines in new enrollments for fall 2017, while 31 percent reported increases in new enrollments and 24 percent reported no change from last year.”

International students contribute the most in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, serving as support faculty as research and teaching assistants. IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman commented on the decline, “Students continue to be attracted to the high quality and diverse opportunities offered by U.S. colleges and universities. But it is critical for U.S. institutions to set strategic goals and be proactive in reaching out to students and families in a wide range of countries in the coming year, and for the United States to keep its academic doors open to students from all over the world.”

IIE released another report at the start of the academic year entitled “Shifting Tides: Understanding International Student Yield for Fall 2017.” The study conducted in March 2017, was created in collaboration with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO). The study examined the international enrollment rates at 165 colleges and universities in the different regions of the country.

The results proved that President Trump’s policies had little effect on attracting international undergraduate students going from 26 percent in 2016 to just a two percent drop and 24 percent in 2017. Graduate students, however, were more deterred from studying in the US. Colleges and universities saw a 7 percent drop in international students for Masters’ degrees. Last year the number was 26 percent down to 19 percent of graduate student population this year. According to IIE “38 percent of surveyed institutions indicating a decrease in international student applications, 36 percent seeing an increase and 26 percent seeing no change compared to the prior year.”

The decline happened at 46 percent of the schools that participated, but the results varied in the four regions of the country. The South saw the largest drop in international students, with 5 percent from 35 to 30 percent; however, the Northeast did not see any difference remaining at 24 percent. Regional differences have to do with the politics of the areas and schools. The South is the country’s most conservative area, while the Northeast is the most liberal and home of the Ivy League universities that continually attract international students. Four states attract the most international students, California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts, but only Texas deep in Trump country saw a decline. Texas’ decline was a huge 18 percent loss in international students this year from the 2016 year, 44 percent down to 35 percent.

The United Kingdom’s Times Higher Education sees the decline in international students enrolling at American schools a trend that is longtime in the making and independent of Trump. Analyst Marguerite Dennis wrote an op-ed last January 2017 entitled, “Dwindling US international student numbers? Don’t blame Trump!” On the eve of Trump inauguration as the 45th president of the United States, 60 percent of international students from 118 countries said a Trump presidency would deter their enrollment in US schools a number that never materialized. Canadian saw a surge in American students visiting their perspective and future student websites. The University of Toronto saw 10,000 visitors the day after Trump’s election, up from only 1,000 the day before when the news predicted democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would win the election.

Dennis looked at historical data and found that the decline is a trend 17-year trend in the making commencing in 2001. At that point, the year of the terror attack on the World Trade Center “28 per cent of all international students enrolled” in American schools, by 2014 that number decreased to 22 percent. Dennis attributes two reasons for the decline, less Chinese students enrolling and rising tuition costs. Dennis claims, “In 2014–15, there were 304,040 Chinese studying in the US, 10.8 per cent more than the previous year. However, in 2013–14 the increase was 21.4 per cent.” Additionally, since 2008 tuition at American schools has increased by 28 percent.

IIE claimed that students from the Middle East and India were the most reluctant to enroll in the US because of Trump’s travel ban and were the most concerned about their ability to obtain a student visa. Indian students are fearful of enrolling because an Indian engineering student studying in the Midwest was killed in a hate crime. IIE agrees with Dennis that affordability is a major concern for students coming from “sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Canada, Oceania, Latin America and Asia,” except China.

Canadian universities are benefitting the most from international students’ reluctance to study in the US and a lesser extent in Great Britain. This academic year, Canadian universities saw a “record number” of international students enrolled in their institutions. In Canada, they attribute to the growing number of international applicants directly to Trump’s election and his presidency, and Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union, but they are not certain how to maintain their growing student population and translate it into permanent Canadian residents. The major wave of applications commenced with Trump election, with Canadian schools seeing a bump of 20 percent more international applicants.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, IRCC claims there was a 17.5 percent increase in international students from the fall of 2015 to the fall of 2016. According to the Pie News, “the number of new students entering Canada for the first time reached nearly 270,000 — up 22% from 2015 figures.” Universities Canada released data for the fall 2017 enrollment on Nov. 22, calculating only the number of overseas international students. They determined that there was an 11 percent increase of overseas students in 2017 from 2016. As The Times Higher Education reports “the total number of full- and part-time overseas university students in the country to 192,000.”

Universities Canada took their information from Regional university associations, which include, “The Association of Atlantic Universities, the Bureau de Coopération Interuniversitaire (representing Quebec universities), the Council of Ontario Universities and Universities Canada.” In total 96 institutions shared their data for the survey. British Columbia is the province attracting the most international students with a 15.6 percent increase; the province is the home of one of the country’s top three schools, the University of British Columbia. The Canadian government wants to continue to capitalize on the trend and increase the number of international students to 450,000 by 2022.

Canada’s top schools The University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill University are attracting the brunt of the students. This year the U of Toronto had 17,452 international students at the undergraduate and graduate level representing 20 percent of the student population. The numbers are double than those of ten years ago, wherein 2007 they had 7,380 international students compromising only 10 percent of the student population.

The University of Toronto has the most international students on the continent, followed by the US’ New York University, while the UBC is third. UBC had 14,433 international students in 2016 up from 9,144 in 2012. McGill’s numbers are equally impressive, this academic year their international student population hit 30 percent and is over 12,000 out of 41,000 students. McGill noted that the number represents an “over 10 percent increase from last year and 45 percent from 5 years ago.”

The students are coming from 150 countries, the majority from China, India, South Korea, France, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Japan, Brazil, to a lesser extent Turkey. There is also an increase in American students enrolling in Canadian schools. China has the most students in Canada representing 34 percent of the international student population 57,000 students in 2014, followed by India with 14 percent; only three percent of American students come to Canada for a university education.

Applications to Canadian schools surged last fall and winter from American students distraught by Trump’s electoral victory, but those numbers never materialized in enrollments. The U of Toronto saw an increase of 70 percent from American students, McGill had a 30 percent increase from the US and 16 percent internationally, while UBC saw a 26 percent increase in applications from American students. In 2014, Canada hosted 9,000 American students in their universities.

Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada claims the increase in international students can be attributed to the country being “known worldwide as a nation that values diversity and inclusion, and our universities are a big part of that.” Davison continued praising the country to the THE, saying, “Students around the globe are increasingly choosing the internationally recognised quality of a Canadian university education, and the benefits for Canada are tremendous.”

In contrast, Richard Levin, executive director of enrolment services and university registrar at the University of Toronto see the enrollment bump being because of the backlash in the US and the UK. Levin told CBC News “Clearly there are things about the international situation — worries about stability, Brexit and the U.S. political environment — that have changed or increased international students’ interest in looking beyond their own countries and beyond the U.S..” Continuing Levin expressed, “Now in places like that, students are looking for alternatives and Canada is presenting as a good one in terms of stability, safety, and inclusiveness.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

 

Education October 20, 2017: McGill remains on top of Maclean’s University Rankings for 2018

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McGill remains on top of Maclean’s University Rankings for 2018

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

McGill again topped Maclean’s Magazine University Ranking in 2018 and has retained the number one spot for the past 13 years. Wikipedia Commnons

It is lucky number 13 for McGill University, as the Montreal school tops Maclean’s Magazine University Ranking in 2018 for the 13th straight year. Maclean’s Magazine released their 2018 University Ranking on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, again giving Canada’s most prestigious university their top honors. Simon Fraser University remained number one in the Comprehensive category for the fourth year in a row, while the Mount Allison University regained the top spot in the Primarily Undergraduate category. The University of Toronto took the №1 spot in the reputation survey again this year, and Bishop’s University is the Top School by Student Satisfaction.

The most significant of the Maclean’s ranking lists is their Medical/Doctoral category, focusing on the major research universities. Maclean’s explains universities in this category include “a medical school and a wide range of research and Ph.D. programs.” McGill again topped the list this year and has retained the number one spot for the past 13 years. Maclean’s boasts McGill’s illustrious alumni of “change-makers,” its doctorate programs, and ‘groundbreaking and innovative” research.

Maclean’s notes, McGill “has also produced more Rhodes Scholars (142) and Nobel laureates (12) than any other university in Canada.” McGill has an addition being located in Montreal, the QS World University Rankings the best student city in the world for 2017. McGill was able to beat the competition despite funding problems that have been plaguing the university in the past couple of years. McGill also was in the bottom quarter of universities ranked when it came to “per-student operating budget,” as the McGill Reported noted. McGill’s libraries, however, were lauded for their “stellar performance.”

The top six of the category remained the same for the second year in third year in a row with Toronto in second, UBC in third, followed by Queen’s in fourth, Alberta in fifth and McMaster Universities in sixth place. There was, however, a lot of movement in the last four spots of the top 10. Western Ontario moved up to seventh after tying for eighth last year. Dalhousie moved down again from seventh back to eighth. Ottawa moved down one again back to tie for ninth place this time with the University of Calgary, who was in last year’s tenth place position.

Maclean’s explains the reason for their three main ranking lists saying they “place universities into three categories to recognize the differences in levels of research funding, the diversity of offerings and the breadth and depth of graduate and professional programs.” McGill has a reputation as the Harvard of the North and rightfully keeps its spot as the nation’s best at the top of the Medical Doctoral category.

McGill’s Principal Suzanne Fortier was pleased with Maclean’s ranking results. Fortier issued a statement saying, “We are delighted to see McGill recognized once again as Canada’s leading university according to the Maclean’s yardstick. All members of our McGill community can take pride in this accomplishment. I salute our alumni for the solid foundation of excellence they have built in our great university and congratulate all the students, professors and staff for their commitment to the values of McGill.”

The Comprehensive category is described as universities “with significant research, undergraduate, and graduate programs as well as professional schools,” but are not as research focused, and do not have Medical schools. This year Simon Fraser University again topped the category for “the fourth year in a row” and now 14 times in the ranking’s history. Only three other schools have ever topped the comprehensive category, the University of Victoria, which moves up again to the second place, University of Waterloo, who again drops one back to third place. The University of Guelph remains in fourth place and Carleton University stays at fifth place.

There was a lot of movement in the bottom half of the top ten. Although the University of New Brunswick remains in sixth place, it is now tied with Wilfrid Laurier University, which has moved up three from ninth. Both Memorial and York University, who last year had been tied for seventh place moved down and are now tied for eighth. While Concordia stays at tenth place rounding out the top ten.

The Primarily Undergraduate category features universities who focus on their undergraduate program. The biggest changes in this year’s rankings come from the primarily undergraduate category. Mount Allison University catapults back to the top moving up one. Previously Mount Allison topped the list for eight years until UNB dethroned the school. The University of Northern British Columbia (UNB) now trades places with Mount Allison and moves down to the second spot after two years assuming the top position. Trent and Lethbridge Universities trade places as well, with Trent moving up one to third and Lethbridge down one to fourth.

The middle of the top ten remained the same as last year. Acadia, St. Francis Xavier, and Saint Mary’s Universities each stayed in the fifth, sixth and seventh positions respectively, that they were in last year. Two universities reentered the top ten after a year hiatus, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Lakehead University where both last year tied for the eleventh spot, now they moved up, UOIT to eighth and Lakehead into the ninth slot. Rounding out the top ten is the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), who drops two spots to tenth.

Macleans’ rankings do not have drastic changes from year to year because of the methodology they use, relying on as the magazine explains, “research funding and university spending don’t vary wildly from year to year, and student and faculty awards, as well as publications and citations, are counted over a five-year period. Twelve of the 14 ranking indicators are derived from data from third-party sources, such as the three major federal granting councils (SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR) and Statistics Canada. The other two indicators are based on a reputational survey and a student survey. These surveys are subjective, and people criticize them-or praise them-for that very reason.”

The Maclean’s Reputation Ranking is the most controversial list in their annual rankings, because it is subjective, taking their results from a survey completed by “university faculty and senior administrators, high school guidance counselors, and a variety of businesspeople.” The list looks at the universities’ quality and innovation. This year, Maclean’s assembled one list, the National reputational ranking with all 49 universities represented from the Primarily Undergraduate, Comprehensive and Medical/Doctoral categories.

The national reputation ranking is similar to last year’s Best Overall Reputation ranking. Maclean’s Reputation Survey has the University of Toronto again on top, followed by Waterloo remaining in second, then the University of British Columbia staying third, and McGill remains in fourth. Rounding out the top five is the University of Alberta. Maclean’s still has separate reputation surveys for each category under their overall lists. The University of Toronto is also the top under the Medical/Doctoral categories, the University of Waterloo tops the Comprehensive category, while Mount Allison tops the Primarily Undergraduate reputation survey.

Maclean’s shook up their rankings two years when they added a student survey called “Students Favorite Schools.” Since then the name has changed to the Student Satisfaction survey and is now combined to rank the schools in all the three categories. This year Bishop’s University topped the list, last year Bishop’s was the student’s chosen school in the Primarily Undergraduate category. Each category still maintains their individual ranking, under their category’s overall ranking. This year, the top Medical/Doctoral school among students was the Université de Sherbrooke, who was number 13 in their category overall, Wilfrid Laurier was the top comprehensive school, but tied for sixth in their category, and Bishop’s was also the top choice also in the Primarily Undergraduate category, although it was only tied for eleventh in its category.

Maclean’s three major rankings Medical Doctoral, Comprehensive, and Primarily Undergraduate use the same methodology to determine the lists’ rankings. There are six performance indicators; students and classes account for 20 percent of the grade, Faculty also 20 percent, Resources account for 12 percent, Student Support at 13 percent, Library at 15 percent, and Reputation weigh heavily at 20 percent.

Here is Maclean’s top 10 in their Medical/Doctoral category and includes the university’s 2017 positions:

1 McGill [1]
1 Toronto [2]
3 UBC [3]
4 Queen’s [4]
5 Alberta [5]
6 McMaster [6]
7 Western [*8]
8 Dalhousie [7]
*9 Calgary [10]
*9 Ottawa [*8]

Comprehensive category’s top 10:

1 Simon Fraser [1]
2 Victoria [3]
3 Waterloo [2]
4 Guelph [4]
5 Carleton [5]
*6 New Brunswick [6]
*6 Wilfrid Laurier [9]
*8 Memorial [*7]
*8 York [*7]
10 Concordia [10]

Primarily Undergraduate category’s top 10:

1 Mount Allison [2]
2 UNBC [1]
3 Trent [4]
4 Lethbridge [3]
5 Acadia [5]
6 St. Francis Xavier [6]
7 Saint Mary’s [7]
8 UOIT [*11]
9 Lakehead [*11]
10 UPEI [8]

National reputational ranking top 10:

1 Toronto [1]
2 Waterloo [2]
3 UBC [3]
4 McGill [4]
5 Alberta [5]
6 McMaster [7]
7 Western [8]
8 Queen’s [6]
9 Simon Fraser [10]
10 Calgary

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

History September 29, 2017: McGill University announces tenth annual Cundill History Book Prize finalists

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McGill University announces tenth annual Cundill History Book Prize finalists

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS

McGill University is celebrating the 10th anniversary of world’s richest history book prize, the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature. The university announced the 2017 long list finalists on Sept. 26, will announce the top three on Oct. 26, and the winner on Nov. 16. McGill University 

The richest history book prize in the world just announced their long list finalists for the tenth annual award. Canada’s McGill University announced on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, ten long list finalists for their $75,000 American annual international Cundill Prize in Historical Literature for history non-fiction books published in the last year. This year’s finalists include historians from five countries including one from Montreal on a variety of topics, areas and periods, although religious history is prominent among the finalists chosen.

The prize is open to any authored history book across the globe. For the tenth anniversary, the university “rebranded” the prize to “illuminate the truth at a time in world affairs when informed, factual debate is increasingly losing out to populism and retrenchment is on the rise.” A jury of five historiansdetermines who wins the book prize. Canadian historian and Oxford University professor Margaret MacMillan is chairing this year’s jury. The jury is predominantly British, with Oxford University professors Roy Foster and Rana Mitter, but includes one American British-American historian and columnist Amanda Foreman and one Canadian, journalist Jeffrey Simpson. The Cundill Prize also has a committee of McGill faculty members.

This year’s long list was shortened from a record 330 submissions, double the amount McGill received for their 2016 prize. Jury Chair MacMillan remarked about the quantity and quality of the books under consideration. MacMillan said, “Our long list reflects the exciting and varied state of history today. The books on it cover subjects from Vietnam to Native American history and range in time from prehistory to the present. Their outstanding men and women authors come from around the world. It certainly wasn’t easy for our jury to whittle down over 300 entries into 10 but I am happy that we have come up with such a strong and interesting selection.”

The long list heavily features religious history with three books included, Christopher de Ballaigue’s The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times (WW Norton), Lyndal Roper’s Martin Luther (Bodley Head), and Frances FitzGerald In The Evangelicals (S&S US). This year’s finalists include one book by an academic at neighboring Université du Québec à Montréal, Christopher Goscha’s Vietnam: A New History. American published books dominate the list with six, four published in Britain, and only one from Canada.

Jury member Mitter counters saying the list is varied and global. Mitter commented, “As a historian of China I’m particularly delighted at how wide the geographical range of these books are. All are outstanding in quality. I note in terms of range that we have a long study of Vietnam, a major country in Southeast Asia that is little understood in the west; an examination of Islam over several centuries; and an analysis of inequality that draws on material from China as well as the west. In addition, North America and Europe are richly represented. This is a very global list.”

The long list will be further narrowed down to three short finalists on October 26. MacMillan will announce the finalists at a “press conference at Canada House in London.” McGill will then announce the winner at a gala in Montreal on Nov. 16 after a lecture by the top three on Nov. 15. All three finalists will be winners as each runner-up receives a Recognition of Excellence Award and $10,000 American. Qualifying and winning books have to include “historical scholarship, originality, literary quality and broad appeal.” The prize was “founded by McGill alumnus F. Peter Cundill,” with the first prize was announced in 2008.

Cundill Prize Finalists

Black Elk by Joe Jackson, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux
Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy by Heather Thompson, Pantheon Books
Martin Luther by Lyndal Roper, Bodley Head
Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel, Allen Lane
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald, Simon & Schuster US
The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsar by Daniel Beer, Allen Lane
The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times by Christopher de Bellaigue, W. W. Norton & Company
Vietnam: A New History by Christopher Goscha, Basic Books
Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 by Stephen Smith, Oxford University Press
The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Schneidel, Princeton University Press

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

 

Education February 8, 2017: McGill still tops Maclean’s University Rankings for 2017

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McGill still tops Maclean’s University Rankings for 2017

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The most prominent university ranking in Canada is Maclean’s Magazine University Ranking and McGill University continues to be the country’s top school. Maclean’s Magazine released their 2017 University Ranking online and as a guidebook on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, where for the 12th straight year McGill University topped the list in the Medical Doctoral category. Simon Fraser University remained number one in the Comprehensive category for the third year in a row; while the University of Northern British Columbia retained the top spot in the Primarily Undergraduate category, while the University of Toronto took the №1 spot in the reputation survey.

The most significant of Maclean’s’ ranking lists is their Medical Doctoral category, focusing on the major research universities. Macleans explains universities in this category include “a medical school and a wide range of research and Ph.D. programs.” McGill again topped the list this year and had retained the number one spot for the past 12 years. McGill was able to beat the competition despite funding problems that have been plaguing the university in the past couple of years.

There was no movement in the top six of the category with Toronto in second, UBC in third, followed by Queen’s in fourth, Alberta in fifth and McMaster Universities in sixth place. There was a lot of movement in the last four spots of the top 10. Dalhousie moved up again from eighth to seventh again. Ottawa moved up from tied for ninth and Western Ontario moved down from seventh to both being tied for eighth. Meanwhile, the University of Calgary moved down one to tenth place.

Maclean’s explains the reason for their three main ranking lists saying they “place universities into three categories to recognize the differences in levels of research funding, the diversity of offerings and the breadth and depth of graduate and professional programs.” Student satisfaction has affected ranking for the major universities that have students that commute, including McGill in Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. McGill has a reputation as the Harvard of the North and rightfully keeps its spot as the nation’s best at the top of the Medical Doctoral category.

McGill’s Principal Suzanne Fortier was pleased with Maclean’s ranking results. Fortier issued a statement saying, “Our leading position in scholarships and bursaries in this ranking underscores our commitment to ensuring accessibility to education for all talented students, regardless of their financial means. As we always note, rankings are not an exact science, and different rankings measure different things. But we are proud of the qualities and efforts that have kept us atop the Maclean’s ranking for the past 12 years.”

The Comprehensive category is described as universities “with significant research, undergraduate, and graduate programs as well as professional schools,” but are not as research focused, and do not have Medical schools. This year Simon Fraser University again topped the category for “the third year in a row” and 13 times in the ranking’s history. Only three other schools have ever topped the comprehensive category, the University of Waterloo, which is second, University of Victoria, in third place and the University of Guelph, which is this year’s fourth place school. Most of the top ten remained the same with just some minor movements; the biggest change was last year’s ninth place Ryan University dropping out of the top ten.

The Primarily Undergraduate category features universities who focus on their undergraduate program. University of Northern British Columbia (UNB) remains on top for the second year in a row. Mount Allison University, who had topped the list for eight years until last year when it fell to fourth, rebounded back to second place. Lethbridge University retains the third spot, Trent moves down two to fourth place, and Acadia remains in the same spot rounding out the top five.

The significant changes in the list come in the top ten’s last two spots, Bishop’s University enters the list in ninth place moving three, with Laurentian University moving back into the top ten, up one to tenth place. Leaving the top ten is Lakehead University, which as in ninth place last year and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, which held the tenth place last time.

Macleans’ rankings do not have drastic changes from year to year because of the methodology they use, relying on as the magazine explains, “research funding and university spending don’t vary wildly from year to year, and student and faculty awards, as well as publications and citations, are counted over a five-year period. Twelve of the 14 ranking indicators are derived from data from third-party sources, such as the three major federal granting councils (SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR) and Statistics Canada. The other two indicators are based on a reputational survey and a student survey. These surveys are subjective, and people criticize them-or praise them-for that very reason.”

Macleans’ Reputation Survey is the most controversial lists in their annual rankings, because it is subjective, taking their results from a survey completed by “education and business leaders,” “asking for their views on quality and innovation at Canadian universities.” This year the survey was conducted entirely online. Maclean’s publishes four reputation rankings, Best Overall, Highest Quality, Most Innovative, and Leaders of Tomorrow, with 49 universities represented in all four lists.

Maclean’s Reputation Survey has the University of Toronto again topping the “Best Overall” list, followed by Waterloo moving up to second, then the University of British Columbia falling to third, and McGill falling to fourth. Before last year, Waterloo dominated the list appearing at the top for 19 times. In Highest Quality, Toronto is also on top followed by McGill and Waterloo, with UBC moving down to fourth.

In the Most Innovative, Waterloo again tops the list, with Toronto second and McGill swapping places with UBC for third, and UBC falls to fourth. The Leaders of Tomorrow reputation list had Toronto moving up two to the top spot, followed by UBC remaining second, while former number one Waterloo dropped to third, and McGill remained in fourth place.

Except from some universities changing places in the later part of the top ten, the list remained intact with two exceptions; Universite de Montreal entered the Most Innovative list moving up four to ninth place, while the University of Western Ontario joined the Leaders of Tomorrow reputation list moving up four to eighth place.

Maclean’s shook up their rankings last year adding a student survey called “Students Favorite Schools.” The info compiled produced far different top universities in each of the three categories. Students named Université de Sherbrooke the top Medical Doctoral University, the Wilfrid Laurier University, the top in the Comprehensive category, and Bishop’s University remained the top Primarily Undergraduate University. The survey asked students about “course instructors, student life staff and administrative staff” and added two additional questions this year on “academic advising staff and experiential learning.”

Maclean’s continued the tradition they started last year to included program rankings, looking at the top 10 universities for each of the ten programs they profiled. The majority of the programs are STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics related and include the following, engineering, geology, psychology, mathematics, environmental science, biology, nursing and computer science programs. Only two programs ranked where outside of STEM subjects, business and education.

Maclean’s new methodology relies more heavily on citations, “Maclean’s worked with Amsterdam-based Elsevier, which operates Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature in the world, to assess the number of papers and the impact of professors’ research at Canadian universities.”

Maclean’s three major rankings Medical Doctoral, Comprehensive, and Primarily Undergraduate use the same methodology to determine the lists’ rankings. There are six performance indicators; students and classes account for 20 percent of the grade, Faculty also 20 percent, Resources account for 12 percent, Student Support at 13 percent, Library at 15 percent, and Reputation weighs heavily at 20 percent.

Here is Maclean’s top 10 in their Doctoral-Medical category and includes the university’s 2017 positions:

1 McGill University (1)
2 University of Toronto (3)
3 University of British Columbia (UBC) (3)
4 Queen’s University (4)
5 University of Alberta (5)
6 McMaster University (6)
7 Dalhousie University (8)
8 University of Ottawa (*9)
8 University of Western Ontario (7)
10 University of Calgary (*9)

Comprehensive category’s top 10:

1 Simon Fraser University (1)
2 University of Waterloo (3)
3 University of Victoria (2)
4 University of Guelph (5)
5 Carleton University (4)
6 University of New Brunswick (6)
7 Memorial University (7)
7 York University (7)
9Wilfrid Laurier University (10)
10 Concordia University (10)

Primarily Undergraduate category’s top 10:

1 University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) (2)
2 Mount Allison University (4)
3 Lethbridge University (3)
4 Trent University (2)
5 Acadia University (5)
6 St. Francis Xavier University (5)
7 Saint Mary’s University (5)
8 University of Prince Edward Island (8)
9 Bishop’s University (12)
10 Laurentian University (11)

Maclean’s Reputation Survey top 10

Best Overall University Highest Quality Most Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow
1 Toronto 1 2 1
2 Waterloo 3 1 3
3 UBC 4 4 2
4 McGill 2 3 4
5 Alberta 7 6 5
6 Queen’s 5 7 6
7 McMaster 6 5 7
8 Western 8 9 12
9 Montréal 9 13 8
10 Simon Fraser 11 10 10

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Judaism June 6, 2016: McGill SSMU outlaws BDS after professors release letter three months too late

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Judaism February 28, 2016: Victory over anti-Semitism McGill BDS motion defeated after ratification vote

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JUDAISM

Victory over anti-Semitism McGill BDS motion defeated after ratification vote

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, 

February 28, 2016, 11:30 AM MST

 During the ratification process, McGill University undergraduate students have voted down a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement motion passed by the Student Society earlier in the week, Feb. 27, 2016
During the ratification process, McGill University undergraduate students have voted down a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement motion passed by the Student Society earlier in the week, Feb. 27, 2016
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Judaism February 25, 2016: McGill pro-Israel students face new reality anti-Semitism after SSMU BDS vote

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McGill pro-Israel students face new reality anti-Semitism after SSMU BDS vote

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, February 25, 2016, 9:13 PM MST

McGill University's Jewish and pro-Israel students are facing a wave of increased anti-Semitism, harassment and bullying after the student union voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Feb. 23, 2016
McGill University’s Jewish and pro-Israel students are facing a wave of increased anti-Semitism, harassment and bullying after the student union voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Feb. 23, 2016
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Judaism February 24, 2016: McGill University SSMU votes for BDS movement as Canadian Parliament opposes it

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JUDAISM

McGill University SSMU votes for BDS movement as Canadian Parliament opposes it

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, February 24, 2016, 4:23 AM MST

 McGill University’s undergraduate student society voted to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, while the Canadian Parliament voted to condemn the movement, Feb. 22, 2016
McGill University’s undergraduate student society voted to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, while the Canadian Parliament voted to condemn the movement, Feb. 22, 2016
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Education December 6, 2015: College rankings 2016: McGill remains on top of Maclean’s University Rankings

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College Rankings 2016: McGill remains on top of Maclean’s University Rankings

By Bonnie K. Goodman

December 6, 2015, 10:22 AM MST

 McGill University topped Canada's Maclean's University Rankings in the Medical Doctoral category for the 11th straight year, Oct. 29, 2015
McGill University topped Canada’s Maclean’s University Rankings in the Medical Doctoral category for the 11th straight year, Oct. 29, 2015
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Universities November 16, 2014: College rankings guide 2014-15: McGill again tops Maclean’s University Rankings

College rankings guide 2014-15: McGill again tops Maclean’s University Rankings

 

November 16, 2014, 2:29 PM MST

McGill University topped Canada’s Maclean’s University Rankings for the 10th straight year

mymontrealautumn.wordpress.com

In Canada, the most prestigious ranking of universities is Maclean’s Magazine University Ranking, and their 2015 listing and guidebook was released on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, where for the 10th straight year McGill University topped the list in the Medical Doctoral category. Simon Fraser University moved up to number one in the Comprehensive category, Mount Allison University for the seventh year topped the Primarily Undergraduate category, while the University of Waterloo moved up again to the number one spot in the reputation survey. Maclean’s explains the reason for their three main lists saying they “place universities into three categories to recognize the differences in levels of research funding, the diversity of offerings and the breadth and depth of graduate and professional programs.”

The most significant of Maclean’s’ ranking lists is their Medical Doctoral category, focusing on the major research universities. McGill again topped the list this year and has retained the number one spot for the past two years. There was movement in the top three, with the University of Toronto going up the ranking from the third spot to the second, while the University of British Columbia (UBC) moved down back to number three. The rest of the top 10 saw very little movement, with most of the universities keeping their same positions as last year. The ranking is in reverse on most international lists, with the University of Toronto considered Canada’s top university followed either by the University of British Columbia or McGill, but the international rankings all agree those are the top three Canadian universities.

Here in Canada McGill’s reputation as the Harvard of the North, rightfully keeps its spot as the nation’s best. McGill’s Principal Suzanne Fortier apparently pleased with Maclean’s ranking results told the McGill Reporter; “The value of the Maclean’s rankings, like other rankings, is in the story they tell over time. This is a story of continued commitment to excellence. I am proud of the McGill community for sustaining its top performance for a decade running.”

Recently McGill has faced budget challenges, with the Quebec government’s funding cuts the past couple of years and not enough private endowments Canada’s once top university across all rankings has taken a hit and drop in international rankings and prestige as a result. Even on Maclean’s list, where McGill was able to hold to their “decade” long reign as Canada’s best, they are 12th when it comes to “operating budget.”

Principal Fortier recently spoke of the funding problems and international rankings to the Globe and Mail, explaining, “We have not seen any additional investments in quite a number of years now and also we have to live within quite a lot of constraints… We don’t have agility, we don’t have a lot of flexibility, because, certainly in the case of McGill, all of our money is controlled by the government.” According to McGill’s statistics, the university is still a top draw for international students, in the fall of 2013 “25.2 per cent of the incoming student body” were international students.

The Comprehensive category is described as universities “with significant research, undergraduate, and graduate programs as well as professional schools,” but are not as research focused, and do not have Medical instruction. Simon Fraser and the University of Victoria continue their power struggle for the top spot in the category as they have been doing since 2007, this year Simon Fraser won the honors. The University of Waterloo retains the third spot to round out the top three. The list also saw Brock and Wilfrid Laurier graduating up this category from the Primarily Undergraduate category. Concordia University in Montreal also saw improvement in their ranking, and they are now sitting at the precipice of the top 10 at number 11.

The Primarily Undergraduate category that features universities that focus on their undergraduate program saw Mount Allison again holds on as the top university that category. Mount Allison has a monopoly on the category, maintaining their supremacy since 2007. The University of Northern British Columbia moved up to second place from tying for third last year, while Lethbridge University now solely retains the number three spot. Acadia University dropped the most in the top 10 from number two to four, while Laurentian University was the greatest gainer moving from 14 to the number 10 spot.

Macleans’ reputation survey is the most controversial lists in their annual rankings, because it is subjective, taking their results from a survey completed by “education and business leaders.” Maclean’s publishes four reputation rankings, Best Overall, Highest Quality, Most Innovative, and Leaders of Tomorrow, with 49 universities represented in all four lists. This year the University of Waterloo tops the “Best Overall” list. Maclean’s noted that “For almost two decades, Waterloo has dominated the national list,” while the Waterloo Region Record pointed out Waterloo topped the list “for the 19th time in 24 years.”

As for the rest of reputation list’s top three, UBC comes in second followed by Toronto at third. Meanwhile top ranking McGill is only fourth in the Best Overall. In Highest Quality, there is a reversal, McGill is number one, followed by Toronto and UBC, and Waterloo is forth. In the Most Innovative, Waterloo again tops the list, with Toronto and UBC second and third again, with McMaster forth and McGill just in the fifth position. The Leaders of Tomorrow reputation list had a ranking in the top four that mirrored the Best Overall list, with Waterloo at number one, followed by UBC, Toronto, and McGill again in fourth place.

In other rankings, the reputation survey is similar to Times Higher Education‘s World University Rankings World Reputation Rankings, and the QS World University Rankings that heavily relies on reputation to determine its main rankings. As with most subjective rankings like the Princeton Review Best “379 Colleges,” university administrators “criticize” the results, but students find it helpful in their application decision making. Maclean’s quoted a high school senior who commented; “A school’s reputation tells me about the path of the school and its graduates. If a university’s graduates have a high chance of getting the job they want because they went to that particular school, I feel like the same thing will happen to me if I go there.”

Maclean’s three major rankings Medical Doctoral, Comprehensive, and Primarily Undergraduate use the same methodology to determine the lists’ rankings. There are six performance indicators; students and classes account for 20 percent of the grade, Faculty also 20 percent, Resources account for 12 percent, Student Support at 13 percent, Library at 15 percent, and Reputation weigh heavily at 20 percent.

Here is Maclean’s top ten in their Doctoral-Medical category and includes the university’s 2014 positions:

  • 1 McGill University (1)
  • 2 University of Toronto (3)
  • 3 University of British Columbia (3)
  • 4 Queen’s University (4)
  • 5 University of Alberta (5)
  • 6 McMaster University (6)
  • 7 Dalhousie University (7)
  • 8 University of Ottawa (8)
  • 8 University of Western Ontario (9)
  • 10 Université Laval (13)
  • 10 Université de Montreal (11)

RELATED LINKS

College Rankings Guide 2014-15:

Bonnie K. Goodman is a proud alumnus of McGill University having received both her BA in History & Art History & Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill. She is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are academic & universities news, particularly history & library news.

Universities December 15, 2013: McGill University awards Cundill History Prize to Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain

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McGill University awards Cundill History Prize to Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, December 15, 2013, 4:44 PM MST

 Anne Applebaum, winner of 2013 Cundill Prize, Frederik Logevall & Christopher Clark, "Recognition of Excellence" prize winners with McGill Faculty of Arts Dean Christopher Manfredi at the McGill University's gala & award ceremony, Nov. 20, 2013
Anne Applebaum, winner of 2013 Cundill Prize, Frederik Logevall & Christopher Clark, “Recognition of Excellence” prize winners with McGill Faculty of Arts Dean Christopher Manfredi at the McGill University’s Gala & Award Ceremony, Nov. 20, 2013
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Universities December 5, 2013: McGill University opposes Values Charter, claims affects faculty & recruitment

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McGill University opposes Values Charter; claims affects faculty & recruitment 

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, December 5, 2013, 3:46 PM MST

McGill University's Principal Suzanne Fortier speaking at the university's tri-annual debriefing to Quebec's National Assembly committee on Culture and Education, Dec. 3, 2013
McGill University’s Principal Suzanne Fortier speaking at the university’s tri-annual debriefing to Quebec’s National Assembly Committee on Culture and Education, Dec. 3, 2013
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