McGill University has slipped a notch in the latest international rankings of world universities, but that’s still good enough to claim to be the top-rated school in Canada.
Yet McGill principal Heather Munroe-Blum cautions that the quality and diversity of McGill and other Quebec universities are at risk unless the provincial government is prepared to make a major reinvestment to bring research funding in line with what’s available elsewhere.
The QS World University Rankings for 2010, made public last night, put McGill in the 19th spot out of 500 post-secondary institutions around the globe.
McGill, which place 18th last year, is the only Canadian university to crack the top 25 universities, a list traditionally dominated by schools in Britain and the United States.
This marks the seventh year in a row that McGill has placed in the elite top quarter, although it has dropped back from its best showing in 2007, when it was ranked 12th overall.
Other Canadian institutions in the top 100 include University of Toronto, University of Alberta, and University of British Columbia.
McGill principal Heather Munroe Blum sees the ranking as recognition of McGill’s “broad strength, remarkable talents and dedicated efforts of our faculty, students, staff and alumni.”
McGill’s achievement is particularly interesting, she said, given the “growing funding gap between us and universities with which we compete.”
Appearing before a National Assembly commission on culture and education in Quebec City yesterday, Munroe-Blum said “Quebec deserves to have many universities that stand among the best in the world, each imbued with its own mission.”
For that to happen, she believes Quebec needs a new funding model that would marry higher tuition fees with a revamping of financial aid for students in need.
McGill placed in the top 35 universities in arts and humanities, engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, natural sciences, social sciences and management.
The QS World University Rankings were launched in 2004 with QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd., a career and education network, providing data to Britain’s Times Higher Education magazine.
Ratings are based on academic peer review, research excellence, staff-to-faculty ratios, the number of international faculty and students and a survey of graduate recruiters.
Last year, QS split with the Times, which has formed a new partnership with Thomson Reuters.
The Times Higher ratings, which will be based on a different combination of data, are expected next week.