Food Services and Public Transportation dragging down averageby Paul Brammer (News & Opinion Editor)
The University of the Fraser Valley has scored high again in the Globe and Mail’s annual University Report.
In the main categories outlined by the Report’s magazine, the University scored their highest grades in: Class Size (A+); Quality of Education (A); Student – Faculty Interaction (A); and Ease of Course Registration (A). The school also received A – for Student Satisfaction and Quality of Teaching.
The more detailed grades and comparison at the University’s webpage also rewarded the school an A + for Personal Safety and Security on campus, and all but one of the University’s B, B+ or B – grades either equaled or bettered the national average at schools of the same size. The Globe and Mail report defines a “Small” school as any institution which has an enrolment of 4,000 to 12,000 full-time students.
Judging from the graded results, the statistic where the University appears to be head and shoulders above other schools nationwide the same size is in terms of class size – according to the report, the average size of a first-year class at UFV is 34 students. The national average at schools the same size is 128. The percentage of first-year classes at UFV with less than 30 students is 58%, which easily outstrips the national average of 28%.
UFV scored C+ grades in Availability and Affordability of Off-Campus Housing, which was equal to the national average. Student Residences scored below the national average of B – with a C + grade, and Physical Fitness, Sports and Recreation Facilities scored below the national B average with a C +.
Food Services scored the joint-lowest grade with a C -, though some absolution may come in the fact that this lowly grade was the equal of the national average. The worst score in terms of grade received and comparison to the national average was Availability to Public Transportation – the national average at schools of the same size was B -, and UFV scored a C -.
The University did not detail the scores it received below A – in a comparative table which, at first glance, suggests that UFV compares very well to other B.C. universities such as UBC, SFU and UVic. Indeed, in many aspects (such as class size and student-faculty interaction), UFV is a leader within the province, and, as the official UFV statement said, “UFV earned the most ‘A range’ grades for any public post-secondary institution of any size in British Columbia.”
Of the five things in “What Students Say” about UFV, class sizes ranked second on the list, along with “Inexpensive tuition” and “Narrow field of course offerings.” Also, Criminology, Nursing, Aviation, Business and Kinesiology were five subjects reserved for special “kudos” by the report.
UFV also ranked in specific questions designed to ascertain what kind of personality a school has. UFV ranked sixth in ten of schools that are engaged in local issues, and sixth of ten in curricula that are “more applied than theoretical or practical.” The school also ranked seventh of ten in universities where professors tend to be casual with students, and third of ten in schools that “tries to spread resources evenly across all areas.”
UFV President Mark Evered welcomed the grades, and said that they “confirm that we are succeeding in our mandate of providing excellent, student-focused, educational opportunities. They also indicate that we are on track with our strategic goal of providing the best undergraduate education in Canada.”
The Globe and Mail report asked 35,000 students nationwide100 questions each, and from those answers developed a mean score which is converted into a grade based on a maximum of 9.0 points for each variable. For example, 8.2 points or greater is an A +, 7.8 to 8.2 is an A, and so on.
The University Report can be viewed as an e-magazine by visiting www.globecampus.ca, where a detailed report of UFV’s grades and a comparison to the national average can also be found.