Maclean's still thinks highly of the University of Northern B.C.
Although positions jockey for second, third and fourth position (Mount Alison University in New Brunswick is constantly first), UNBC is once again in the mix with Lethbridge and Acadia for the handful of schools at the top of the nation in the Primarily Undergraduate category in the national university rankings done by the news magazine.
UNBC "remains among the top three-ranked small universities in Canada for the sixth straight year," said UNBC officials. The schools is tied this year with Lethbridge for third in the magazine's report while Mount Alison and Acadia were one and two respectively, "both of which are more than 150 years UNBCs senior."
UNBC's vice-president of external relations Rob van Adrichem called the comparison between UNBC and those two schools fun but not directly parallel.
"Those two, and there are others, are almost the Canadian version of the American Ivy League. We're the bush league and proud of it," he said. "We see ourselves as a small comprehensive university. We are setting our own mandate, and also we have a regional mission these other schools don't. We actually have a high proportion of graduate students - the same proportion as the big B.C. schools, and that is also unusual for a school our size. We don't fit exactly into the Maclean's categories."
According to the Maclean's subcategory highlights, UNBC ranks third in its category in Canada in the number of students, per 1,000, who have won national awards; second in Canada for the number of teachers per student; third in Canada for total research dollars per faculty member; and fourth in Canada for the number of professors who have won national awards.
UNBC President George Iwama said, As we approach our 25th anniversary in 2015, our strong standing among the best in Canada reflects the unwavering commitment everyone at UNBC has to world-class education and research, and to the North and Northerners.
Van Adrichem added that he would be surprised if the rankings ever tipped the thinking of a potential student to come to UNBC or choose a different school, but they do serve a purpose. The school, and along with it the city of Prince George, gets consistent positive media coverage across Canada.
"I think that does even more for local people than for people in other places," he said. "It's about national validation for P.G. and it comes from someone different than people like me. We know what we've got, but we don't like the feeling of other people not giving us a fair assessment, so when we get the chance we really go for it."