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U of O receives its highest ever international education ranking

FOR THE FIRST time, the University of Ottawa has been placed among the top 200 higher educational institutions, by the recently released Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for 2011–12. The University of Ottawa is currently the 185th best post-secondary school in the world, in part due to its focus on research and student experience.

The annual rankings, compiled by British magazine Times Higher Education in conjunction with Thomson Reuters, take teaching, international outlook, industry income, research, and citations into account. Not only did the U of O improve internationally, but the school ranked higher among its Canadian counterparts as well, narrowly beating out the University of Waterloo and University of Western Ontario for ninth place in the country.

“Our faculty, staff, and students all make an outstanding contribution to our university’s success and reputation,” said Allan Rock, U of O president, in a statement following the publication of the rankings. “To rank among the 200 top universities in the world is great news and a superb accomplishment for all those in our community who believe in our mission and our vision.”

Vincent Lamontagne, U of O’s manager of media relations, explained the school’s growing focus on research and researcher recruitment are likely large contributors to the school’s higher ranking this year.

“Research is an important factor for our university. We’ve made huge improvements in research and improvements in development,” said Lamontagne. “When you look at what’s happening and all of the discoveries—the vitality of research on campus—you can’t hide it. It’s everywhere.”

Lamontagne noted that, in the last year, the university has attracted many incredible professors, citing professors Robert Boyd and Tohru Kitada as examples.

“We were awarded [a Canada research chair], and that allowed us to recruit Robert Boyd from the University of Rochester in New York. He’s a world leader in photonics, and amazing at what he does,” said Lamontagne. “We also have Tohru Kitada from Harvard [University], who was part of the team that discovered the parkin gene. He now works with our neuroscience team.”

“Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, those photonics and neurological science are two big parts of our research, and they’re going to be becoming even more important.”

Despite the huge strides the University of Ottawa has made in research and professor recruitment, Lamontagne said student experience is the first concern of the university administration.

“Our priority’s always been student experience; it still is, and still will be,” said Lamontagne. “We’re about to launch our new vision in two weeks and student experience will be at the centre of that vision for 2020.”

The university members aren’t the only ones excited about the ranking; many students have voiced their pride in their school’s success as well.

“I think it’s fantastic that the University of Ottawa has made it this far,” stated third-year English and history student Kyle Climans. “All the universities in the world and this Canadian one in the capital happens to make it into the top 200.”
Climans views the news as yet another affirmation that his decision to attend the U of O was a wise one.

“I was always interested in the University of Ottawa because of its location and because it seemed like a great place,” said Climans. “So this is more of a confirmation of my choice, and it’s nice to know that I made a good choice.”

—Keeton Wilcock