Hotshot prof: Professor David Pellettier, former chairman of the sculpture/installation program, created a bronze statue of the late NDP leader Jack Layton that was unveiled in Toronto in August.
Notable alumnus: Michael Snow was the first Canadian artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Students say: “We have fantastic instructors. We could really use more financial investment in studio space so students can have proper access to studio equipment.”
– Lisa Frost, third-year publications specialization
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Pro: 95 per cent of graduates are employed within two years
Con: Suburban Oshawa is uninteresting
As its name suggests, UOIT is set on being Canada’s high-tech university. Students pay a $900 technology-enriched learning fee, which gets them access to a quality laptop preloaded with field-specific programs. Students working toward a bachelor of information technology have access to the Hacker Research Lab, where they explore security from a hacker’s perspective. The 10-year-old campus boasts modern, environmentally-friendly buildings.
Hotshot prof: Rupinder Brar, physics professor, won TVO’s Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition in 2010.
Notable alumnus: Kate Beirness is a host on SportsCentre on TSN.
University of Ottawa
Canada’s bilingual university
Pro: 75 per cent of classes are available in both French and English
Con: Lousy on-campus food options
University of Ottawa is the biggest bilingual university in North America with a French immersion option offered in 58 programs. But, according to students, francophone and anglophone students tend not to mingle outside of class. Ottawa’s international development and globalization degree places students at governmental organizations such as the Department of Foreign Affairs. Ottawa performed poorly on NSSE, ranking dead last in the country on the supportive campus environment indicator.
Hotshot prof: Karin Hinzer, engineering professor, runs SUNLab, one of Canada’s leading solar cell research facilities.
Notable alumnus: Vincent Lam’s first book, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, was adapted for television and broadcast on HBO Canada.
Students say: “Although no one is really embarrassed to have gone to uOttawa, it is rare to see a uOttawa grad scream it at the top of their lungs.”
– Matthew Conley, recent graduate in marketing
Undergrad education leader
Pro: School spirit
Con: Homogeneous student body
Kingston is often cited as the prison capital of Canada, but the Queen’s experience cannot be compared to imprisonment, even metaphorically. Campus culture is friendly and fun, and students report strong school spirit. Nearly 85 per cent of students live within a 15-minute walk, lending the campus a vibrant feel. Some students complain there is some truth in Queen’s reputation for primarily attracting white, middle-class students. Still, the positive atmosphere extends into its high-quality undergraduate programs, and the university scored well for fostering an enriching educational experience in NSSE.
Hotshot prof: James Fraser, associate professor of physics, recently spent his sabbatical at Harvard University working with renowned physicist Eric Mazur.
Notable alumnus: Stephen Poloz recently replaced Mark Carney as Governor of the Bank of Canada.
Students say: “The student government at Queen’s gives you many options to get involved. It’s not very often you hear that a 21-year-old is the head manager of a pub that brings in over $1.5-million a year.”
– Sarah Kucharczuk, fourth-year religious studies
Pro: Better performance on NSSE than York University and the University of Toronto
Con: Polytechnic roots lessen academic prestige
If you prefer the idea of scoring a corporate internship to reading Camus under a tree, Ryerson might be for you. Its history as a polytechnic institution lives on in its career-focused programs and close collaboration with industry. The university is home to the largest undergraduate business school in English Canada, and the Digital Media Zone, an incubator for entrepreneurial students, has created 800 jobs since opening in 2010. Ryerson’s journalism school is also top notch. Campus benefits from the energy of its location in the heart of downtown, but students complain it lacks its own distinct community feel.
Hotshot prof: Lynn Lavallée, social work professor, developed an arts-based research method, built on teachings of the Anishinaabek peoples, to study diabetes among urban aboriginal people living in the Greater Toronto Area.