Hotshot prof: 3M Teaching Fellowship winner Mike Atkinson uses music, film and technology to engage large-scale undergraduate classes.
Notable alumnus: Margaret Chan, World Health Organization director-general, is 33rd on Forbes’s 2013 list of the world’s most powerful women.
Students say: “There are a lot of students who attend only for its reputation as being a party school. However, the engaging profs do a wonderful job with a well-structured curriculum.”
– Lizzy Sutherland, second-year geography
Wilfrid Laurier University
Strong school spirit
Pro: Strong school spirit
Con: Ugly, claustrophobic campus
With a growth spurt that doubled the student body in the last five years, Laurier can no longer be described as Waterloo’s little brother. Still, the university maintains its small-school feel, especially on the compact main campus that is jammed into a single city block. (Good luck avoiding that person you regrettably hooked up with on Friday night.) Laurier’s business school features a strong accounting department and a huge co-op program. Students who want in on the exciting technology research scene in the city of Waterloo are able to pursue bachelor degrees in both business admin and computer science simultaneously.
Hotshot prof: Stephen MacNeil, an organic chemistry prof, was named one of Ontario’s best university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.
Notable alumnus: Shadrach Kabango, better known as Shad, won the 2011 Juno Award for rap recording of the year.
Students say: “More work can still be done to ensure capstone projects and thesis funding is available to all undergraduate students.”
– Stephen Franchetto, fouth-year business administration
University of Windsor
Awards: Not available
Pro: Mechanical engineering program offers a variety of options such as aerospace
Con: High unemployment in Windsor
The University of Windsor is experiencing a period of revitalization and growth, even as the city struggles to find its feet after the painful closing of automotive factories. For example, the new LEED Gold-certified Centre for Engineering Innovation brings engineering students, business students and local entrepreneurs together. (Costing $112-million, it was the largest capital investment in the university’s history.) The Lancers varsity athletics program is one of the finest in the country; the women’s basketball team has been the reigning national champions for the past three years.
Hotshot prof: Siyaram Pandey, biochemistry professor, is currently working on a formula made out of dandelion root that could help to kill cancer cells.
Notable alumnus: Mary Jo Haddad, president and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, was named as one of Canada’s most influential women by Women of Influence magazine in 2011.
Intellectual oasis in the suburbs
Pro: Students’ dedication to social justice
Con: Uninspiring setting
Getting to York from downtown Toronto involves a long commute through bleak suburbs, but once there students enjoy a vibrant, politically-engaged culture thriving among otherwise spiritless architecture. Gargantuan York is noted for highly-rated programs in business, social work, fine arts, psychology and criminology, and the school recently broke ground on a new $85-million engineering building. While a number of high-profile assaults in recent years sparked concerns about student safety, York responded aggressively with security and surveillance upgrades including a mobile app that connects students directly to the security department.
Hotshot prof: Dawn Bazely, winner of York’s 2013 teaching award, spearheads research at the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability.
Notable alumnus: Janice Fukakusa, chief financial officer at Royal Bank of Canada, was inducted into Canada’s Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame in 2007.
Students say: “It’s because of my criminology classes that I am pursuing a master’s degree. That isn’t necessarily everyone’s experience – some people I know struggled with the huge class sizes.”
– Jessica Thyriar, fourth-year criminology
Editor's note: Lakehead’s Orillia campus is the first LEED certified campus in Canada, rather than LEED Platinum, as was said in a previous version of the article. As well, Lakehead has campuses in Orillia as well, not just Thunder Bay, as was said in a previous version of the article. This is a corrected version of the article.