The Ring

Around the ring

2016 QS subject rankings show UVic academic leadership spans disciplines

UVic’s global leadership in five key academic fields, along with its comprehensive span of world-class programs across the university, were highlighted with the release of the 2016 QS World University Rankings by Subject on March 22. 

The five fields where UVic is ranked in the world’s top 200 are:

  • Earth and marine sciences
  • English language and literature
  • Geography
  • Law
  • Philosophy  

Of those, earth and marine sciences and English language and literature were in the top 150. In addition, UVic programs in computer science, education, electrical engineering, environmental sciences, mathematics, and physics and astronomy placed in the top 300 for global subject leadership.

The QS rankings use a mix of academic and employer reputation surveys, a joint impact and productivity indicator (h-index) and citations to measure leadership in each field.

UVic’s performance across the disciplines continues to be very strong. QS scored the university for world-class performance in 35 of the 42 fields it considers. (Most of the rest—including dentistry, pharmacology and veterinary sciences—are fields in which UVic doesn’t have established programs.)

Rankings are regularly used by undergraduate and postgraduate students to help select degree courses, by academics to inform career decisions, by research teams to identify new collaborative partners and by university managers to benchmark their performance and set strategic priorities.

New name for women’s studies department

The UVic women’s studies department has changed its name to the Department of Gender Studies.

Today is International Women’s Day. “This year’s campaign theme is global gender parity with a focus on such areas as the workplace and leadership,” says Annalee Lepp, chair of the newly named Department of Gender Studies at UVic. “But it is also critically important to consider what other pressing local and global gender-based social justice issues require serious attention.”

The new name better reflects the program’s field of study which “focuses on how gender, in relation to other categories of difference (race, ethnicity, class, sexual identity, ability, age and citizenship, etc.), shapes people’s lives, knowledge, possibilities and resistances,” adds Lepp.

“The department’s name change is the culmination of our ongoing work to push the boundaries of the already dynamic discipline of women’s and gender studies. At UVic, key areas of interdisciplinary focus include Indigenous gender politics and resurgence, human rights and development, health and medicalization, anti-racism and nationalism, war and militarism, girlhood studies, cultural and media production, as well as masculinities, queer, and trans studies."

“This move is in line with the growing number of women’s studies programs across North America that, in the past seven or so years, have undergone program name changes.”

Today is also perfect timing for the Ideafest debate, “Is feminism finished?” from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in room A110 of the David Turpin Building.

2016 Provost's Engaged Scholar Awards

On March 10, celebrate the work of UVic faculty members who have integrated scholarship, teaching and real-life community-engagement to nurture positive societal change.

When: Thursday, March 10 from 9:00–10:30 a.m.
Where: University Club, Salal Room, University of Victoria

At this inspiring event you'll hear from the 2015 UVic Engaged Scholars, Dr. Anne Marshall (Director of UVic's Centre for Youth and Society) and Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater (Professor, UVic Psychology), who will each share their experiences in community-engaged research. The morning will wrap up with the presentation of the 2016 award winners by Dr. Valerie Kuehne, UVic Vice-President Academic and Provost.

There will be a tea and coffee reception immediately following the presentations.

Please RSVP by Tuesday, March 8, 2016 to Amy Machin at

President and his family fund new graduate fellowship

A new fellowship award is now available to graduate students, thanks to the leadership and personal generosity of UVic President Jamie Cassels and his family.

The Cassels-Shaw Graduate Fellowship was recently approved by the University Senate and the Board of Governors.

The new fellowship (named jointly for Cassels and his wife, Erin Shaw) will be awarded to new and continuing master's or doctoral students selected on academic merit and demonstrated financial need. All departments will be invited to nominate one student from their graduate ranks each year, with the first recipients to be named this coming fall.

“On behalf of the recipients this year and all the years to come, I would like to express our appreciation to Professor Cassels and his family for this extraordinary endowment,” says Dr. David Capson, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. “We are incredibly grateful to Jamie for his integrity, generosity and personal commitment to UVic’s graduate programs. This fellowship establishes a legacy that will benefit our graduate students for many years to come.”

In 2014, in response to fiscal challenges facing UVic, Cassels requested his employment contract be amended to reduce the compensation he would otherwise receive during his five-year tenure as president.  Through a combination of salary freezes, reduced increases and cuts to his administrative leave entitlement, Cassels has arranged to forego a total of $330,000 in earnings, and requested that the Board of Governors redirect those funds: a third each to CARSA, general revenue, and graduate student scholarships. Subsequently, he and his family made contributions to the fellowship.

For more information on the Cassels-Shaw Graduate Fellowship and other graduate student awards, visit

Beyond the ring

Ontario will cover college tuition for low-income students

Changes in student aid unveiled by the Ontario provincial government last week are “the most radical shift in decades in how one province delivers loans and grants to college and university students” according to The Globe and Mail. Suggesting that the overall costs would remain roughly the same, and the shift simplifies and consolidates several loan and grant programs into one program, the government predicted that most college students whose family income is less than $50,000 a year will receive grants large enough to cover their whole tuition. Grants for university students, who pay higher tuition, may not offset the entire amount.

Two more U-Windsor residence halls to be demolished

The mounting costs of deferred maintenance are being cited for the decision to demolish two more residence halls at the University of Windsor. The university announced that Clark I and II residence buildings, built during the 1980s, are now slated to be taken down, following the October 2015 demolition of Electa Hall. The university said “the age of the buildings, the extensive nature of renovations needed, and the shifting demographics of students seeking residence accommodation” were driving forces behind the decision. 

UK and US lead international student satisfaction, but Canadian enrolment is rising faster

A December 2015 report commissioned by the UK agency responsible for higher education shows that Canadian universities grew their international student cohorts at a faster pace than the UK, US, Australia, Germany or New Zealand from 2007-2014. Canada’s 70 per cent growth rate led the US (52 per cent) and the UK (46 per cent) even though satisfaction was higher among those educated in the UK and US. Canada may be on the right path, however, with a steady rise in international student satisfaction since 2000. 

BC degrees drive employment outcomes

There are no guarantees in an uncertain economy but the surest path to career success begins with a university education, according to a December study of student outcomes released by the Research Universities’ Council of BC. The report underlines the importance of a university degree in today’s economy, showing that graduates get the jobs they want, in the regions where they want to work, and are paid competitive salaries that escalate over the course of their careers.

Key findings include:

  • Two years after graduating, the median salary for the Class of 2012—the most recent surveyed—was $50,000 per year, well above the average for other young people entering the workforce.
  • 92 per cent of university graduates are satisfied or very satisfied with their education and 93 per cent give top marks to the quality of instruction they received.
  • A significant majority of graduates from BC’s regional research universities choose to stay in the communities where they were educated.

This report represents five years of data collected by BC Stats.