Bigger isn’t better. Students give top marks to TWU in Maclean’s 2009 survey.

TWU receives top marks in Maclean's 2009 University Student Issue.

Langley, BC-Canada's Maclean's recently published the 2009 University Student Issue. Inside the current affairs magazine are the results of a national and international survey asking university students to give their overall opinion of the institution they are currently enrolled in. Approximately 90,000 students completed the survey and now it is up to the universities to respond.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a student survey that compares hundreds of universities in both the US and Canada in five key areas: Level of academic challenge faced by students; Amount of active and collaborative learning; Quality of student-faculty interaction; Availability of enriching educational experiences, and Supportiveness of the campus environment.

Trinity Western University's rankings were consistently in the top five, beating out 53 other schools for the top spot in the category of "Enriching Educational Experience."

Maclean's reports that, "smaller universities significantly out-perform larger universities. In 2008, only three of Canada's large research-intensive universities - Queen's, McGill and McMaster - appeared among the top 10 in enriching educational experience."

TWU's average class size of 17 students, student to faculty ratio of 16:1, vibrantstudent life community, and more than 25% of students living on campus, all contribute to its high ranking in the category of "enriching educational experience."

This is the first time that Maclean's has included TWU in a university ranking survey. But the Globe and Mail post-secondary rankings have included TWU for the last three years. Since 2006, TWU has been awarded an A+ in "Overall Quality of Education" in the newspaper's yearly University Report Card. Trinity Western also achieved some of the highest grades in the country in faculty interaction, quality of teaching, class size, overall atmosphere and student satisfaction.

TWU Assistant Professor of Philosophy Myron A. Penner says, "Regardless of class size, I think a more important factor in fostering an enriching educational experience are well-qualified and fully engaged academics in their respective guilds who are both committed to, and genuinely interested in, student success and well-being. It's no surprise that TWU does well on these student satisfaction surveys because our students sense that their professors are knowledgeable, engaged academics who take an active interest in their development."

While the strategic directions of the University are to grow TWU to 6000 students the goal is to preserve the essence of the university's small community and faculty to student ratio .

22-year-old Lindsay Jezierski, a 3rd year nursing major and President of the Social-Justice Club has experienced first-hand the benefits of the small campus environment, the biggest of which are the many opportunities outside of the classroom. "There's amazing communities as far as activities go, people are really intentional about creating friendships, and there are a lot of extra-curricular opportunities. A lot of the students and faculty here have a lot of unique connections to a lot of organizations that students are interested in pursuing as a career. Not only are we getting the theory in the classroom, but we're already making connections for what to do with our future."

More information on the National Survey of Student Engagement as written in Macleans can be found at

Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C., is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers 41undergraduate majors, ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 17 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology, linguistics, and leadership, and interdisciplinary degrees in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Dead Sea Scroll Studies, Developmental Genetics and Disease, and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.


Last Updated: 2009-03-02
Author: Erin Mussolum