University Rankings

I have had several productive visits to the Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University and to Mount Allison University in 2016 and 2017. The Maclean’s university rankings for 2018 were announced during my recent visit in October and I could fully appreciate why Dalhousie and Mount Alison were ranked so highly –

University Rankings 2018: Canada’s top Primarily Undergraduate schools


University Rankings 2018: Canada’s top Medical/Doctoral schools


By chance, also in October, the Times Higher Education announced their “Table of Tables” university rankings for 2018 and I could understand the prominence of St Andrews and Glasgow universities –


It was not surprising to see that Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine and Dundee’s School of Medicine did not appear prominently in these rankings. Drawing on my experiences in the past five years, it is my opinion that they have a lot to do to improve their reputation for education governance, student engagement/satisfaction, and social accountability.


I have some scepticism about university rankings but they seem to influence applications; both gross numbers and the quality of applicants – learners and faculty!


It seems reasonable to speculate about the university rankings and their relationship to the quality of the learning environments. I have identified my concerns about the learning environments in Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine in previous postings on this website –


Student Engagement: Oxymoron and Patronage


The Rise of Cosmopolitanism in the Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University?


The recent publicity about Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine gives me further cause for concern about the learning environments there –,-2016.aspx


I can only hope that the results of the unit assessment of the Faculty will lead to decisions that take a progressive route to improve the society and the learning environments for undergraduates and postgraduates.


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About Iain Robbe

I am a medical practitioner (MB, BS, 1980; MRCS, LRCP, 1980) registered with the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I have reactivated my licence to practise and I am providing telephone support to vulnerable elderly to assist them during the pandemic. I remain active as a Clinical Medical Educationist participating in a number of projects with the universities of St Mary’s and Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and Mount Allison in New Brunswick, inter alia, and separately with three of the veterinary schools in the UK. My focus is on teaching and research in professionalism, ethics, and communications, and particularly the influences of vernacular architecture on the creation of positive learning experiences in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. I have the degree of Master in Public Health from the University of London (1985) and the degree of Master in Medical Education with distinction from the University of Wales (2001). The guiding principles in my practices are based on andragogy and humanism, and the prime ethical principle of autonomy for the individual and in population health.

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