There was great celebration at College of the Rockies’ campus in Cranbrook on Thursday as president Nick Rubidge announced the institution’s top placing in an international survey.
A study conducted last fall by the International Graduate Insight Group called the International Student Barometer found that the College of the Rockies is the best institution for international students in Canada, and the second best in the world.
“This is an absolutely amazing achievement,” said Dr. Rubidge. “There are people walking around here today like dogs with two tails.”
Patricia Bowron, the college’s executive director of international affairs and dean of instruction, said the results are a great honour.
“It was great to be able to see how our results fared against some of the most well-regarded post-secondary institutions in Canada and abroad. We are really pleased that our students regard us so positively,” said Bowron.
The Student Barometer is the world’s largest survey of student satisfaction. A total of 161,781 international students took the survey; 16,828 from Canada. There were 193 institutions involved in the study, 25 from Canada. In Canada, the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Toronto all took part.
At the College of the Rockies, 105 of 140 international students took the survey, giving a 75 per cent response rate, the highest in the world.
“We said to the students that it’s really important that we get their feedback – the good, the bad and the ugly. The high response simply showed that they are committed to the learning experience,” said Bowron.
The survey gave the college a ranking in several different aspects of the international students’ experience. College of the Rockies is number one in Canada and number one in the world in formal welcome and meeting staff, program organization and content, and finance and registration. It’s number one in Canada and number two in the world in student advisory and career advice, IT support, accommodation, and international office. It’s number one in Canada and number three in the world for catering, and quality lectures and good teachers.
“This is a community effort. We can’t hit these sorts of numbers without the support and involvement of every aspect of the institution and the community at large,” said Dr. Rubidge.
“We can’t say it was just one area. Every part of the community contributed to it. The whole community comes out tops. It’s fabulous.”
Being a small college helps College of the Rockies provide better service for international students, he went on.
“We always talk about the benefits of being a small institution and how we can provide more personalized service.”
Donna Kraus-Hagerman, executive director of college relations and marketing, said the survey didn’t reach to domestic students.
“I believe our domestic students feel this way as well. I would assume it speaks to the whole student body,” she said.
Bowron said the college now hopes to work on the categories where it wasn’t at the top in the world.
“The whole idea of collecting this data is to help us grow and learn. While this is a celebration, it’s important that we get to work to dig into the data and see what areas we need to grow and learn in,” she said.
Between May 2012 and March 2013, 186 international students were educated at College of the Rockies, about six per cent of the student body. Those students came from more than 30 different countries, including China, Japan, India, Kenya, Ecuador and Taiwan.