The Globe and Mail’s Canadian University Report’s profiles of more than 60 universities across the country give snapshots on many factors, from educational experience to the feel of the campus.
University Of Regina
Tuition: $7,336 (science)
The University of Regina hit record enrollment levels in 2015, something the university credits to its efforts to attract and support indigenous and international students.
Located on a large piece of land south of the city core, the University of Regina shares a campus with three smaller colleges: Campion College, Luther College and the First Nations University of Canada.
Students at these three schools still receive U of R credits, but are offered a more intimate and specialized learning experience.
New students can join something called the UR Guarantee Program, aimed at giving them the employment skills they will need in the future. Provided they complete the program – which includes career counselling and workshops on résumé writing and interview skills – students are offered a year of undergraduate classes free of charge if they don’t find a job within six months of graduating.
Students here carry less debt, on average, than those at the province’s competing school, the University of Saskatchewan.
University Of Saskatchewan
Located in the city of Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan takes up 755 hectares of land on the eastern bank of the South Saskatchewan River. This midsized university offers plenty of undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs across the arts and sciences.
The University of Saskatchewan is the hub of a new research initiative, Designing Crops for Global Food Security, which is focused on rapidly developing and testing new strains of crop varieties that can better withstand the changing conditions of a warming planet. University researchers have been awarded $37.2-million over seven years.
Stephanie Ortynsky, a PhD student of vaccinology and immunotherapeutics, was one of 12 people chosen to participate in the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada International Youth Fellowship Program. She will be working for eight months as a monitoring and evaluation fellow with Aga Khan Health Services in Tajikistan.
Tuition is higher here compared to most other Prairie universities, but it spends more, per student, on library services than any other university in the region.
Brandon (main), Winnipeg, Ashern and Portage la Prairie
Tuition: $4,493 (science)
Manitoba’s Brandon University offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and preprofessional certificate programs. To combine theory and practice, students in certain programs – including business administration, digital media and design, geography and environmental science – can complete two years of their degree at nearby Assiniboine Community College before transferring to BU for third and four year.
Brandon prides itself on having instituted one of the first native studies programs in Canada, and it has maintained a focus on indigenous issues. Yvonne Boyer, a Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Health and Wellness, is establishing a research centre to study the legal case for treaty rights to health care.
This spring, master’s student Ayodeji Osiname received the Margaret Haughey Award for his outstanding thesis in the area of education and leadership.
Mr. Osiname, who grew up in Nigeria and will begin his PhD at Brandon in the fall, studied how school principals in southwestern Manitoba work to create inclusive learning environments.
University Of Manitoba
With the average high-school entrance grade sitting at 86 per cent, the University of Manitoba draws an academic crowd. Its alumni and recent graduates include 98 Rhodes Scholarship winners.
The university offers students the choice of more than 100 programs, most with the opportunity to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees. Eighty-five per cent of students graduate within six years, a rate higher than that of other universities in the province.
U of M boasts a strong focus on research. Søren Rysgaard, U of M’s Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Arctic Geomicrobiology and Climate Change, is studying the impact of climate change on Arctic ice. Dr. Rysgaard leads more than 100 researchers and graduate students in studying the causes and effects of climate change.
University Of Winnipeg
The student body of the University of Winnipeg, located in Winnipeg’s urban centre, is representative of the demographics of the area: approximately 12 per cent of UWinnipeg students identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit.
The university prides itself on removing educational barriers for these students. Past university president Lloyd Axworthy created the Opportunity Fund, a scholarship to support indigenous students through academic programming, an Indigenous Advisory Circle, a new daycare and affordable housing and opportunities for indigenous junior and high-school students.
Last year, the board of governors approved a mandatory indigenous course requirement for all students, making it the first university in Canada to do so.
This is one of the most affordable options in terms of tuition among the Prairie universities, and average student debt at graduation is the lowest.
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