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Quest dominates university rankings

School ranks higher than any other Canadian University in national student survey

Quest University has joined the top ranked post-secondary institutions in the country -at least according to the 2009 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Based on Quest University's undergraduate students' results, those enrolled receive a more challenging and enriching experience than students at all the other Canadian universities.

"We're pretty excited - our results are above every other university in every one of the categories," said Quest University Canada president David Helfand.

"The NSSE results show that Quest students are engaged in the kind of genuine learning our new educational paradigm was designed to achieve."

NSSE's goal is to provide prospective students with insight and provide ways for institutions to improve. It asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities to reflect on the time they devote to various learning activities.

Questions are folded into five categories: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experience and supportive campus environment.

Mount Allison University has topped both Maclean's and Globe and Mail university ranking surveys for the past few years, with a number of small liberal arts universities on the East Coast of Canada in close second, third and even first place.

Now these universities will have to re-label themselves.

"Mount Allison trumpets very loudly that they're number one in the NSSE survey so we're going to have to talk to them about that," said Helfand with a chuckle.

"Quest students rated their educational experiences far more positively than students at all 52 other Canadian universities."

Last year, Trinity Western University ranked number one for enriching educational experience, scoring 24.1. This year, Quest scored 40.1.

Last year, Huron College at Western University ranked number one for supportive campus environment, scoring 56. This year, Quest scored 80.7.

And last year, University of King's College ranked number one for first year student happiness with the educational experience - 65 per cent said it was excellent and 27 per cent said it was good. This year at Quest, 76 per cent said their first year experience was excellent and 23 per cent said it was good.

Past results have traditionally shown that smaller schools excelled through most categories. That seems to stand true for Quest, which has 220 students this school year.

Last year, Mount Allison had 2,400 students, University of King's College had 1,150 students, Acadia University had 3,300 students, Trinity Western had 4,000 students and Royal Roads University had 2,000 students.

Helfand said he wants Quest to grow but it can only accommodate approximately 800 students and the class sizes will always stay small and intimate.

"The magic thing is we poured it into the concrete, there is no classroom that has more than 21 chairs in it."

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