The advantages of northern universities

February 14, 2012

As Canada's big southern universities show their age, their northern counterparts have arrived, reports Maclean's. "A lot of universities are crowded and suffering from huge deferred maintenance," says Academica Group's Ken Steele. "They have a lot of older infrastructure, and students are noticing." Nipissing University president Lesley Lovett-Doust says the institution's relative youth has allowed it to leapfrog over its counterparts. "The old schools are retrofitting old libraries, sending tonnes of books into storage to try to open up their libraries for collaboration,” she says. “We skipped that phase." Philanthropists now see these northern institutions as a good bet. Nipissing received a $15-million gift in 2010, and Laurentian recently attracted a $10-million donation for its engineering school. "There aren't a lot of $10-million-plus donations out there," Steele says. "Ten million dollars added to a smaller institution makes a bigger difference than at a larger institution." New facilities, in turn, attract new researchers. The University of Northern British Columbia ranked first in total research dollars among primarily undergraduate institutions in the 2011 Maclean's rankings. "The upstarts now have the advantage," Steele says. Maclean's OnCampus