University of Windsor tops Canada's Rising Star rankings

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell


The University of Windsor’s steady transformation of itself has earned it top spot on this year’s Huffington Post list of Canada’s Rising Stars.

The annual poll lists universities expected to grow in stature.

In compiling the list, the website considered quality of research, large capital investments in new infrastructure and the launch of new programs in high demand.

“It’s certainly the kind of report you like to see,” said university president Alan Wildeman, who tweeted out the good news Monday night.

“What’s wonderful is the number of other people who noticed and wrote me about the story. It’s nice to see the spirit of people who care so much about the university uplifted.”


Wildeman said the ranking is a recognition of the heavy slogging that’s been done at the university to upgrade infrastructure and programming over the years.

“We put a huge effort in for a number of years to significantly rebuild the campus,” Wildeman said.

“We’ve pedestrianized more of the campus, we created a downtown campus and we’ve developed research partnerships in our region. It’s a recognition of that huge effort.”

Wildeman added what’s good about the ranking is it confirms many of the university’s measurable strengths.

“We score well in many of the metrics of the Maclean’s annual rankings, but what drags us down is the very subjective reputation score included in the composite score,” Wildeman said.

“What the Huffington Post story says is with what the University of Windsor is doing — the rehabilitating of buildings, introducing new programming — this is a university to watch for in the future. That’s the type of story that builds the reputation considerably.

“It’ll be nice to bring that out for discussion at the appropriate occasion.”

In selecting Windsor as the brightest of the five rising stars, the Huffington Post cited the school’s new infrastructure.

In the past five years, the school has invested $333.2 million in new buildings and facilities.

Among the highlights are:

  • $112 million for an engineering building and its $30-million parking garage
  • $85.8 million for the Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre
  • $75 million invested in downtown for new facilities for social work, dramatic arts, music and creative arts
  • $30 million for a new Science Research and Innovation Centre
  • $8.4 million for the Welcome Centre and Joyce Centre for Entrepreneurship

Just recently added to that list is a planned $73-million expansion of the St. Denis Centre.

“The University of Windsor was at a point in its life cycle where it needed to make some important re-investment,” Wildeman said.

“Students come for a number of reasons — great programs, better support for faculty and staff and an environment and buildings that are supportive and inviting. Everything has to line up.”

Wildeman added the university has benefited from being able to hire a significant number of new and talented faculty in recent months. 

The Huffington Post article also lauded the school for its new programming, such as the extensive expansion of its masters degree offerings, and its growing endowment fund.

“We’ve been fortunate to receive some significant gifts,” Wildeman said. “The endowment fund is now over $100 million, which is very good for a university of this size.

“The earnings go to student aid and scholarships. That’s very important to us.”