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Discussion: Mac versus Waterloo

in: Hammer; Hammer > 2016-10-13

Oct 14, 2016 3:22 PM # 
Might find this interesting:
Oct 14, 2016 4:28 PM # 
False! MAC is known internationally for PBL and it is embedded in lots of programs and faculties here. that's how i learned and how i teach. Both MAC and Waterloo rank high on innovation and reputation every year. MAC was slow off the mark on industrial spin off compared to Waterloo though. Both are great schools but only one has decent XC and football teams. ;-)
Oct 14, 2016 4:52 PM # 
We're too busy innovating to do sports.
Oct 14, 2016 5:23 PM # 
I would say MAC is known within academic circles for PBL, but it certainly has not developed any sort of brand around that, unlike Waterloo.

Waterloo actually has a really good reputation for XC. And a super fun Nordic team.

Ah yes, "innovation", banned in some government circles unless it is clearly defined.
Oct 14, 2016 6:12 PM # 
My wife Jenn had PBL class every week for two years at MAC around the turn of the century. She even has a tshirt that says "critically appraise THIS" with an arrow pointing downward on the back.
Oct 14, 2016 7:50 PM # 
Developed a brand? Hard to say but the PBL approach is often linked to MAC and is one of the reasons why MAC is always among the top 5 reputation wise within Canada. Latest
reputation survey (in order) was: UofT, UBC, McGill, Waterloo, McMaster. The top three are the top schools in each of Canada's largest cities so Waterloo and MAC have definitely created their "brands" somehow to be among the best for smaller cities and schools. MAC has always been viewed the most or among the most research intensive schools
in the country. I just think that PBL is
used a lot more extensively than the writer states.

Anyway I've always said you can't go wrong with any of those top five schools. Perhaps in this era of social media it is the facebook rankings/reviews that are critical. FB review ratings are 4.5/5 for MAC and 4.4/5 for Waterloo. ;-)
Oct 14, 2016 11:09 PM # 
The author is probably the top consultant on advanced education institutions in Canada. Or at least the most well known.
Oct 14, 2016 11:41 PM # 
Two of my former PhD students are profs at Waterloo and three of my other PhD students have taught courses at Waterloo. I still talk to them. ;-)

We still need to have that MAC alumni vs Waterloo alumni adventure race challenge.

I do like the comment about it being easier to start a new institution than to change an existing one. I tried to get my colleagues to thinking of moving towards rebranding and making hires in an emerging new field in env. sci. Nothing happened because people were successful on their own.

A few years later Waterloo advertised for a research chair in that same field. They approached me but it wasn't the right time. They ended up hiring a person that actually doesn't do any research in that new field but that didn't stop them from branding that person as the leader of the field. Smart marketing? cool branding? or a big lie?
Oct 18, 2016 8:04 PM # 
In Sweden PBL has been used extensively on all levels of the school system (from Kindergarten and up). Some people even say that's one of the main reasons why we are falling further and further behind Canada in international rankings such as PISA...
Oct 18, 2016 10:00 PM # 
...further behind Canada

And unfortunately also everyone else...
Oct 18, 2016 11:16 PM # 
Sweden behind Canada? I thought that was only in hockey and the odd WOC men's relay.

But now it makes more sense. No wonder when Sudden and I crossed the border in the States a few years ago he had to solve a math problem to get in.

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