Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX geology, computer science programs listed among the best in the country

May 24th, 2016

Two StFX academic departments are listed among the best in the country in a new Maclean’s magazine survey that for the first time has ranked programs in 10 subject areas.

Maclean’s says ‘The Top 20’ rankings comprise the magazine’s largest-ever reputational survey and hard data on Canadian universities. StFX made the list twice, for geology and computer science. 
The magazine surveyed more than 1,200 deans, chairs and professors at more than 80 schools and asked them to identify the schools they thought had the best programs and were doing the best research in their area of expertise.
On campus, faculty in both departments were gratified with the recognition of the strengths in their programs. 
“We provide courses that meet the needs of a broad range of students,” says Dr. Wendy MacCaull, chair of the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. 
Not only does the department offer all core courses recommended in the undergraduate curriculum of the Association for Computing Machinery, as well as specialty courses reflecting current ‘hot topics,’ it also offers a master’s program, an opportunity for undergraduate students to work with faculty in summer research projects, a co-op program option and a pre-education concentration for those interested in teaching. Almost every  student graduating with a degree in computer science goes on to graduate studies or a good job  in their chosen field, she says. “Computer science is a growing area with a lot of opportunity which reflects a variety of interests.”
“Faculty spend a lot of time with the students. They are well prepared when they finish their degrees,” adds computer science professor Dr. Iker Gondra. 
“The geological sciences do have a fantastic tradition of geology here at StFX. Virtually every one of our grads that we can count is employed in their field, and many have become industry leaders over the years,” says Earth Sciences Department chair Dr. Dave Risk.  
“There is a real longstanding commitment in the department to developing thinking students, and we have a great mix of instructional quality and research intensity,” he said, noting the high number of university-wide awards in both research and teaching categories.
Dr. Risk says students receive a real mentorship experience, and that along with course work, the department has a wonderful natural laboratory outside that they tap for many courses, as students study along the beach cliff faces, and in the hills around Arisaig, which hold a diversity of rocks and fossils in a small geographic area.  

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