University of Alberta's executive education program rises in world ranking

Professional development programs for business leaders make strong gains thanks to focus on client relationships, continuous improvement.

The University of Alberta has surged up the ranks of the world's top executive education programs.

In the open-enrolment category of the Financial Times ranking of professional development programs for business leaders, the Alberta School of Business Executive Education jumped five spots to 55th in the world. The program was also listed among the top providers of customized executive education programs, bumping up to fourth in Canada and 72nd worldwide.

Heather Christensen, associate dean of Executive Education, said some of the improvement stems from hard work trying to improve the quality and experience of faculty, the learning rigour and program delivery. She said administrators "regularly connect with stakeholders in the community to learn how we can improve the quality of our programs, and we focus on continuous innovation of our programs to ensure we stay current.

"We focus on building and maintaining very strong relationships with our clients so that we truly understand their challenges and needs in order to create the program that will take them to the next level," she said.

The Alberta School of Business business leader development program specializes in certificate programs and short courses designed to support individual and organizational growth in all areas of executive development, including leadership, governance, finance and management. Executive Education offers more than 75 programs and forums per year and operates out of both Edmonton and Calgary.

The annual rankings are tabulated using results from a client survey and data from individual schools.

IMD, out of Switzerland and Singapore, topped the open-enrolment category, while the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management was the top Canadian school. IESE Business School based in Spain sits atop the customized rank, and Western University Ivey was ranked first in Canada.

The improvements to the executive education ranking mirror a recent trend for U of A programs in global rankings.

Gains in sports-related subjects (7) and mining engineering (14) bolstered a strong showing by the university in the 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject.

Nursing, which has been an anchor for the U of A's subject rankings surge since QS started slicing up its overall rankings three years ago, landed in the top 20 again, grabbing 18th place, while Education, a top 50 mainstay, moved up eight spots to 41st. Pharmacy and pharmacology, and archeology, both landed in 47th-place spots.

The new rankings come on the heels of Times Higher Education's subject rankings, which saw the U of A excel in education (60); clinical, pre-clinical and health (77); law (83) and psychology (99).

To start the academic year, the U of A had a top five showing in the Maclean's University Rankings-the U of A's 12th such showing in a row-as well as a strong performance in the 2018 QS Graduate Employability Ranking, with the employment rate of U of A graduates ranking first in Canada and 52nd in the world.

Earlier in the year, the university jumped four spots to 90th in the 2018 QS World University Rankings.

Other recent rankings of note include one released by the Center for World University Rankings, which listed the U of A among the world's best in five subject areas, including sixth in transplantation; fifth in each of forestry, geology and petroleum engineering; and third in paleontology.

Times Higher Education also has the U of A ranked as the world's 31st most international university, ahead of the University of Toronto (32), Harvard (33), Stanford (36) and Princeton (37).