Canadian law schools fared well in an annual social responsibility survey despite a slight decline in their overall scores this year.
In its sixth annual sustainability ranking, Corporate Knights magazine gave law schools an average grade of 58.89 per cent, well above other programs surveyed, including business, public policy, engineering, teacher education, and industrial design. Scores for those areas ranged from 27 to 48 per cent, according to the publication.
“I am always impressed with how dedicated law schools are to sustainability-related issues,” said Monika Warzecha, the primary researcher for the Knight Schools survey. “The variety of courses, specializations, and guest speakers is truly impressive.”
Nevertheless, the overall grade for law schools fell from 59.12 per cent the year before.
Heading up the list of do-gooders was the University of Toronto once again. Osgoode Hall Law School came in second, while the University of Ottawa’s common law section moved up two spots to take third place.
The survey ranks schools using a broad definition of sustainability including issues such as social justice, human rights, professional ethics, cultural diversity, climate change, and conservation.
Key for law schools, of course, is integrating those concerns into the curriculum. The University of Toronto, for example, won kudos in the survey for its health equity and law clinic, a clinical legal education course that examines legal frameworks in order to redress inequity in reproductive and sexual health laws.
The school that improved the most in the rankings, however, was the Université du Québec à Montréal, which went from 19th place last year to eighth in 2009.
UQAM showed particular progress in the student initiatives section, according to the survey. Activities in that area included a colloquium on globalization and diversity as well as a panel discussion on racial profiling and ethnic representation.