Is it 2009 already? A look back at what we at Maclean’s OnCampus were up to in 2008

Time to restart this blog. Finally. You get busy with one project, and then another…. and before you know it, your blog’s last time stamp is from last summer.

So what have we been up to here at the Maclean’s higher education workshop? Over the past year, we:

* Launched a new website (that would be this one).

* Held our first annual student recruitment fair, the Maclean’s OnCampus Virtual Fair. (It’s still available on demand until the end of this month), and thousands registered to take part.

* Published our largest-ever edition of the Maclean’s University Rankings issue. (The issue is still on newsstands until the end of the month; online, you can get some of the rankings data here.)

* Put out our third annual University Student issue, containing student survey results from most of Canada’s universities. (Check out those results here). In 2008, we also finally started to expand our coverage of that other half of the Canadian higher education landscape—colleges—giving them a growing section on the website, featuring student survey results from more than 150,000 college students and grads in Ontario and B.C.

* Introduced new sections to the website, such as Student Finance.

* Looking for money for school? We launched a growing database of university and college awards, bursaries and scholarships. The Scholarship Finder search engine contains several thousand awards—and we’re just days away from pushing the button on a dramatic expansion of the database.

* Published our second annual professional schools issue, including our exclusive ranking of Canada’s law schools.

* And published our 13th annual edition of the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. (which you can buy on newsstand, or online here.). Since it’s inception, the Guide has sold over 350,000 copies.

Other editorial highlights include:

* Joey Coleman’s fine coverage of the York strike.

* The disclosure of university presidents’ contracts, including some juicy benefits for departing chief execs. (Notably the outgoing president of McMaster and his mysterious 14-year, $99,999 per year golden handshake—$1 less than the amount that must be disclosed under Ontario public sector compensation rules. Big tip of the hat to the Hamilton Spectator for spending months pursuing McMaster and this story through access to information law.)

* The Shinerama debacle at Carleton.

What’s coming for 2009? That’s my next post…..