About Top Ten
Our team of researchers scours thousands of news sources every day—college and university media releases, wire services, government announcements, new statistics and research reports, national and international media, blogs, and more—and hand picks the ten most relevant, interesting, and important stories affecting university and college professionals in public affairs, recruitment, marketing, and advancement.
You'll receive a single email first thing each weekday morning, containing bite-sized digests of the top ten stories, with links to original sources. Our goal is to keep you abreast of the news that affects postsecondary education in Canada.
The Academica Top Ten reflects our company philosophies: we do our best to keep it intelligent and informative, accurate, interesting, and useful to our own consultants and our clients. We attempt to concentrate on major news of national interest affecting college and university recruitment, advancement, reputation, or student experience. Because we confine our stories to just 10 per day, busy news days may force us to leave out stories that would otherwise be included. We make every effort to fit them in later in the week if possible. We also try to make the Top Ten respresentative of the diversity in Canadian PSE, working to include stories from different provinces and territories, institution types, and institution sizes (among other factors).
We frequently cover editorials relating to postsecondary education. For an editorial to be considered, however, we require that it use respectful language and that it not use a tone intended to explicitly belittle specific individuals or groups and their points of view.
It is important to note that the Academica Top Ten is a news aggregation service and not a source of independent journalism. As such, we are only responsible for accurately reporting what other sources are already reporting. We will often weight stories more heavily if they have been covered by a major news source as opposed to only appearing in an institution's press release or campus newspaper. If you believe that we have misrepresented the message of an article or other source we have covered, please let us know and we will review our coverage to see if it warrants a correction. If you are disputing the accuracy of the original source we are covering, you will need to contact that source about your concerns. If you or your institution publishes an official response to one of our sources, we will likely print your response as a Postscript at the bottom of our Top Ten. We ask, however, that you ensure that your response includes an online link to an official statement.
What We Cover
We pay particular attention to statistics and research reports, whatever their source. We pay attention to ground-breaking recruitment tactics, and to "first-in-Canada" academic programs or facilities. Donations, new capital projects, or facilities at Canadian institutions must generally be more than $1 million to be considered national news, but donations that result in the renaming of institutions or professional faculties are also covered. Competitive rankings that pertain to more than one Canadian institution will usually appear in the Top Ten.
Below are other areas and themes we cover in the Top Ten:
- Aboriginal education
- Application/Enrolment/Graduation Trends
- Financial Issues
- Fundraising Campaigns
- Gender Issues
- Government Funding
- Government Higher Education Policy
- International Education
- Lawsuits/Legal Cases
- New Designation
- Online/Open Education
- Program/Department Cuts
- Social Media
- Skills/Labour Shortages
- Student Services/Engagement
What We Ignore
Academica's Top Ten ignores news that is not of national interest, such as most campus events, student competitions, student/faculty/staff/alumni awards and accolades, student fundraisers, contests, speakers, scholarships, commencements, athletics, and volunteerism. We do not cover institutional honours such as "best employer" awards or similar designations. We also ignore news that is primarily of academic (not advancement) interest, such as academic studies, publications, fellowships, or research findings, unless they generate a media frenzy that affects institutional reputation (such as cold fusion or the discovery of the holy grail). We ignore international news that is not relevant in some way to Canadian higher education recruitment or advancement.
Generally, we strive to avoid repeating stories unless something truly significant makes it news again. That can mean that the successful resolution to a strike doesn't actually get coverage, even though the strike did. We also avoid political name-dropping and self-serving announcements by governments that serve political purposes.
Generally, we order the Top Ten stories from most important to least important each day. We tend to cover news about Canadian institutions, then marketing and recruitment strategies and tactics, retention and pedagogical innovation, enrolment and demographic news, tuition and policy news, interesting stories about youth culture, and finally a few highlights from American or international sources.
Academica Group's editorial team monitors newswires, regional national and international news media, education blogs, institutional media releases, campus newspapers, and student newspapers. Generally, we try to find reliable sources to corroborate stories in student media or online blog postings, particularly where stories appear sensational or libellous, but Academica Group assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of stories written by other journalists. We attempt to provide balanced coverage, when stories involve multiple institutions, or when there are two sides to a political or labour relations story. We make every effort to attribute quotes accurately, and include links to source stories. (Items without a webpage we can use as reference are sometimes not included in the Top Ten.)
The Academica Top Ten includes about 25 links each day to a wide variety of sources, many of them blogs, professional media outlets, institutional media releases, and YouTube videos. Over the past 8 years that’s about 50,000 links we’ve published! Our editorial team is kept busy full-time keeping abreast of current news, and unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to redirect or delete links to sources that have moved or removed their pages, or put them behind a paywall for subscribers only. The older the stories in our Archive, the more likely that some or all of the links will have expired — and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, but this situation is beyond our control.
You may even notice that links to back issues of the Top Ten in our Archive sometimes result in an error message. The items are still here, but since our website was redeveloped in late 2013, some URLs have been moved. (Sorry, we’re working on it.) In the meantime, the workaround is to search for the title or a key word in the Archive, and you will find the item.
Our Style Guide
Because it's firmly engrained in our chief editor's academic training, we generally follow the punctuation and reference style of the Modern Languages Association (MLA). We tend to avoid unfamiliar abbreviations, although we find it invaluable to use "PSE" to abbreviate "Post-Secondary Education."
Every institution has its own preference for abbreviating its own name, but we find abbreviations invaluable to keep the Top Ten readable. We have recently taken to using institutional web domains as the accepted short form, thus "uToronto," "UBC," "uAlberta," and "MUN," for example.
In order to keep the Top Ten in the briefest format possible, we use numerals instead of writing out words representing numbers, and symbols rather than words (For example, we use % instead of writing out "per cent").
Canadian colleges, universities, and education-related agencies are encouraged to include the Academica Top Ten on their media distribution lists. Please email us at today [at] academica.ca.
Feedback is Welcome
The Academica Top Ten is, among other things, intended to foster dialogue in the Canadian PSE community. We encourage feedback to our stories, and will respond personally if you email us at today [at] academica.ca.