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Credit transfer councils in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Ontario have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will help reduce barriers for students wishing to transfer between Canadian colleges and universities. The agreement, signed by the AB Council on Admissions and Transfer (ACAT), the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT), the NB Council on Articulations and Transfer (NBCAT), and the ON Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT), calls on each organization to enhance information channels for students, help institutions build additional pathways, and engage in research that will lead to comprehensive, transparent pan-Canadian credit transfer and student mobility processes. The groups also agree in the MOU to take on a more pronounced leadership role in enhancing student mobility through outreach and engagement with a number of key organizations. ONCAT News Release

Credit transfer councils sign MOU to promote student mobility Top Ten 10/16/2014 - 03:30 10/16/2014 - 03:30

Yukon College has announced that it will begin offering its first made-in-Yukon degree and post-graduate certificate programs in 2017. The college currently offers 3 degree programs in collaboration with the University of Alberta and the University of Regina. The new degree program, a 3-year Bachelor of Policy Studies in Indigenous Governance, is designed “to foster executive leadership with respect to administrative, political and corporate management, and from an Indigenous perspective," said Director of First Nations Initiatives Tosh Southwick. The Yukon government has committed to help fund the new degree program and the new one-year post-graduate certificate in climate change and public policy. YK Minister of Education Elaine Taylor stated, “by enabling more Yukon students to remain at home and continue their education, and by creating niche programs that attract more students from around the world, these advancements will develop and retain knowledge in the North, as well as bring new dollars to the territory.” Yukon College News | CBC

Yukon College announces its first independent degree program Top Ten 10/16/2014 - 03:30 10/16/2014 - 03:30

UBC has received $3.8 M from the BC government to create the Survive and Thrive Applied Research (STAR) facility at its Okanagan campus. The facility will provide a space in which industry and university researchers will collaborate on new technologies for human protection, survivability, and performance in extreme or remote conditions. STAR will also provide practical training opportunities for students. “We’re working on compelling projects directly related to our primary research, and which also create new ideas for future research and real-world learning opportunities for students,“ said Paul von Donkelaar, Director of UBC’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences. Among its first projects will be the development of a new helmet to reduce the risk of concussion in sports. UBC has also contributed $4 M to help establish the facility. UBC News Release | Global News

UBC-O to establish Survive and Thrive Applied Research facility Top Ten 10/16/2014 - 03:30 10/16/2014 - 03:30

The federal government has pledged $20 M over 3 years to the University of Victoria’s Smart Ocean initiative in order to help build a “world-class tanker safety system.” The program will use oceanographic data collected at UVic to help prevent marine oil spills and enhance navigation safety. “The goal of the Smart Ocean Initiative is to help prevent marine accidents, predict and warn of natural hazards, and improve overall marine situational awareness near Port Metro Vancouver, Campbell River, Kitimat, the Douglas Channel, and Prince Rupert,” the government said in a news release. Kate Moran, President of Ocean Networks Canada, which runs the Smart Ocean initiative, said, “the contribution announced today by the government of Canada will enable Ocean Networks Canada to continue operations of its world-leading ocean observing infrastructure and to harness its science and research capacity for the benefit of Canadians through enhanced marine and public safety, and increased environmental monitoring.” Canada New Release | Times-Colonist

Ottawa pledges $20 M for tanker safety to UVic's Smart Ocean Program Top Ten 10/16/2014 - 03:30 10/16/2014 - 03:30

The University of Saskatchewan has announced it will build a new on-campus daycare centre to address demand. The new centre is expected to have room for 90 children and will be constructed as part of uSask’s College Quarter development. Earlier plans to develop a daycare at the site were put on hold in the spring while funding was secured. The University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU) began calling for increased daycare spots in 2010; at the time the waiting list was 400 names long. According to the StarPhoenix, the waiting list now has nearly 700 names on it. Current daycares on campus provide room for 110 children. uSask has secured all necessary funding for the new daycare, with the SK government providing nearly $1.4 M. The child-care expansion committee has also been given permission from the board to explore further long-term possibilities for childcare expansion, including renovations to the existing USSU Childcare Centre. The project will go out to tender next month, with the daycare tentatively slated to open by 2016. uSask News | StarPhoenix

Postscript: April 6, 2015

Construction has begun on the new on-campus child care centre at the University of Saskatchewan, and the builder estimates that the project will be more than $200,000 under budget. The new facility will have space for 90 children, bringing the total child care spots on campus to 200. The $4.5 M centre is funded by the university and the provincial education ministry, and will be a one-storey building designed around the belief of the “environment as the third teacher.” “Child care availability is an important consideration for recruiting and retaining students, staff and faculty,” said Patti McDougall, VP Teaching and Learning. “It is also a particularly important factor affecting the accessibility of postsecondary education for Aboriginal students who have a demonstrated need for child care.” uSask has not yet determined how the new spaces will be allocated, but 75% of total daycare spaces will be reserved for children of students, with the other 25% for children of employees. uSask News | StarPhoenix

uSask to build 90-seat on-campus daycare centre Top Ten 04/05/2015 - 09:41 10/16/2014 - 03:30

Carleton University has unveiled its new public awareness campaign, “Distinctly Carleton,” in celebration of its upcoming 75th anniversary. The multi-year campaign features portraits of prominent alumni, students, and donors which will be posted throughout campus, on billboards and street banners, and via social media, websites, and other advertising methods. “Carleton’s outstanding graduates inspire and impress through incredible careers and genuine commitment to community,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. Carleton has also launched a redesigned website, created to be more accessible and platform-responsive, to coincide with the new campaign. Carleton News Release

Carleton announces new awareness campaign and website Top Ten 10/16/2014 - 03:30 10/16/2014 - 03:30

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has released a new report entitled “A Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose: Getting Young Canadians from Education to Employment.” The report considers 3 factors that it says affect young Canadians' ability to join the labour market: labour market information, career decision-making, and work-integrated learning. The CCC calls on governments, education providers, and businesses to collaborate in order to mitigate skills mismatching and to help students transition from education to employment, and identifies the development of basic skills—including literacy, numeracy, technological literacy, and problem solving—as a priority issue. The report emphasizes the value of “soft” skills, including relationship-building skills and communication skills, as being particularly important for entry-level positions; moreover, it highlights the importance of strong labour market information to help guide career decision-making, curricula design, recruitment strategies, and education policy-making. The CCC also emphasizes the value of work-integrated learning, and suggests that it is underused by university students. CCC Blog | Full Report

Canadian Chamber of Commerce releases report on getting graduates into labour market Top Ten 10/16/2014 - 03:30 10/16/2014 - 03:30

Colleges and universities across the country are investing heavily in entrepreneurship initiatives, but some are asking whether launching incubators and accelerators is worthwhile. An article in the Globe and Mail questions whether PSE institutions have figured out how or whether entrepreneurship can be taught, and notes the number of successful entrepreneurs who launched their enterprises after dropping out of school. The article also suggests that success in entrepreneurship can be difficult to measure: even a failed venture can be valuable from an education standpoint. This can make it difficult for PSE institutions to settle on a model of entrepreneurship education that works. Some benefits, for instance, may not be realized until well after a student has graduated. Others have wondered if “entrepreneurship” has simply become a buzzword that is too broadly applied to be meaningful. Moreover, the appeal of entrepreneurship may not be as attractive to a younger generation of students that values work-life balance and named the federal government as its second-most-desirable employer. Globe and Mail

Debate over institutions' investment in entrepreneurship Top Ten 10/16/2014 - 03:30 10/16/2014 - 03:30

Simon Nelson, CEO of UK-based education platform FutureLearn, says that the disruptive potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has been “overhyped” and that they “will not transform education.” In a Times Higher Education podcast, Nelson distanced his Open University-owned company from the term MOOC, describing it instead as a “social learning platform,” and contended that “the early evangelists of MOOCs … overstated the case for what they could be, and there’s a degree to which they’re being hoist by their own petard.” But Nelson does not believe that MOOCs are likely to disappear anytime soon. While they are not as revolutionary as some have claimed, neither are MOOCs a short-term phenomenon. According to Nelson, it is the Internet that is transforming education, with MOOCs being just one facet of an overall shift. Times Higher Education

FutureLearn CEO says MOOCs have been overhyped Top Ten 10/16/2014 - 03:30 10/16/2014 - 03:30

The University of the Fraser Valley has updated its UFV Education Plan 2011–2015 and unveiled a new Strategic Enrolment Management Plan, both intended to guide UFV’s program planning and enrolment efforts for the next few years. The update to the Education Plan reflects the new expectations of the BC government as outlined in the BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which ties funding to provincial and regional labour market needs. UFV has identified 3 program areas for future development: health and wellness, agriculture and the environment, and digital media technologies. The newly created Strategic Enrolment Management Plan is the institution’s first, and sets out 9 enrolment goals for the future, including increasing student retention after first year; increasing upper-year transfer opportunities; and offering more experiential learning opportunities to students. Much of the SEM plan focuses on supporting current students to ensure timely graduation and future employment. UFV News

UFV updates Education Plan and launches new SEM plan Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences launched its first degree program this fall, the culmination of a decade of work for President Wolfgang Zimmerman. The degree—a bachelor’s in disability management—is, according to Zimmerman, unique in the world. This offering further distinguishes the institution, which has previously offered workplace safety education through North Island College, in collaboration with Continuing Studies at UBC. “There is no dedicated university anywhere in the world that is focusing exclusively on all aspects of workplace health. You have bits and pieces of this entire field at various universities … We wanted to take an integrated approach to all aspects of workplace health,” Zimmerman told the Vancouver Sun. The not-for-profit university is located in Port Alberni, BC, but the institution offers students a blended model similar to that of Royal Roads University, with much of the instruction taking place online. Vancouver Sun | Alberni Valley News

Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences offers first degree program Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

Simon Fraser University has formally signed an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to create a new visiting scholars program. The agreement reportedly makes SFU the first western Canadian university to receive ICCR support for such a program. Through the partnership, SFU will host scholars in disciplines including international studies, contemporary arts, business, and world literature. “This program strengthens our already extensive ties with India. Bringing leading Indian scholars to SFU will enrich our educational programs and research environment, while providing opportunities to further share India’s rich heritage and culture with the communities we serve,” said SFU President Andrew Petter. SFU News Release

SFU establishes visiting scholars program with India Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 20:35 10/15/2014 - 03:30

In an op-ed for the Globe and Mail, Harvey Weingarten, President of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, says that in the wake of Canadian universities’ recent slip in global rankings, it is time to take action to improve Canada’s universities. Weingarten lists 4 tactics that have been used by other countries who have faced a similar challenge: movement away from micromanaging institutions by the government; the creation of clear accountability mechanisms; the introduction of outcome-based, rather than input-based, funding structures; and the adoption of differentiation policies. He notes that some provinces have already begun to pursue some of these strategies; but, he says that these 4 tactics must operate interdependently to be successful. Weingarten says that Canada especially lags behind other countries when it comes to defining outcomes and collecting data, as well as in its commitment to continuous improvement and institutional accountability. “It is time for Canada to get more serious about improving its colleges and universities and we do not need, nor do we have, 8 to 10 years to figure this out,” he writes. Globe and Mail

HEQCO President shares strategies for improving Canada's universities Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

OCAD University has launched a new marketing campaign, inviting potential students to “turn what you love into a future.” The campaign will be unrolled this week in Toronto’s subway stations and transit shelters, and online through social media and on targeted websites. It features images of the Sharp Centre for Design and the tagline “overactive imaginations are a good thing.” The campaign is meant to highlight OCADU’s Digital Futures program, which merges art, design, computing and business skills. The campaign is also designed to drive traffic to OCADU’s new website, which was developed with input from the OCADU community. “Creative thinking and problem-solving skills are what employers are looking for in the workforce,” said President Sara Diamond. “Active, collaborative and experiential learning are intrinsic to all of our programs and nurture these competencies.” OCADU News Release

OCADU unveils new marketing campaign and website Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

A uToronto student’s contribution to the Globe and Mail suggests that students don’t need to travel to another country to experience culture shock; for some, it only takes moving to another province. Kelowna-born Hayden Rodenkirchen describes the many “quirks” he experienced after moving to Toronto, but also sheds light on how studying in another place can help students better appreciate unique facets of their home provinces. Rodenkirchen also points to how living in another province can be a journey of self-discovery. “At times,” he writes, “it felt existentially challenging to change my perspective. On trips to British Columbia, old friends would note that my priorities no longer seemed entirely ‘BC’ … In Toronto, meanwhile, I still felt ill-adjusted.” But Rodenkirchen concludes that the experience was a valuable one. “Students in our country,” he says, “may benefit from grappling with more of it.” Globe and Mail

Students stand to benefit from studying in another province Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

The Montreal Gazette recently explored the difficulties facing many recent graduates from the province’s teacher education programs, noting that declining enrolment in the province’s English school boards has led to a decline in new hires. As parents increasingly send their children to French schools, the province’s English schools face dwindling enrolment, affecting the nearly 2,000 graduates from provincial teacher education programs. However, the opposite seems to be true for the province’s Francophone school boards, which are experiencing an enrolment surplus; the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys says it cannot find enough teachers to fill the available positions in its schools. The CSMB plans to open 2 new schools in September 2015. According to the Gazette, “the bottom line is that teachers who master French are more likely to find employment and the ability to instruct in both languages opens more doors across the 2 sectors.” Specializing in a high demand area, such as math, science, or arts can also help new graduates in the job hunt. Montreal Gazette

QC’s new teachers face difficult job market Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

An op-ed from Sarah Otto, Director of the Biodiversity Research Centre in the Department of Zoology at UBC, calls for open sharing of knowledge between scientists and the public. Otto's piece responds to the recent report from Evidence for Democracy that suggests that Canadian scientists are limited in their ability to communicate their findings. Otto cites several cases of scientists who were censored by the government, and suggests that they represent just a small sample of likely cases. She also cites a study from the Professional Institute of the Public Services of Canada, which found that 90% of scientists working in 40 federal departments felt that they could not speak freely with the media about their work. Otto warns that “withholding knowledge is crippling” and calls on the government to “let scientists speak, let them make sure that the facts are straight, and let them at least speak as individuals if they cannot speak for their departments.” Toronto Star

Op-ed warns that government policies on science communication could be "crippling" Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

A new report from the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) at Michigan State University predicts that hiring of new graduates with bachelor’s degrees will increase by between 16% and 20% in 2015. Graduates are expected to be particularly in demand in the information services sector, which includes telecommunications companies, motion pictures, broadcasting, and publishing; the report suggests that hiring in this sector could jump by as much as 51%. Finance and insurance are also set for a turnaround following a year of cutbacks, and Proessional, Business, and Scientific Services—which includes fields as diverse as management consulting, accounting, engineering, and computing services—are also poised for significant increases. The only sector expected to see a decrease in hiring is education services, which is anticipated to dip by 2%. According to CERI Director Philip Gardner, growth is being driven by pent-up demand, an improving economy, and an increase in the number of retirements. Forbes | The Chronicle of Higher Education

New US survey suggests that hiring of new graduates should increase in 2015 Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

A new report from the Education Advisory Board suggests that colleges and universities could cut costs without sacrificing student-faculty ratios simply by consolidating courses with empty seats. The report draws on data from 7 US colleges, and the authors say that their data can be used to limit the number of “superfluous sections” and help administrators prioritize their investments in smaller courses. According to the researchers’ data, 40% of sections are less than 70% filled to capacity. They also found that one institution stood to save $300,000 in adjunct teaching costs and $1.5 M in full-time faculty costs by consolidating lower-division anthropology courses. However, similar approaches at other schools have met criticism from faculty. Others have pointed out that a higher number of sections may be necessary in order to provide course times that fit with students’ schedules. Inside Higher Ed

Report suggests consolidating course sections to reduce costs Top Ten 10/15/2014 - 03:30 10/15/2014 - 03:30

Memorial University has officially opened its new 500-bed residence building, named Macpherson College. The building and its 2 wings—Cluett and Shiwak Halls—are named in honour of 3 WWI veterans. The residence consists of 2-bedroom suites that each have a washroom; study, storage, and kitchen space on each floor; laundry and lounge areas in each wing; and multiple security features. There are also private barrier-free suites available. Residence Life staff and academic supports are also available in the residence. The Newfoundland and Labrador government contributed $65 million to the project. “Every aspect of Macpherson College is designed to foster an environment suitable for learning,” said one student living in the new residence. MUN recently completed a new 200-room residence at its Grenfell Campus. MUN News | CBC

MUN opens new 500-bed Macpherson College residence Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

Laurentian University last week celebrated the opening of its new Speech and Language Clinic, which will provide students with hands-on training opportunities. Michèle Minor-Corriveau, Program Coordinator for Speech-Language Pathology, also announced at the event a new online resource-exchange platform for professionals in the industry. Reportedly the first of its kind in Ontario, the new resource will allow for the sharing of best practices, tips, and tools for success. “Laurentian University is very proud of this new clinic that will allow our 120 students in Speech-Language Pathology to benefit from quality facilities that meet our exceptional faculty’s high standards of teaching,” said Laurentian President Dominic Giroux. “Opening this clinic is timely and significant considering the shortage of Speech-Language Pathologists in the community.” Laurentian News

Laurentian launches speech and language teaching clinic Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

Dalhousie University’s post-doctoral fellows have voted to join the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). During the unionization process employees reportedly expressed concerns around pay levels, benefits, and working hours. “Post-doctoral workers are temporary workers at a university, so they’re precarious,” current Dal postdoc Kelly Holloway said. “Having a union means that we have some kind of continuity and representation and that the gains that we make through the collective bargaining process affect the people who come after us. So it’s an important mechanism to have in place for us.” Contract negotiations are expected to begin in the near future. Postdocs are increasingly turning to union membership in order to address insecure working conditions. Postdocs at Queen’s University, Memorial University, and Western University have joined PSAC in the past few years. Dal News | Chronicle-Herald

Dal’s postdocs latest to join PSAC Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

Vancouver Island University will offer 4 tuition-free programs for persons who are unemployed or who are working in low-skilled jobs and want to upgrade. Students will be able to enrol in VIU’s Class 1 Driver Training, Intro to Culinary Arts, Building Service Worker, and Security Worker Training programs. The programs range in length from 3 weeks for the Security Worker Training program to 13 weeks for Intro to Culinary Arts. The initiative is intended to help produce skilled workers to meet labour market needs. The program will cover the cost of tuition and books for eligible applicants. Funding will be provided by British Columbia’s Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training. VIU News Release

VIU offers new tuition-free training programs Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

A crown prosecutor has stayed charges against University of Alberta researcher Zhixiang Wiang, a professor in the Department of Medical Genetics. The decision came at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, intended to determine if there was sufficient evidence to move forward with a case against Wang. He had been charged in February 2013 with sexual assault and sexual contact with a child. The evidence presented in the hearing is subject to a publication ban, but the Edmonton Journal reports that the alleged victim was 16 years old. Wang’s wife, Xinmei Chen, has been charged with unlawful confinement of a child; she will next appear in court on November 5. Edmonton Journal

Crown stays sexual assault charges against uAlberta researcher Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

Georgian College, with the City of Barrie, is launching a new initiative to help foster businesses in the community. Barrie Entrepreneurs Connect (BEC) offers persons interested in starting a business a web portal that provides resources in 4 key areas: entrepreneurial education and training; networking; funding; and mentorship. The site provides advice in starting, growing, and financing a business, and also shares local success stories. “BEC is about pooling resources in one place and providing better access to beneficial information. We want to nurture business and make sure our entrepreneurs get everything they need to succeed,” said Carla Ladd, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Barrie. Georgian recently announced plans to establish a range of programs and activities to promote and support student entrepreneurship. Georgian News Release

Georgian, Barrie collaborate on portal for entrepreneurs Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

3 Canadian universities appear at the top of Toronto-based financial publication Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Sustainable MBA Ranking for 2014. York University’s Schulich School of Business appears in first place, followed by the Sauder School of Business at UBC and the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta. The rankings recognize programs that promote sustainability through support for core curriculum choices, dedicated institutes and centres, and faculty research. Institutions listed in the Financial TimesGlobal MBA rankings are eligible for consideration. “Our mission … is to build on the [Financial Times’] ranking by determining which of the top schools are focused on the intersection of business and sustainability. On that note, Canadian schools appear to have found strength internationally,” said Corporate Knights managing editor Jeremy Runnalls. The Harvard School of Business and the Yale School of management ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Corporate Knights News Release | Full Rankings

3 Canadian business schools top global sustainable MBA rankings Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

New research from a US-based investment bank finds that teens are abandoning Facebook in favour of Twitter and Instagram. The survey of 7,200 US students found that between spring and fall 2014 Facebook use among persons aged 13 to 19 dropped from 72% to 45%. In contrast, use of Instagram—now owned by Facebook—jumped from 69% to 76%; moreover, 38% of respondents said that Instagram would be the best marketing channel by which to reach them. Some speculate that teen users are leaving Facebook due to the presence of adults on the site, or are turning to anonymous social apps like Whisper or Yik Yak. The survey also gauged attitudes toward technology, finding that just 16% of teens said that they were interested in the recently announced Apple Watch. Many stated that they did not see the need for a watch regardless of who made it or what the price tag was. Nevertheless, teens do favour Apple: 67% of respondents said that they owned an iPhone, up from 61% in the spring, and 73% said that they expected their next phone to be an iPhone. Toronto Star

Survey finds fewer teens liking Facebook Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

Graduate students may struggle to find adequate support for mental health issues, reports the New York Times. The article cites US-based research that found that many institutions are ill-prepared to respond to specific issues faced by graduate students. According to researcher Carrie Arnold, “graduate students say that [they] aren’t just older undergraduates. Graduate students have bigger responsibilities and weightier, longer-term commitments. They have to worry about funding their training and research, publishing papers, and finishing dissertations.” Arnold also notes that many graduate students have family responsibilities that are less common among undergraduates. Graduate students’ anxiety and depression may also be triggered by factors including financial insecurity, departmental cultures, and the academic job market. The article suggests that faculty and peer support can help graduate students cope, as well as assistance from campus counselling services. New York Times

Graduate students would benefit from mental health support specific to their issues Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

Scholars debated the future of the monograph at a forum sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries, considering, among other issues, the potential of digital monographs. Proponents say that digital monographs can foster collaboration as well as allow scholars to present findings in new ways. Digital monographs also benefit from the fact that they can be modified and corrected after publication. However, participants in the forum identified tenure and promotion committees as being a significant obstacle to more widespread adoption of digital formats. While organizations like the American Historical Association (AHA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA) have formed committees to evaluate how to assess digital projects, many scholars still view traditional monographs as the standard measure of scholarly output. Other forum participants considered ways to improve traditional monographs, such as providing young scholars with seed funding to pursue open-access publishing. Inside Higher Ed

Forum addresses future of scholarly monographs Top Ten 10/14/2014 - 03:30 10/14/2014 - 03:30

Nova Scotia is launching a new round of public consultations into the role of universities in the province. The government will reach out to students, faculty, campus staff, university Presidents, businesses, and the international community to collect ideas on how universities can help improve the provincial economy and keep young people in NS. “Nova Scotia universities are among the top in the country in terms of bringing in international students. So we’re at the forefront of that, but it’s to make sure that there’s a good alignment between the needs of the province and what universities are providing,” said Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Kelly Regan. Among the issues to be considered in the consultation process is how to make higher education more affordable for students. The latest round of consultations follows a report submitted to the province 4 years ago by economist Tim O’Neill, who recommended tying operating grants to population growth, government spending growth, or GDP, as well as exploring mergers, private-public partnerships, and tuition increases. The sessions are expected to lead to the release of a “vision paper” in early 2015. NS News Release | ChronicleHerald

NS to hold new round of consultations on role of university system Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

Faculty and administration at OCAD University are apparently at loggerheads over the institution’s renewal of its President’s contract. OCADU’s senate, which consists primarily of faculty members, last week passed a vote of non-confidence in the Chair of the committee responsible for the decision to renew President Sara Diamond’s contract for a third term. “Everyone needs to trust the process and people did not trust the process,” said faculty association President Charles Reeve. Faculty and administration have been at odds since 2013, when administrative plans to restructure some faculties were met with resistance. Since Diamond’s tenure as President began, OCADU has been expanding its curriculum to include visual and critical studies and entrepreneurship education, and has grown to expand beyond the bounds of the iconic Sharp Centre building. Diamond said, “I genuinely think there was real friction between the senate and the board of governors and I can absolutely assure you that as President I take that very, very seriously … The kind of change that I have been leading across the institution has met with success and has been able to provide resources across all faculties.” Globe and Mail

OCADU faculty, administration at odds over President’s renewal, curriculum expansion Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

UBC will increase some of its student housing fees by 20% beginning in September 2015. The increase will affect approximately 5,700 of the 9,463 UBC students who live on campus, and amounts to a monthly increase of $105–$140. Students who live on campus year-round will not be affected. UBC’s Managing Director of Student Housing and Hospitality Andrew Parr acknowledged that the increase is substantial, but said that it will remain less expensive than living off-campus. “I don’t want to make light of a 20-per-cent increase … but we feel it’s still well within that at- or below-market structure,” Parr said. After the increase, the average price for on-campus housing will be about $780, compared to between $740 and $860 for off-campus accommodations. UBC students living on campus will also see their food costs increase next year, due to a $285 jump in a capital improvement fee that is part of UBC's meal plan pricing. Parr said the fee will be used to fund student services, financial support programs, and new buildings. Vancouver Sun

UBC to increase housing, food plan costs for 2015 Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

HEC Montréal has partnered with Mouvement Desjardins to create the new Alphonse and Dormiène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives. The Institute will promote research into financial and non-financial cooperatives, as well as offer a forum for debate, learning, and the sharing of best practices among those involved in the cooperative movement. It will include the International Observatory on Cooperatives, which will facilitate access to research on cooperatives, and the Centre for Expertise and Knowledge Transfer on the Management of Cooperatives, which will organize knowledge transfer and training activities. “HEC Montréal has long aspired to be an international player in research into cooperatives. Now the creation of this unique institute has made it possible for us to support research into the management of cooperatives worldwide,” said HEC Montréal President Michel Patry. Rym Ayadi will serve as Director of the Institute. HEC News Release

HEC Montréal, Mouvement Desjardins partner on International Institute for Cooperatives Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

Nipissing University officially cut the ribbon on its new Centre for Physical and Health Education last week. The Centre will offer state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for research and teaching in human movement sciences, as well as for exploring societal and business challenges pertaining to health. One student attending the event said, “with the state-of-the-art labs that exist here, my fellow students and I are able to participate in and conduct some amazing research into human movement and physical activity that has the very real potential of making people and communities more healthy, and able to enjoy a better quality of life.” The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund contributed $1 M to the construction of the facility. Nipissing News Release

Nipissing opens new Centre for Physical and Health Education Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

Toronto’s Harris Institute has been recognized by Billboard Magazine as one of the top 11 music industry schools. The Harris Institute is the only Canadian school on the list. “The only true measure of a postsecondary school is the outcome for its graduates. We set out 25 years ago to prepare students for lifelong careers in music and that objective is being realized,” said Institute founder John Harris. The Harris Institute offers courses in areas including audio production and arts management. Its alumni have been recognized with 15 JUNO, Grammy, CCMA, Platinum, Canadian Screen, and CARAS awards and nominations. The Harris Institute is celebrating its 25th anniversary next month. Harris Institute News Release | Billboard

Harris Institute recognized by Billboard Magazine as top school for music industry education Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

Canadians are increasingly working past what was once considered standard retirement age, and the aging workforce is already having a significant impact on the PSE workforce. At Western University, the “salary mass” associated with the institution’s 95 professors over the age of 65 is approaching $20 M; the same number of entry-level faculty salaries would run about half that cost. The number of faculty members postponing retirement has also led to consternation among some part-time instructors, who see the aging professoriate as a barrier to their own ability to secure tenure-track jobs. Most faculty members do retire by 65, and some point out that the faculty members who do stick around into their 60s are often those who have been most productive throughout their career. “Our folks love our jobs … Every faculty member should be able to retire in dignity when they want to. They have a right to stay on if they’re making a contribution,” said Canadian Association of University Teachers Executive Director David Robinson. University Affairs

Postponing retirement has economic, cultural effects on Canadian PSE Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

An article in Times Higher Education calls for a “shake-up” in the social sciences. The article responds to physician and sociologist Nicholas A Christakis’ contention in the New York Times last year that “the social sciences have stagnated” to the point of being “boring [and] counterproductive.” The authors of the article say that, in the UK at least, social sciences departments are, to their detriment, reluctant to embrace new fields of thought; moreover, social scientists have been slow to tackle major topics such as climate change outside of specialist—and often less prestigious—journals. Major journals, the authors say, should follow the example of those in the natural sciences and include more innovative research. They also recommend that journals do more to limit the “puzzling length” of published articles, and to resist the dictates of “fashion” by employing non-academic social scientists as editors. Times Higher Education

Scholars call for new approach to social sciences Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

Attendees at the fall conference of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) were told that university libraries must advocate for government openness and electronic record-keeping, or risk becoming mired in a “digital landfill.” Speakers told the assembled members that it may be incumbent upon university libraries to ensure that government bodies are doing their part to keep useful electronic records of their activities. “If you don’t have somebody ensuring accountability, then you’re almost always going to have a problem … I would pressure [the ARL] to consider advocacy and creating consortia with other groups … to see if you can get a place at the table when the specs are made in the first place,” said William B McAllister, Director of Special Projects with the US Department of State’s Office of the Historian. McAllister said that even as an unprecedented amount of data is being generated by government agencies every day, the number of people responsible for maintaining archives has shrunk significantly. Inside Higher Ed 

University libraries called upon to act as "watchdog" for US government record-keeping Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

A Trinity Western University graduate says she was the victim of discrimination after a Norwegian wilderness tourism company rejected her application because of her Christian faith. In an email to applicant Bethany Paquette, Amaruk’s hiring manager Olaf Amundsen—who identifies himself as “a Viking with a PhD in Norse history”—cited her degree from TWU as suggestive that she would not fit in with the company culture. Amundsen wrote, “the Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition and way of life.” Amundsen resorted to expletives when Paquette signed a subsequent email “God Bless,” describing the phrase as offensive. Amaruk has some unique rules governing its employees; for instance, it prohibits long hair and braids on male workers who are not First Nations or “individuals of Viking ancestry[,] who are free to keep their beard [sic] braided.” Amaruk has issued a statement claiming that Paquette was rejected “solely based on the fact that she did not meet the minimum requirements of the position,” adding that “further discussion after that … would have been a mere expression of opinion.” CBC | National Post

TWU grad alleges discrimination in job rejection from "viking with a PhD" Top Ten 10/10/2014 - 03:30 10/10/2014 - 03:30

A new report entitled “Can Scientists Speak?” suggests that Canada’s federal scientists are in many cases not as free to communicate the results of their research as their American colleagues. The report, produced in collaboration between Simon Fraser University and non-profit, non-partisan group Evidence for Democracy (E4D), scored 16 federal departments in 5 categories pertaining to accessibility and clarity of communications, timeliness of communications, protection of scientific free speech, dispute resolution, and protection against political interference. The report’s authors found that in general government policies do not promote open and timely communication between scientists and the media, nor do they protect scientists’ freedom of speech. Only the Department of National Defence scored above a “C+” overall; it received a grade of “B.” 4 federal departments received a grade of “F.” All but one department scored lower than the US average for 2013. “Our findings are concerning because current media policies could prevent taxpayer-funded scientists from sharing their expertise with the public on important issues from drug safety to climate change,” said E4D Executive Director Katie Gibbs. Report Summary | Toronto Star | Globe and Mail

New report says federal policies limit government scientists’ freedom of speech Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

Georgian College has announced it will match $200,000 in funding from the Ontario government in order to establish a broad series of programs and activities to promote and support student entrepreneurship. The funding, provided by the On Campus Entrepreneurship Activities program through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, will be used to establish a program that helps students create a business plan; to facilitate virtual collaboration with other young entrepreneurs in ON; to hold seminars, discussions, idea exchanges, and mentorship opportunities; to offer entrepreneurship boot camps; and to stage innovation showcases. “As a postsecondary leader in entrepreneurship education, Georgian is proud to launch this initiative,” said Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes. “This forms part of our ongoing commitment to accelerating the success of students and youth on our campuses and in our communities.” Georgian News |

Georgian launches entrepreneurship training programs for students Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

Dow Canada has donated $1.05 M to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, with $800,000 going toward the Centre for Applied Technologies and the remainder sponsoring a biennial power engineering seminar at NAIT. The Centre for Applied Technologies is currently under construction at NAIT’s main campus, and will allow NAIT to increase enrolment by 50% in health, business, engineering technologies, and sustainable building and environmental management programs. The Alberta government committed $200 M for the project. As one of the most popular programs at NAIT, power engineering technology graduates are often hired by Dow to work in one of the company’s facilities. “The power engineering technology seminar complements our hands-on education, showing students the many opportunities for applying their skills in meaningful careers,” said NAIT President Glenn Feltham. NAIT News Release | Edmonton Journal

Dow donates $1 M to NAIT applied technologies Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

Manitoba has released the details of a new action plan that is intended to improve academic achievement for the province’s students. MB Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum said, “86 per cent of students in Manitoba are meeting or exceeding expectations. However, clearly some students need additional support … We have a targeted plan that includes new supports for teachers and more resources for parents to help ensure that all our students excel.” The first pillar of the new plan centres on improving teacher education. It calls on the province to work closely with Deans of education to examine entrance prerequisites and evaluate practicum supports and teacher certification requirements. The plan also calls for more support for teachers in the early years of their career in the form of new classrooms and additional teachers to reduce class sizes. MB will also focus on three additional areas: fundamental skills, support for parents and students, and accountability. MB News Release

MB announces action plan to close student achievement gap Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

The Calgary Counselling Centre has partnered with Calgary PSE institutions this week to host a new, online depression screening test. Today is National Depression Screening Day and organizers decided that the best way to reach young people is online. "We know that young people, university students, are highly vulnerable to depression. That's the age where it often shows up," said Robbie Babins-Wagner, CEO of the Calgary Counselling Centre. "It's an opportune time to get young people involved, to get them to take the test." The anonymous screening test takes 5 minutes to complete, and although it does not provide a diagnosis, it highlights whether symptoms of depression are present and offers a referral for further evaluation. CBC

Calgary PSE institutions partner with counselling centre on depression screening initiative Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

An article in Maclean’s examines—and strives to correct—persistent myths surrounding trades education. The article says that many still view the trades as an option for students who are not “book smart.” Sarah Watts-Rynard, Executive Director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF), says that even as awareness of the trades has improved, this negative stigma remains a stumbling block. “Parents say they have the utmost respect for tradespeople. Teachers say the same thing,” she said. However, CAF data show that 25% of parents of teens aged 13–17 believe the trades are for weak students. The data further indicate that parents have an outdated concept of what the trades involve: half said that they believe working in a trade requires hard physical labour, when in fact, Watts-Rynard says, technology, math, science, and problem-solving skills are more important. Various organizations are working to correct these misconceptions, as well as to communicate the value and benefits of pursuing a trade; many school boards are now offering high school students opportunities to “sample” apprenticeship opportunities in order to learn more. Maclean's

Trades education battles to overcome outmoded misconceptions Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

University libraries must re-examine their role in the research process, says a new report from nonprofit organization Ithaka S+R. The report focuses primarily on “discovery,” defined as “the process and infrastructure required for a user to find an appropriate item.” The authors say that while a significant majority of library directors surveyed agreed strongly that “it is strategically important that my library be seen by its users as the first place they go to discover scholarly content,” discovery is increasingly taking place outside of the library and away from the library's home page. More users are turning first to a general-purpose search engine or a specific electronic resource rather than their library’s online catalogue. Library directors seem to recognize this, and only a slim majority said that they believed their library was the best place to start a search for scholarly material. The study urges libraries to reconsider their role in facilitating research, and to examine other ways to remain relevant in the discovery process. Full Report

Report says university libraries must re-evaluate role in research discovery Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

A survey of nearly 30,000 US college graduates released by Purdue University  shows that business majors are least likely to report caring about their job. Moreover, business majors often do not experience  the financial security that many expect from their degree. Just 37% of all college graduates who majored in business said that they strongly agreed with the statement “I am deeply interested in the work that I do,” compared with 47% of social sciences/education majors, 43% of sciences/engineering majors, and 43% of arts and humanities majors. A postgraduate degree correlated with an increase in reported interest in one’s work regardless of field, but had less of an impact on business students than those in other fields. Business majors also lagged behind their peers in the area of “purpose well-being,” which describes the extent to which people like what they do each day and feel motivated to achieve their goals. In terms of financial well-being, business majors fared just slightly better than social sciences/education majors, but worse than science/engineering majors. BusinessWeek

Purdue survey finds business majors least likely to be interested in their work Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

An article published by a recent Queen’s University graduate in the Globe and Mail sheds light on the “post-graduation blues” faced by some students upon leaving their PSE institutions. According to the article, many students become accustomed to the strong sense of community fostered at most PSE institutions and struggle with loneliness upon graduating. The problem may be exacerbated because students no longer have access to the mental health resources offered by most colleges and universities. For some graduates, mental health issues may also be triggered by difficulties finding post-graduate employment; for others, being forced to move back home may lead to feelings of inadequacy or a sense of regression. The article suggests that students should explore new hobbies and turn to friends to form an informal support network. Globe and Mail

Loss of community leaves former students at risk of post-graduation blues Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

The Lumina Foundation yesterday unveiled a revamped version of its Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) initiative, a framework intended to define, at a national level, the skills and knowledge required by students before earning an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. The DQP seeks to establish “consensus on a public definition of quality in US higher education” in the hopes of expanding “the capacity of postsecondary education to ensure that students achieve the levels of learning they require and deserve.” The initial effort to implement the DQP on a large scale was stymied by a number of factors, including a lack of faculty support and skepticism toward standardization. The refreshed version, described as an “enhancement” by Lumina officials, includes a small number of major changes, such as focus on quantitative reasoning and the incorporation of ethical reasoning and global reasoning proficiencies. Some critics of the original plan said that they were encouraged by the new initiative’s inclusion of faculty views, but remain wary of the DQP’s perceived push for homogenization and its failure to address underfunding as a factor in education quality. Inside Higher Ed

Lumina launches re-vamped Degree Qualifications Profile framework Top Ten 10/09/2014 - 03:30 10/09/2014 - 03:30

A bug in UBC’s Student Service Centre software may have exposed students’ personal information, the university has announced. The bug was introduced in an update made in November 2012, but was not detected until last month. UBC says that the bug was fixed within 48 hours of being identified, and officials say that the risk of any students being affected is extremely low. The bug would have been triggered in just one of every 1000 transactions, said UBC Registrar Kate Ross. She added that the consequences of being affected are “minimal." According to Ross, “even if you were among the one in a thousand who may have been affected by this bug, the only information that could have been seen by another user was your Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) information (account holder name, financial institution number, transit number, and account number)." UBC has notified BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner about the glitch, but emphasized that there is no cause for alarm. CBC

Software bug may have exposed UBC students’ personal information Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

A Sydney billboard advertising Saint Mary’s University has raised the ire of some members of the Cape Breton University community. The sign says, “the right future is worth the drive to Halifax,” a message that some say is a clear slight against CBU. “It’s kind of talking down on CBU. I feel like it’s saying that Saint Mary’s is better,” said one CBU student. SMU says that no offence was intended. Margaret Murphy, AVP External Affairs at SMU, said, “research shows that being in Halifax is attractive to young people … location is one of the features that we’re pushing in the billboards.” CBU President David Wheeler isn’t annoyed; rather, he described the billboard as “kind of funny.” Wheeler said that the advertisement is par for the course as PSE institutions aggressively compete with one another for domestic students. “We’re confident in our abilities,” he said. “We have the highest satisfaction rate in the province.” CBU’s Director of Marketing Stacey Black said there are no plans for a direct rebuttal. CTV | ChronicleHerald

SMU billboard in Sydney causes controversy Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

The University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law and the Peter B Gustavson School of Business have announced a new consortium intended to support Indigenous economic development across Canada. The National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development (NCIED) will focus on 7 key areas: entrepreneurship; leadership and management development; effective regulation for economic prosperity; securing resources, stewardship, and sustainability; economic development strategies; structures for economic activity; and working with and creating business. Gustavson Dean Saul Klein said, “Canada’s future is tied to the well-being of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous communities and their participation in the economy. Unlocking the potential for economic development in light of this requires careful consideration and elimination of the structural and behavioural impediments to capital investment and economic growth.” Miles G Richardson (Haida) will sit as NCIED’s interim Director to oversee its launch and development. UVic News Release

National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development established at UVic Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

Bell has donated $1 M to support mental health initiatives at McGill University and Université de Montréal. McGill University will use the funding to support the McGill Wellness Portal, an online self-screening tool used to identify common mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. uMontréal, meanwhile, will use its share of the donation to implement a series of initiatives designed to help students who suffer from anxiety or mood disorders or who are suffering as a result of stressful situations. The funding will be provided as a part of Bell’s "Let’s Talk" program. “Most people affected by mental health issues live in silence for fear of being judged or rejected because of the stigma that still surrounds mental health. Improving access to mental health care and talking openly about the need for these services are priorities for Bell Let’s Talk,” said Martine Turcotte, Bell’s Vice-Chair for Québec. McGill News Release | uMontréal News Release

Bell donates $1 M to McGill and uMontréal to support mental health programs Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

St Francis Xavier University held a ceremony on Sunday to officially open a new residence building, which will be named Riley Hall in recognition of former university President Sean Riley. New StFX President Kent MacDonald said, “it is so fitting this hall is named after someone who has had a deep impact not only in our hearts, but in the look of campus.” Riley, who attended the ceremony, said, “what thrills me about Riley Hall is what is going to happen here this year, and maybe for the next 50 years. I’m more convinced great things will come out of Riley Hall in terms of what the students will do at StFX, and around the world.” StFX News Release

StFX officially opens Riley Hall residence Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

Kaplan Higher Education is launching a new competency-based “Open College” that will provide adult learners with free and fee-based services to help them qualify for a degree or build skills toward a new career. Kaplan will help students identify any existing skills that may count toward a degree or a new career, as well as offer a subscription-based education model to help fill in any remaining requirements needed to obtain a bachelor's of science degree in professional studies. Kaplan officials say that most students would end up paying about $9,500 to complete a degree, based on a typical enrolment of 60 credits and a 24- to 30-month time-to-completion. A student entering with no credits who participates for 48 straight months would pay $15,000 under the initial pricing model. Peter Smith, who is in charge of the new venture, said that he expects that Kaplan will be able to capitalize on recent interest in competency-based education and online learning. The Chronicle of Higher Education

For-profit giant Kaplan starts competency-based “Open College” Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

Wilfrid Laurier University students will enjoy a few extra days off next week as the university begins a three-year trial of a fall reading week. “The break will be perfect, whether students want to take the time to study or just take the time to relax,” said one student. 14 of 20 Ontario universities currently offer students a fall reading week, and WLU students began pressing campus leaders to follow their example 3 years ago. Down the road, University of Waterloo students, faculty, and staff will be keeping a close eye on the results of WLU’s trial. A task force at uWaterloo has submitted a report on the feasibility of a fall break to the university’s VP Academic, and students there will have an opportunity to voice their opinion on the issue in an online referendum next month. Stéphane Hamade, VP of uWaterloo’s Federation of Students, said that a break could help promote mental health and mitigate stress; however, there are a number of logistical issues that would need to be resolved before any plan could move forward. The Record | uWaterloo News

WLU to test fall reading week as uWaterloo weighs its options Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

Girls at the grade-8 level have closed the gap in science and math scores, according to the latest results from the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP). Overall, PCAP results show that students in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador outperformed the Canadian average in science; students in Quebec performed better than the national average in mathematics; and students in Ontario had a higher score than the Canadian average in reading. PCAP test results show that there is no longer a significant gender gap in science and mathematics scores; however, between 2010 and 2013, only girls saw a significant increase in mathematics scores. These findings point to another issue: the decline in female participation in STEM fields as girls progress into high school and eventually PSE. While the proportion of women in engineering programs in Ontario climbed nearly 2% between 2005 and 2012, Canada lags behind countries including Turkey, India, and China in correcting the gender imbalance in STEM participation. Some researchers point to gendered expectations and peer pressure in high school as having a negative impact, while others advocate more parental engagement and the incorporation of social and collaborative learning techniques in STEM education. Globe and Mail | CMEC News Release | Full PCAP Report

PCAP scores show no gender gap in math and sciences, but women's STEM participation still lags Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) has published a position paper addressing the importance of research to bolster Canada’s role in the world knowledge economy. The RSC says that it is “concerned that [Canada is] in danger of slipping behind our competitors in our support of research and thereby losing our competitive edge.” Research, the paper says, is a critical driver of prosperity; without adequate investment, Canada will fall behind other nations. Already, the RSC says, Canadian spending on research and development as a percentage of GDP risks falling behind that of nations like China. The RSC urges a broad research program that incorporates both basic and applied research as mutually reinforcing forms of inquiry. The paper recommends an increase in research funding in Canada to match the average level of OECD and G8 countries, and advises the government to develop a 10-year plan for research, innovation, and skill development, to be created in consultation with the academic and business communities. The paper also urges Canada to “establish a more extensive and more diverse system for providing expert advice at all levels.” RSC News Release | Full Paper

RSC issues position paper on importance of research in Canada Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

New research from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) indicates that just 33.7% of adult learners in the US who enroll in PSE after at least a year away earn a degree after 6 to 8 years, compared to 54.1% of first-time students. Completion rates were higher for non-first-time students enrolled at 4-year private non-profit institutions (52.5%) than for those enrolled at 2-year public institutions (27%); however, 2-year public institutions enroll the highest proportion of non-first-time students among the various institution types in the US. The NSCRC’s data show that completion rates vary widely from state to state; Texas, New York, and Florida have completion rates ranging from 37% to 40%, while California’s sits at 24%. The completion rate was highest in the District of Columbia, at 57%, but DC accounts for just 0.1% of all non-first-time enrolments. The NSCRC’s report considers 4.5 million students who re-enrolled in PSE between August 15, 2005 and August 14, 2008; a second study, which will look at 7 million students who re-enrolled between August 15, 2008 and August 14, 2013, is currently underway. Inside Higher Ed | Report Summary

NSCRC finds just one-third of non-first-time students in US complete their degrees Top Ten 10/08/2014 - 03:30 10/08/2014 - 03:30

St Clair College’s Health Science Centre has been renamed the Anthony P Toldo Centre for Applied Health Sciences following a $1 M donation from the Toldo Foundation. The renaming recognizes the many contributions made to the community by Toldo, who passed away 5 years ago. The gift also serves to kick off St Clair’s upcoming Foundation for Life fundraising campaign. “This gift from the Toldo Foundation is a clear sign that a community leader has recognized that the combined talent of an amazing staff at this college is making a difference as the leading educator in the province of Ontario,” said St Clair President John Strasser. Toldo’s son, Anthony, said, “I think this continues the legacy of my father. Our family has been active in the community and this building being focused on healthcare and education fits well with that … It’s one of the best health care facilities in Canada.” St Clair News Release | Windsor Star

St Clair renames Health Science Centre in recognition of donation Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

British Columbia last week made 2 funding announcements that will benefit learners with disabilities as well as Aboriginal learners. The province committed $1.5 M in funding, to be divided equally among 20 PSE institutions, to help persons with disabilities develop job skills that match the needs of BC’s labour market. “The employment rate for people with disabilities is 18 percentage points lower than for people without a disability. We heard very clearly through our recent disability consultation that people with disabilities who are under employed, and those who can and want to work, need better support,” said BC Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don MacRae. BC also announced $6.4 M in funding to support 23 projects that forge skills-training partnerships between PSE institutions and local Aboriginal communities. “By improving access to education, skills and trades training for Aboriginal students through programs like the Aboriginal Community-based Delivery Partnerships program, we can help Aboriginal communities to take advantage of economic opportunities and support BC’s labour market,” said BC Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. Both investments come as part of BC’s Skills for Jobs BlueprintBC News Release (Disabilities) | BC News Release(Aboriginal)

BC commits funding for learners with disabilities, Aboriginal learners Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

Mount Allison University on Friday celebrated the official opening of its first new academic building in over 3 decades. The Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts, named for the late entrepreneur and former MTA Chancellor, will offer space for teaching, performance, and creative pursuits in the university’s fine arts and drama program, with specialized studios, classrooms, seminar spaces, and a black-box professional teaching theatre. “Mount Allison has always been committed to providing students with opportunities to learn and develop both within and outside the classroom. The Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts brings these philosophies together,” said MTA President Robert Campbell. The building was funded through private donations, with no direct government funding or external debt. MTA News Release

Mount Allison officially opens Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

The Northern Centre for Advanced Technology has opened a new location on the campus of Collège Boréal in Timmins, to help meet a need for health and safety training and programming among industry clients in the area. The new facility will offer a full complement of programs, delivered via hands-on classroom work, e-learning, and the use of state-of-the-art simulation equipment. “We’ve been doing business in Timmins for many, many years and we want to offer—and our customers were asking for—more enhanced services in the Timmins area similar to what we offer in Sudbury. The only way to really do that is to get permanent boots on the ground in the Timmins area,” said NORCAT Director of Training and Development Jason Bubba. Bubba also said that he looks forward to establishing a strong partnership with Boréal.

NORCAT opens training facility on Boréal campus Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

At his installation ceremony on Friday, Kent MacDonald identified 3 priorities for his time as President of St Francis Xavier University. First, MacDonald announced a recommitment to StFX’s academic mission, pledging to add $1 M to the research budget for faculty and student researchers. MacDonald also announced his intention to expand StFX’s global reach through the development of a comprehensive international strategy. He further committed to increasing the number of international students on campus to 10% of all students. MacDonald also said that he aims to increase StFX’s total enrolment to 5,000 students. Finally, MacDonald announced that he intends to raise $25 M over the next 5 years through the Xavieran Legacy Fund to improve accessibility and offer educational opportunities to “the most talented students, regardless of background.” StFX News

New StFX President commits to research, internationalization, accessibility Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

A group of Canadian scientists calling themselves "Scientists for the Right to Know" held a forum last week to raise awareness of the effects of government cuts to research. Entitled “Imposed Ignorance,” the forum featured a panel discussion with former Chief Statistician of Canada Munir Sheikh, former head of the federal public service Mel Cappe, and uToronto professor David Hulchanski. The panelists each offered testimony regarding how individuals and agencies have been silenced through moves including the cancellation of the mandatory detailed census, the auditing of charities that speak out on public issues, and the censoring of an Environment Canada climatologist who had written a science-fiction novel about global warming. The group also highlighted government elimination of programs including the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, the Law Commission of Canada, the National Council of Welfare, and the Canadian Council on Learning, as well as cuts to Statistics Canada, Health Canada, and Environment Canada. “It’s easy to wreck something that’s working well and it’s hard to make it work again. When the muscles atrophy, it is very hard to pick up weights. It will take a long time to recover,” said Hulchanski. Toronto Star

Canadian scientists hold forum to protest government cutbacks Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

Ryerson University is seeing new success with its food services thanks to a re-brand and a new focus on fresh, locally sourced options. Since ending its contract with Aramark last year, Ryerson has adopted a new vision that privileges locally sourced, campus-made food. Under its new agreement with Chartwells, 25% of goods are sourced in southern Ontario, and soups, sandwiches, and salads are all made on site. Ryerson is also offering more culturally diverse fare, as well as a budget-friendly $5 lunch option. “Students are seeing improvements in affordability and availability and diversity in food services on campus, as well as sustainability,” said Ryerson Students’ Union President Rajean Hoilett. Executive Chef Joshna Maharaj says that the new approach is more labour-intensive, but that sales are up. “Food costs are slightly elevated, but not in an unmanageable way. It shows that we can support small business, buy higher-quality food for the campus community and not have it break the bank,” she said. Toronto Star

Ryerson sees success with new, eat-local approach to food services Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

New data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) show that full-time, 2-year MBA programs remain the standard in business education. Compared to 2013 figures, applications increased or were stable for 65% of 2-year MBA programs considered in the study, while applications decreased in 60% of 1-year and specialized graduate programs. The longer duration of the 2-year MBA may actually be the key to its appeal, in spite of the added cost. “It might offer additional time with classmates for networking, internships, activities for case competitions, or even exchange for study abroad,” said GMAC’s Director of Research Communications, Michelle Sparkman. Most (55%) flexible MBA programs also reported an increase in the number of applicants compared to 2013, while 43% of online MBA programs reported an increase in applications and 50% a decrease. GMAC also reports that Canada ranked 10th as a target for recruiters, ahead of France and the United Kingdom. Globe and Mail | Full Report

2-year MBA programs remains popular as enrolment in 1-year, specialized programs dips Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

A report in The Chronicle of Higher Education surveys how a number of Humanities PhD programs in the US and Canada are reducing time-to-completion rates. The University of Alberta’s Department of English and Film Studies is among the programs featured. The article notes that uAlberta has helped reduce the sense of isolation felt by many of its PhD students by offering lab-like settings, mentorship programs, workshops, and a colloquium. Other programs, including those in the University of Texas system, require students to complete a “Milestones Agreement Form,” which forces students to identify when they will hit key points in the PhD process, such as competing coursework. Other universities allow students to complete alternative dissertations, such as a collection of essays, an exhibition, or a digital publication. Vanderbilt University, meanwhile, has moved up its deadlines to encourage students to begin the dissertation process earlier. On the other hand, the University of Texas at Austin encourages students by cutting off their financial support once they complete their sixth year of study. The Chronicle of Higher Education

Universities deploy variety of tactics to improve time-to-completion for Humanities PhDs Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

Adjuncts in the US are planning a national walkout day on February 25, 2015. The event, intended to highlight the low wages and poor working conditions experienced by many adjunct faculty members, was proposed by a writing instructor at San Jose State University who, citing job security concerns, wishes to remain anonymous. She said that she hopes the event will shed light on the “educational or administrative issues impacting adjuncts … across the country, or [the] plights of individual adjuncts.” The idea of a nation-wide event, she said, is to communicate that “no adjunct or campus must face these shared issues alone.” Information about the event is being shared largely through social media. Maria Maisto, President of the adjunct advocacy organization New Faculty Majority, said, “any actions that raise awareness and continue to put pressure on higher education to reform are welcome.” Inside Higher Ed

US adjuncts plan national walkout in February Top Ten 10/07/2014 - 03:30 10/07/2014 - 03:30

Speaking at the Canada 2020 conference, Canadian Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney spoke out about the need for Canadian business to do their fair share in contributing to employee skills development. “It’s about bending the arc in the direction of more employer-led, demand-driven training … We need to see businesses put more resources into skills development,” Kenney told reporters. Kenney was responding in part to criticism from Canadian business owners of the government’s planned modifications to the temporary foreign workers program, which they say will prevent them from accessing the skilled labour that they need to fill jobs. “Certainly I say to [business], ‘Don’t come to me and demand temporary foreign workers to address your labour challenges if you’re not showing us how you’re investing in skills training,'” Kenney said. Kenney also advocated encouraging Canadians to get involved in a trade at a younger age as a way to manage the perceived skills gap. Ottawa Citizen | National Post

Employment Minister calls on private sector to invest in skills training Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

Okanagan College has kicked off its campaign to raise funds for a renovated and expanded Trades Training Complex with $2.5 M in commitments from 43 donors. “We’ve only just launched our campaign and we’re more than a third of the way to reaching our $7-million goal,” said campaign Chair Dennis Gabelhouse. Gabelhouse was particularly pleased that $845,000 of the donations came from leaders in the local auto, welding, construction, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical sectors. $610,000 also came from local car dealerships. “To have one of our key trades sectors come forward with this level of commitment really sets the tone for what we hope will come,” said Gabelhouse. The total cost of the complex is expected to be $33 M; the province has committed $28 M to the project while the college is responsible for raising an additional $7 M to cover capital and support costs. OC News Release

Okanagan College kicks off fundraising campaign with $2.5 M in donations Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

Saint Mary’s University has announced that it will offer a bachelor of commerce program at Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai, China. Students will learn from Chinese professors for the first 2 years of the program and from SMU faculty for the latter portion. Students completing the program will earn the same degree as those who attend at SMU’s Sobey School of Business in Halifax. The program will allow Chinese students who cannot afford to travel to Canada for their studies to obtain a Canadian education. SMU has a longstanding relationship with Beijing Normal School; 120 students from the institution are studying at SMU this year alone. SMU expects to break even the first year of the program but enrolment is expected to expand rapidly, given an already high level of interest; 70 students were turned away this year due to a lack of seats. “It’s unusual for a business school to take on this kind of partnership at the undergraduate level. It’s a very ambitious and innovative partnership and it establishes the Sobey School as a significant international player,” said Sobey Dean Patricia Bradshaw. SMU News Release | Chronicle-Herald

SMU to offer BCom program in China Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

Ryerson University has officially launched its new Advanced Manufacturing, Design, and 3D Printing Lab. In a news release, Ryerson describes the lab as “one of Canada’s most technologically advanced 3D printing research facilities.” It includes what is reportedly the only EOS P395 3D printer at a Canadian university, one of just 3 in the country. The lab was launched in partnership with photographer Edward Burtynsky, co-founder of Think2Thing, and Bionik Laboratories. Wendy Cukier, VP Research and Innovation at Ryerson, said, “the lab leverages our research expertise with the design and additive manufacturing excellence of Think2Thing and Bionik’s groundbreaking work in the development and commercialization of control systems to drive robotic medical devices with companies across sectors.” Ryerson News Release

Ryerson launches Advanced Manufacturing, Design, and 3D Printing Lab Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

A new partnership means that entrepreneurs working in OCAD University’s Imagination Catalyst Incubator will now have access to MakeWorks, a creative studio for makers, designers, and startups. MakeWorks offers a 10,000-square-foot facility that includes a prototyping and electronics lab, a MakerSpace, and an event space. It also offers access to more than 30 other startups as well as involvement in community events that will give Imagination Catalyst entrepreneurs the ability to receive valuable feedback on their projects. “This unique partnership will bolster OCADU’s ability to provide the entrepreneurs in its incubator with more tools, mentors, and space for their entrepreneurial pursuits,” said Helmut Reichenbächer, OCADU’s AVP Research and Dean of Graduate Studies. OCADU News Release

OCADU, MakeWorks partner on new incubator space Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

MacEwan University President David Atkinson says that a rigid divide between colleges and universities is counterproductive in today’s economy. “We need to find some new pathways and get past the two solitudes,” he said. “The model for higher education can’t just be aimed at the high school student who comes for four years and be done.” He argues for a model that is more accommodating of students already in the workforce but looking to upgrade, as well as for recent immigrants seeking education. To this end, MacEwan will begin allowing students pursuing college diplomas to move directly into university degree programs, and will accept full credit for college courses. Atkinson says the move is reflective of the fact that a university degree is “the currency” of the job market. “We made the decision to be different,” he said. Edmonton Journal

MacEwan President seeks to break down walls between colleges, universities Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

A former senior policy analyst for the federal government says that the bond between labour and employment is broken. Tom Zizys says that the labour market currently offers plenty of jobs at the top and at the bottom, but few in the middle. He adds that Canada has focused too narrowly on the “supply” side of the labour market, producing a highly educated workforce that nevertheless has difficulty finding work. Instead, he says, more attention should be paid to the lack of jobs and employers’ unwillingness to provide training and experience. According to Zizys, the skills gap is actually a work experience mismatch. “What we need are more opportunities in the workplace for people to acquire those skills and advance to better jobs,” he said. Zizys called for a comprehensive, long-term approach that unites employers, government, labour, educators, and community groups to identify and resolve labour market gaps. Toronto Star

Former federal analyst calls for collaborative approach to overcoming experience gap Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

Canadian Business has released its annual ranking of the top 10 MBA schools in Canada. The ranking relies on self-reported data and focuses on value-for-money. 7 factors are weighted into a program’s final score, including reputation, salary boost, classroom experience, average GMAT scores, tuition, required work experience, and program length. Lower tuition, higher work experience requirements, and shorter program lengths resulted in higher scores. UBC, McGill University, the University of Toronto, Western University, and the University of Windsor did not participate in the ranking. Among those institutions that did participate, Queen’s University’s MBA program scored the highest for its use of integrated case studies, its modular format, and the team-based and experiential learning opportunities offered to its students. HEC Montreal was ranked second, followed by York University’s Schulich School of Business. Programs at Concordia University and the University of Alberta rounded out the top 5. Full Rankings

Canadian Business lists top 10 MBA schools Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

A controversy at Wellesley College in Massachusetts over its international ties has led a faculty member to initiate a larger examination of US colleges’ relationships abroad. Sociology professor Thomas Cushman and other faculty members learned that Xia Yeliang, a professor at Peking University, with which Wellesley was pursuing a partnership, was facing termination for expressing his political views. In response, roughly 40% of faculty members signed a petition opposing the institutions’ agreement. Wellesley continues to work with Peking, but now gives faculty a stronger voice when considering international agreements. Cushman, meanwhile, is advocating more broadly for a cautious approach when it comes to cross-border collaboration. However, Cushman’s stance on the Peking University was not without its critics: some faculty members felt there was more good to be done on behalf of academic freedom by working with PekingU, while others criticized Cushman’s tactics, which included accusing another professor of being a communist. Cushman says that partnering too closely with authoritarian countries could make some topics off-limits at US universities, as well. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Wellesley controversy raises questions over international relationships Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

Inside Higher Ed has released the results of a new survey of campus HR leaders. Respondents to the survey expressed concerns that faculty members working past retirement age are limiting institutions’ flexibility to hire new faculty. 51% said that they were very or moderately concerned about a “lack of sufficient retirement incentives” for eligible faculty, but just 43% said that they strongly agreed that their institutions provided “sufficient phased retirement options for faculty.” A slim majority (51%) said that their institutions fairly compensate adjunct faculty members, and 38% said that adjuncts received “appropriate” benefits packages. But, the number who strongly agreed that adjuncts were receiving appropriate job security and due process protections dropped to 15% from 18% last year. On the matter of social media, 38% felt that colleges should have explicit policies limiting faculty members’ commentary on workplace-related matters. 32%, however, disagreed, and 31% were undecided. Inside Higher Ed

Survey shows US campus HR leaders’ attitudes toward retirement, adjuncts, social media Top Ten 10/06/2014 - 03:30 10/06/2014 - 03:30

NorQuest College and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) have partnered to create the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Hospitality Institute. The new institute will be a hands-on training centre for a wide range of fields, including guest services, service industry operations, and event delivery. Programs will be relevant and customized for Alberta’s hospitality industry and will be designed to open doors for many inner-city residents and at-risk youth in northern AB. EOCF committed $1.5 M for the institute, which will create 100 annual bursaries of $1,000 for learners requiring financial support. A portion of the funds will also go towards a new training facility and kitchen in NorQuest’s Centre for Learning, scheduled to open in 2017. NorQuest News | Edmonton Journal

NorQuest and Edmonton Oilers partner on hospitality training institute Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

A high-school student has died while on a co-op work placement at an Ontario auto recycling plant. Adam Keunen’s death has triggered calls for improvement to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) or the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), in order to attempt to prevent further accidents in the future. Currently, interns and co-op students are not covered under these laws, which outline training and safety procedures for employees. NDP MPP Peggy Sattler recently introduced a private member’s bill calling for better protections for students and unpaid workers in ON; previously, 2 NDP MPs introduced a similar bill at the federal level. In response to Keunen’s death, the Canadian Intern Association stated, “these tragic incidents necessitate that the Ontario government undertake a fulsome review of co-ops, academic internships and experiential learning programs to ensure the safety and well being of students and young workers is being protected.” Toronto Star | CBC | Cdn Intern Assoc News Release

High school student’s death renews demand for safety regulation of co-op placements Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

Manitoba has announced funding and support to expand the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, a hybrid secondary/PSE institution that allows students to complete high school while simultaneously receiving college-level credits. The MB government has committed $500,000 to add 4,050 square feet of classroom space at MITT. In addition, MITT is also working to enhance its partnership with the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine to allow more Francophone students to access MITT programs. Earlier this year, MB announced a new, expanded mandate for MITT, allowing for additional credentials to be delivered and for more students to be admitted annually. President Paul Holden stated, “this is a different and exciting new way to think about education and training and how to access it. It will create extraordinary opportunities for students and industry.” MITT News

MITT receives provincial support for expansion plans Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

McMaster University has launched the Optimal Aging Portal, a new website that will help Canadian seniors access quality health and medical information. Described as the “Rotten Tomatoes” of health advice—a reference to a popular movie rating website—the portal will offer evidence summaries, blog posts, and web resource ratings in order to help users sift through the enormous volume of health information that is available online. “What sets the Optimal Aging Portal apart from the crowd is its emphasis on providing only the best evidence, and telling you why it’s considered the best,” said professor Anthony Levinson. “The portal filters out the noise and makes it easy to understand how scientific evidence and other types of information can help you.” McMaster Chancellor Suzanne Labarge, who in 2012 contributed $10 M to help fund the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative, added, “there is so much misleading information around and, frankly, a lot of people are selling snake oil … We decided having a trusted source would be really important as part of the Initiative.” McMaster News | Optimal Aging Portal

McMaster launches Optimal Aging Portal to provide high quality health information Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

Recent campaigns designed to address student mental health on campus, such as the one launched last month by the Canadian Federation of Students - Nova Scotia,  are valuable; but, according to Maclean’s writer Josh Dehaas, it is important to recognize that regular life stressors, including debt, are not the same as mental illness. York University psychologist Gordon Flett points out that financial stress can trigger mental illness, but only in those individuals who are already susceptible. “Mental illness can be exacerbated by all kinds of things—$30,000 student loans included—but that doesn’t make it a cause,” adds Dehaas. Learning coping methods to deal with the added stress that PSE can bring is imperative to helping students dealing with mental illness. And, as Dehaas states, there are “not enough counsellors teaching students how to cope.” Maclean’s

More counsellors needed to deal with mental health issues on campus Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

Humber College has published the details of its internationalization strategy. Humber’s approach is organized around 5 goals: recruit an increasingly diverse group of students from around the globe; provide opportunities for students to earn credits while studying abroad; ensure that faculty and staff are equipped to support internationalization; develop partnerships focused on intercultural academic exchanges and collaboration that engage the Humber community; and advance initiatives that enable faculty and students to contribute to international development initiatives globally. To achieve these goals, Humber will invest in marketing efforts and international student support services. Moreover, the institution has launched a Global Citizenship Certificate, a set of courses, travel experiences, and co-curricular activities that fit into students’ current studies. Humber says that it will also work on further internationalizing its curriculum and processes, as well as expanding its network of international partnerships, among other initiatives. Humber Blog | Strategy Document

Humber shares its first internationalization strategy Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

UBC has received 3 gifts totaling $9.1 M to support Alzheimer’s disease research. Geologist and entrepreneur Charles Fipke has given $5.5 M to help fund the purchase of state-of-the-art brain imaging technology, $3 M to endow a professorship focused on Alzheimer’s research, and $600,000 to outfit a lab at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brian Health. Fipke said he was motivated to contribute the gift after learning that his friend, former British Columbia Premier Bill Bennett, was suffering from Alzheimer’s. UBC President Arvind Gupta said, “investing in the most creative, dedicated, and determined scientists, and putting the most sophisticated technology at their fingertips is the surest means to making breakthroughs against this disease.” UBC News

UBC receives $9.1 M for Alzheimer's research Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

The University of Toronto has held its 20th-place position in the Times Higher Education’s annual World University Rankings, while other Canadian institutions that appeared in the top 200 last year have fallen. UBC, which ranked second among Canadian institutions, slipped from 31st to 32nd, while McGill University dropped from 35th to 39th. Phil Baty, editor of the rankings, noted that Canada’s performance is striking given its heavy investment in education. “The drop is not a dramatic fall but a very consistent slip … Is there too much of an egalitarian system? That sounds perverse, but is there a sense that the universities are being funded too equally, that there needs to be greater protection for the smaller group at the top?” Baty asked. McGill President Suzanne Fortier said, “we have not seen any additional investments in quite a number of years now and also we have to live within quite a lot of constraints.” McMaster University was the only other Canadian institution to break the top 100, appearing at 94th, down 2 places from last year. The University of Victoria made significant gains, cracking the top 200 at 173rd. Full Rankings | Globe and Mail

uToronto holds place in THE rankings as others slip Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

A proposal under consideration among University of Alberta administrators could see students in programs such as economics pay more than students taking an English degree. While many professional programs already follow a differentiated fee structure, this proposal would extend the approach to undergraduate majors, charging economics majors an additional $150 per course for domestic students and $554 for international students. “Economics is the most professional program we have [in the faculty of arts],” said Lesley Cormack, Dean of Arts at uAlberta. “People become economists and earn very high salaries.” Should the university approve such a proposal, it would still have to be vetted by the province, which has invited PSE institutions to submit “market modified” tuition fee applications to potentially avoid the current fee cap in 3 programs. Economics is not among the 3 programs already identified by uAlberta, but could be first in line should the provincial initiative expand. Whatever happens in Alberta will surely be of interest in other provinces, especially Quebec, which is currently facing budget cuts. Globe and Mail

uAlberta proposal could signal differentiated fees Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

The University of Michigan is under fire after its football coach failed to remove from a game a player who was showing visible symptoms of a concussion. The player in question had also suffered an ankle injury earlier in the game, and commentators had questioned whether he should have been removed even prior to the hit that apparently caused the concussion. On Tuesday, students marched on the university President’s home demanding a response, and alumni, students, and the media have questioned whether player safety is being taken seriously enough. uMichigan has issued statements admitting problems with how the incident was handled, but many are calling on the institution to take more decisive action, including firing the football coach or the university’s athletic director. The incident has prompted discussion on what the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) can or should do to better handle the risk of brain injuries among its athletes. The NCAA did release guidelines regarding concussion and other brain injuries earlier this year, but critics have said that they amount to little more than non-binding suggestions. Inside Higher Ed (Michigan) | Inside Higher Ed (NCAA)

Controversy at uMichigan over handling of football player's concussion Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 03:30 10/03/2014 - 03:30

The head coach of McGill University’s Redmen football team has resigned in the wake of a player’s suspension and the university’s response. Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota was suspended last week after being charged with assault and uttering threats; Guimont-Mota had previously pled guilty to an assault charge arising from a 2010 incident. Head coach Clint Uttley stated in a resignation letter that he disagreed with a statement by McGill that “the individual should not have been invited to join [McGill’s] team.” Uttley said the university was well aware of the initial charge when Guimont-Mota was recruited, and to now say it was a mistake to have him on the team was deeply troubling. Citing beliefs in rehabilitation, equity, and inclusiveness, Uttley concludes his letter by stating, “if providing young men with a second opportunity has effectively cost me my position as head football coach at McGill, then I accept that consequence in order to maintain a higher moral standard than what’s been dictated.” Uttley’s letter makes no mention of the current charges facing Guimont-Mota. McGill has accepted Uttley’s resignation and is expected to name an interim coach in the next week. Toronto Star | Montreal Gazette | National Post |CBC

McGill football coach resigns over university’s response to player suspension Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

Memorial University has officially opened its new Medical Education Centre, housed in the new Faculty of Medicine expansion building. The new building and centre allow MUN to increase the number of medical students admitted every year and will provide opportunities for enhanced instruction and training, including the state-of-the-art Clinical Learning and Simulation Centre. “Experience in the simulation lab will result in improved performance, quicker response time and increased confidence and competence,” said James Rourke, Dean of Medicine. “In the long run this will improve patient safety and promote the teamwork, communication and collaboration that is so critical to health-care delivery.” The government of Newfoundland and Labrador contributed more than $21 M for the project. MUN News Release

MUN celebrates opening of new Medical Education Centre Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

The new Faculty of Law at Lakehead University will be named the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, in honour of former Chief Justice Bora Laskin. “An extraordinary man, Bora Laskin was a profound, visionary lawyer and judge who left a lasting influence on Canadian law,” said President Brian Stevenson. Dean Lee Stuesser added, “as a law school making its own unique mark on Canada’s legal landscape, it’s fitting to name this law school for someone who, himself, set precedent-making laws.” Lakehead also announced the launch of a fundraising campaign in honour of Laskin that is focused on 4 pillars: Transform a Student’s Future; Inspire a Generation; Create an Architectural Legacy Endowment; and Name the Law School Library. Lakehead’s law school opened in September 2013, and is the first new law school in Ontario since 1969 and the first ever in northern Ontario. Programs in the law faculty focus on Aboriginal law, natural resource law, and small and sole practice law. Lakehead News Release

Lakehead names Faculty of Law after former Chief Justice Bora Laskin Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

LinkedIn has released its new University Rankings based on career outcomes of recent graduates. There are currently 5 career categories that are being ranked: Accounting Professionals, Finance Professionals, Investment Bankers, Marketers, and Software Developers. The landing page for the LinkedIn University Rankings list the top 3 universities in each category, and users can choose a career category to see all 25 universities included in each list. A LinkedIn blog post states, “students and parents want to know which schools give them the best chance at getting a desirable job after graduation. This is where we can help.” The methodology for the rankings involved defining “desirable companies” for each profession and determining the number of relevant graduates from a particular school that are now working for a desirable company. And, as Melissa Cheater says in her blog, “if you are McGill, UofT, uWaterloo, Queen’s, Laurier, York, SFU or UBC … you’ve got some lovely news to share and get excited about.” LinkedIn University Rankings | LinkedIn blog | #pseweb blog

LinkedIn introduces university rankings Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

As PSE institutions and school boards in Canada and the US reconsider their partnerships with Chinese-government funded Confucius Institutes, articles in theGlobe and Mail and the Toronto Star point to ways that these institutes can be beneficial while allowing minimal interventions from Hanban—the Confucius Institutes headquarters. In Edmonton, the Confucius program is used to help support the school board’s bilingual Mandarin program; Alberta teachers use AB curriculum, but Chinese instructors are hired as support staff to teach Chinese culture and help students with the language lessons. Hong Kong-based journalist Frank Ching writes in the Globe and Mail that even though the Confucius Institutes are touted as instruments of Chinese propaganda even by the Chinese government, China can improve these relationships by meeting the “issue of academic freedom head-on.” Ching also cautions Western institutions to be clear on the benefits, and risks, of partnering with Hanban. “There is an obvious need for Chinese language education around the world and China astutely stepped in to meet that need,” said Ching. Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago both recently announced they were closing their Confucius Institutes. The Canadian Association of University Teachers issued a news release last year urging PSE institutions to cut ties with the programs. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star | Inside Higher Ed

The controversy over Confucius Institutes Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

Ryerson University has released its new 5-year academic plan, "Our Time to Lead." The plan outlines Ryerson’s vision to “become Canada’s leading comprehensive innovation university,” and details Ryerson’s strengths in career-related and professional programs; diverse scholarly, research, and creative activities; and commitment to the health and wellbeing of the Ryerson community. The academic plan focuses on 4 key priorities: “Enable greater student engagement and success through exceptional experiences; Increase SRC (scholarly, research, and creative) excellence, intensity and impact; Foster an innovation ecosystem; and Expand community engagement and city building.” A set of 29 strategies supports the 4 priorities and provides guidance for local implementation of priorities. The plan also includes 14 values that together “serve as the foundation of the academic plan’s aspirations and priorities.” The values range from academic freedom and integrity to sustainability and inclusion. Ryerson News | Plan Overview | Executive Summary

Ryerson releases new academic plan Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

As business schools and MBA programs evolve to meet the challenges of a changing business landscape and increased student demands, the age range of faculty members is also changing. Courses such as social entrepreneurship and investment banking often require younger educators that have the right combination of experience in the business world and teaching. Balancing the number of seasoned, senior faculty with younger, junior faculty is becomingly increasingly important to business schools as students paying premium tuitions expect the best in a competitive market. At Queen’s University, senior faculty teach core foundational courses that are often theory-based and supported by faculty research. Industry experts are then brought in for specialized electives. In one case, the course is taught 50/50 by 2 instructors—one with more academic experience and one with more recent industry experience. At Western University’s Ivey School of Business, junior faculty are paired with a senior faculty mentor and a teaching coach in order to offer support and guidance; as well, junior faculty are often required to teach at the undergraduate level before moving into MBA courses. Financial Post

Changing times are reflected in increasingly diverse faculty in business schools Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

A recent article in Maclean’s takes a closer look at the ongoing debates surrounding Canada’s skills gap, or mismatch as some put it, noting that for students and job-seekers, it is difficult to know what training one should take in order to find a career. Data on employment outlooks and wages from province to province are hard to find, and in some cases, inaccurate. Employers are spending less and less on employee training, and at the same time are calling on PSE institutions to do more job-ready training. Canada has pledged to spend more in order to develop more robust job market surveys, but that data won’t be available for some time. And, as the article’s author notes, “meanwhile, policy-makers and students will be forced to rely on a hodgepodge of third-party job surveys, anecdotal information and gut instinct to figure out how employment in this country works.” Clearer labour market information would greatly increase the employability of many educated, but un- or under-employed Canadians. Maclean’s

Canada’s skills gap would benefit from coordinated labour market data Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

Barnes & Noble College has released the results of its Mindset survey, designed to reveal the influences on millennials’ career choices and decisions around program and institution choice. Respondents included freshmen and junior/senior students at both 2- and 4-year institutions in the US. More than 90% of all respondents had identified their education/career field of choice, and more than half of juniors and seniors had spoken to professors about potential career paths. The survey results serve to dispel 2 myths about millennials: “millennials lack focus as it relates to their future career” and millennials are driven by money, power, and fame, and think they “know it all.” As in other recent studies, respondents indicated that “personal fulfillment trumps money and status.” The survey also found that more than 90% of respondents indicated communication skills as important to future career aspirations, and that 66% of students are concerned about having the necessary skills to perform jobs well. Barnes & Noble Survey Results

Barnes & Noble releases survey of millennials Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

A new report released this week looks at the perceived gender imbalance among US PhD graduates, suggesting that contrary to popular opinion, the overrepresentation of male PhDs compared to females is slightly less likely in STEM-related fields than in non-STEM fields. The researchers studied 135 academic fields, 55 STEM disciplines and 80 non-STEM fields. Of the top 5 fields in which men are overrepresented among PhD graduates, none are in the STEM fields. In the top 5 fields in which women are overrepresented, 2 are in STEM fields. However, overall, men are overrepresented in close to 75% of the fields studied. The study looked at the number of undergraduate degrees awarded in each field to both males and females as part of the methodology, but did not look at the reasons why women do not pursue PhDs in certain fields; nor did it look at whether females were dropping out of PhD programs at a higher rate. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | Full Report

New report looks at PhD gender imbalances in US Top Ten 10/02/2014 - 03:30 10/02/2014 - 03:30

Dalhousie University has suspended its men’s rugby team after receiving a complaint about hazing. The club was already under probation for an undisclosed incident that occurred earlier in September; the combination of the 2 incidents has led to an investigation by the university. The club has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation—which must be completed within 60 days—meaning the club will not represent Dal in the Rugby Nova Scotia university league, will not receive funding from the university, cannot book university space, and that its members cannot wear university colours or uniforms. “Dalhousie is committed to being a safe, respectful place to learn and play. We expect our student-run sport clubs to adhere to their obligations in the Sport Club Handbook, and will not tolerate behaviour that humiliates, disrespects or threatens the safety of individuals in our community,” said Dal in a statement. Dal implemented a stand-alone hazing policy earlier this year after the majority of the women’s hockey team was suspended in 2013 for a hazing incident. Dal Statement | CBC | Toronto Star

Postscript: Jan 21, 2015

A rugby club at Dalhousie University has been hit with a series of sanctions and conditions after having been found in violation of the university’s hazing policy. Members will be required to attend a hazing education program and participate in an initiative to raise awareness about hazing. The team will be barred from playing next year if any members refuse to take part. Details of the incident have not been released, a university spokesperson said, because “any section of the report could potentially identify individuals and it is the university’s position to protect the confidentiality and privacy of students.” The Record

Dal suspends men’s rugby team after hazing complaint Top Ten 01/20/2015 - 19:37 10/01/2014 - 03:30

The new Advanced Research Complex (ARC) has officially opened at the University of Ottawa, providing a space for innovative research in the areas of photonics and geoscience. The ARC is home to the accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS), reportedly the only one of its kind in Canada, which allows scientists to conduct advanced environmental research. In the photonics labs, scientists will use lasers in research that leads to applied technologies in fields such as medical diagnostics, renewable energy, and telecommunications. The $70 M facility received funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Ontario Research Fund. “Great discoveries and innovations so often come from bringing people of vastly different disciplines together so their ideas can naturally collide, prompting them in new—and sometimes unexpected—directions,” said CFI President Gilles Patry. “This state-of-the art facility will become the catalyst for these kinds of extraordinary collaborations.” uOttawa News Release | CFI News

uOttawa opens new Advanced Research Complex Top Ten 10/01/2014 - 03:30 10/01/2014 - 03:30

An inspection blitz conducted this spring by the Ontario Ministry of Labour found 42% of businesses were breaking the law regarding the use of interns, reports theToronto Star. The ministry inspected 56 businesses in the GTA, and of the 31 that had interns, 13 were breaking the Employment Standards Act. Common violations included not paying minimum wage or not providing vacation or public-holiday pay. The ministry issued 37 compliance orders to offending businesses, and demanded $48,543 in back wages be paid out. Companies involved in the blitz included advertising, public relations, computer design, and consulting firms. Internships are currently regulated under provincial legislation, which differs greatly from province to province. Increased attention to the plight of unpaid interns has led to the cancellation of several high profile unpaid internships, including Bell Canada’s. 2 federal NDP MPs recently introduced a private member’s bill calling for regulations designed to protect interns from unsafe or exploitative working conditions. Toronto Star

ON blitz finds 42% of businesses violating internship regulations Top Ten 10/01/2014 - 03:30 10/01/2014 - 03:30

A report published by CBC outlines the pressure faced by Canadian PSE institutions to curb sexual assault on campus. The report considers the impact of cases such as the University of Ottawa’s decision to suspend its hockey team following allegations of sexual assault and misconduct on a team road trip to Thunder Bay. uOttawa is currently undergoing a thorough review of its sexual misconduct policies, following the example of Lakehead University, which underwent a similar process after a student went public with allegations that a classmate had sexually assaulted her. Increasingly, institutions throughout North America are putting in place guidelines and rules that they hope will help them walk the fine line between supporting students and upholding the presumption of innocence of the accused. The University of California system, for instance, has adopted a "yes means yes" policy around consent. Some of these policies focus on varsity sports programs; however, athletes and athletics administrators say that athletes are being unfairly targeted based on inaccurate stereotypes. CBC

PSE institutions implement policies, guidelines to curb sexual assault Top Ten 10/01/2014 - 03:30 10/01/2014 - 03:30

UBC’s ISIS Research Centre has announced that it will re-brand itself as a result of the similarity between its name and the acronym commonly used for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In an announcement, the Centre said “in light of escalating and violent events associated with the name ISIS in the last several months, and after serious discussions with our stakeholders, we have decided to rename the ISIS Research Centre.” The Centre’s Executive Director James Tansey said that the name is a reference to the Egyptian goddess Isis, rather than an acronym, but acknowledged that there was some fear that current connotations of the name would cost the Centre sponsorships. “We just decided that given [the other] ISIS really seems to be sticking around  that at some point we just need to bite the bullet and make the change,” he said. Vancouver Sun

Postscript: December 9, 2014

The ISIS Research Centre at UBC’s Sauder School of Business has a new name: from now on, it will be the Sauder School of Business Centre for Social Innovation and Impact Investing. The Centre made the decision to rebrand itself given the ongoing violence being perpetrated by ISIS combatants in Syria and Iraq. “Over the past several years we have made great strides building positive associations between our work and our brand. These associations are being tarnished and we’ve become increasingly concerned that our outreach efforts are being hampered by miscommunications,” said Executive Director James Tansey. The new name emphasizes the centre’s work on impact investment, a strategy that balances social and environmental objectives with financial goals. UBC News

UBC's ISIS Research Centre to re-brand itself Top Ten 12/09/2014 - 15:54 10/01/2014 - 03:30

Senior citizens will be able to continue to take non-credit courses at the University of Saskatchewan, in spite of fears that the program would be cut. The university had previously announced that the program would be disbanded as part of cuts associated with the TransformUS program prioritization plan; the courses had been delivered through the Centre for Continuing and Distance Education, which was facing cutbacks. However, Patti McDougall, VP Teaching and Learning at uSask, has confirmed that the courses will instead be delivered through the College of Arts and Sciences. McDougall did say that fees for the courses could go up; currently, seniors pay $55 for a 16-hour course. “The program loses money every year. The University of Saskatchewan, the College of Arts and Sciences, won’t be looking to have this be a source of revenue generation, but I do think it’s possible that we would be able to recover the costs of offering it,” McDougall said. StarPhoenix

uSask will continue to offer seniors' education program Top Ten 10/01/2014 - 03:30 10/01/2014 - 03:30

St Clair College President John Strasser has raised a few eyebrows for his endorsement of Windsor mayoral candidate John Millson. Strasser said that Millson had been to the college to talk about jobs more often than Drew Dilkens, the councillor for the ward in which St Clair is located, who is also running for mayor. Dilkens questioned whether the President of a public institution should publicly support any candidate. Dilkens went on to speculate that Strasser may have a “beef” with the city over its investment in the University of Windsor’s downtown campus, but noted that the city has also played a “significant role” in St Clair projects such as its downtown MediaPlex, the Centre for the Arts, and the college’s partnership with Schlegel Villages. “If you look at the city’s history … there’s no doubt that the city has been committed to St Clair College, has invested in St Clair College,” said Dilkens. Strasser previously announced that he will retire next year. Windsor Star

St Clair President courts controversy with mayoral endorsement Top Ten 10/01/2014 - 03:30 10/01/2014 - 03:30

Google has released a list of the most-searched-for universities in the world. Topping the list is the University of Phoenix, followed by MIT, Open University, University of Calicut, and the University of California, Los Angeles. The results show a global interest in online education: searches for “Coursera,” for instance, have surpassed searches for “Cambridge University” in Google’s results. The figures also indicate a growing interest in Indian institutions, of which 5 appear in the top 20. While many of the institutions in the top 20 are big-name universities such as Stanford and Harvard, a number of smaller colleges, like Liberty College—an evangelical university in Virginia—also cracked the list. “The Internet is playing an ever-increasing role in the decision-making. Students are online searching and consuming content in all forms when they are deciding whether or not to go to university and deciding which universities to apply for,” said Harry Walker, Education Industry Head at Google. BBC

Online, distance ed dominates Google's list of most-searched-for universities Top Ten 10/01/2014 - 03:30 10/01/2014 - 03:30

Researchers at MIT, Tsinghua University (China), and Harvard have found that massive open online courses (MOOCs) can be as effective as face-to-face classes in terms of helping students learn. According to the report, pre- and post-test results showed that students in an edX course achieved gains greater than students in a traditional course, but less than students enroled in courses that included interactive engagement. “In spite of the extra instruction that the on-campus students had,” the researchers found “no evidence of positive, weekly relative improvement of our on-campus students compared with our online students.“ The researchers also found that improvement in students’ performance was consistent across a variety of criteria, including level of education, preparation in math and physics, and overall ability in the course. However, just 1,080 students of 17,000 who initially signed up attempted more than half the questions in the MOOC. Campus Technology | Full study

Researchers say MOOCs can be as effective as face-to-face classes Top Ten 10/01/2014 - 03:30 10/01/2014 - 03:30

Another German state, Hamburg, has moved to eliminate tuition fees in the wake of last month’s election of the centre-left Social Democrats. A spokesperson for the party said, “tuition fees keep young people from low-income families from studying and are socially disruptive.” Hamburg officials say they are confident that any shortfalls can be made up for through cuts and reallocations. However, administrators at the country’s universities are concerned that the move will lead to crippling funding gaps. “It is a catastrophe for the university. We were obliged to spend the fees we received on investment in teaching, and it gave us the chance to improve the teaching and infrastructure,” said Holger Fischer, VP of Hamburg University. Germany has a tradition of providing free education, and Fischer says that at this point fees will be difficult to re-introduce at a later date. The Guardian(UK)

Germany moves a step closer to abolishing all tuition fees Top Ten 10/01/2014 - 03:30 10/01/2014 - 03:30

43 Waterloo Regional Police officers were needed to disperse a crowd of approximately 1,000 students at an off-campus homecoming party near Wilfrid Laurier University on Saturday. According to reports, party-goers threw beer cans and bottles at officers as they got out of their cars. Police were forced to block access to the street to prevent more people from joining the party. Nobody was injured, but several vehicles, including police cruisers, were damaged, and residents were left to pick up a mess of broken glass and red cups. “State Street is usually a very quiet street,” said a WLU business student who lives nearby. “This was a party with a lot of people and it got out of control.” Another resident said that neighbours had been told on Saturday afternoon that a keg party was planned for a house on the street, but that nobody expected it to get out of hand. One student has been charged with assaulting a police officer with a weapon. The Record

Police break up massive homecoming party in Waterloo Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

York University yesterday announced a gift of $8 M from alumnus Doug Bergeron and his wife, Sandra, for its Lassonde School of Engineering. This new gift adds to the $2 M previously donated to the school by the Bergerons. YorkU’s new engineering building will be named the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence in recognition of the donations. The Bergeron Centre has been designed to facilitate a “flipped classroom” approach to instruction. Janusz Kozinski, Dean of the Lassonde School, said, “this support will give our students the opportunity to explore their passions and gain new perspectives in a home that’s completely different to any engineering school ever built in Canada.” Doug Bergeron added, “we want Canada’s most promising engineers and entrepreneurs to thrive, to innovate, and to eventually change the world. This bold new home for engineering at York University defies conventional wisdom and gives students the opportunity to learn in ways that were unthinkable before the dawn of the information age.” YorkU News Release | Globe and Mail

YorkU receives $8 M for new engineering building Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

The University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) has received $5 M from an anonymous donor to strengthen Indigenous education research. According to uToronto, the gift is the largest donation ever made to a Canadian education faculty specifically for Indigenous education research. The funds will be used to establish a prestigious fellowship and to launch a comprehensive 5-year initiative designed to identify the educational needs and aspirations of Indigenous peoples. The OISE Indigenous Education Initiative will focus on literacy during the first year, and will also conduct research in related areas, including Indigenous languages and revitalization, education governance, and literacy infrastructure. The focus of the initiative will be on Indigenous education in Canada, but it is expected the research will have far-reaching relevance to Indigenous peoples and educators around the world. “The OISE Indigenous Education Initiative fully recognizes and embraces the principles advanced by Indigenous peoples and educators,” stated OISE Dean Julia O’Sullivan. “The initiative will support important dialogue on the advancement and achievement of those very principles.” uToronto News

uToronto receives donation in support of Indigenous education Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) have signed a framework for collaboration that is intended to improve the ties between Canada’s colleges and universities, promote transferability of students, and promote further partnerships between institutions. Per the framework, the organizations will work to promote the value of sharing resources and information, to raise awareness of collaborative efforts in the public discourse, and to celebrate student success stories and promising practices. “Ensuring students have diverse options and pathways to education through enhanced collaboration between colleges, institutes, polytechnics, and universities is what this agreement is all about,” said CICan President Denise Amyot. “Improved transferability will also benefit learners by affording them more opportunities to participate in college/university partnerships, such as applied research, which delivers the skills needed by employers and communities.” AUCC News Release | CICan News Release | Framework Document

AUCC, CICan sign partnership agreement to enhance collaboration, transferability Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

Lambton College has announced it will add 3 new full-time programs in 2015, including a 3-year advanced diploma in Bio-Industrial Engineering Technology that is reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. The program will offer courses in areas such as industrial enzymes and bacteria, biomass, bio-fuels, and bio-based chemicals. Students will have access to training in industry-grade learning labs within the Centre of Excellence in Energy & Bio-Industrial Technologies. “Bio-industrial Technology has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, particularly in the Sarnia-Lambton region. This innovative program is exclusive to Lambton College and was designed with significant industry input to give students the knowledge and skills required for the safe and productive operation of various bio-industrial processes,” said Ranjan Bhattacharya, Dean of the School of Technology, Energy & Apprenticeship. Lambton will also add a 2-year Electromechanical Engineering Technician diploma and a one-year Ontario College Certificate in Aboriginal Social Justice. Lambton News

Lambton launches first-in-Canada bio-industrial technology diploma Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

Canada has launched a unique training program designed to help policy-makers manage migration through the use of monitoring and evaluation tools. Metropolis Professional Development (MPD)—an international network of immigration policy-makers and researchers—is offering the new certification program in order to address the growing issues of global migration and re-integration. MPD, housed at Carleton University, received $400,000 from the federal government for the initiative. A pilot version of the program ran during the summer, and a full version is planned for Toronto this fall, consisting of an expert panel from around the globe. “Many new countries are getting into the immigration game and don’t know what to do,” said Howard Duncan, Executive Head of MPD. “The global competition for talents and migrants is heating up. There is a huge demand and need for this kind of training.” Toronto Star

Canada launches new managing migration training program Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

An article in the Vancouver Sun highlights some of the ways in which BC PSE institutions are focusing on skill development, community engagement, and experiential learning. The article looks at 5 institutions: Langara College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Capilano University, the University of the Fraser Valley, and the University of Northern British Columbia. Langara promotes teaching innovation by supporting faculty with professional development funding and events on campus; it is also pursuing a partnership with UNBC to provide a venue for some of their programs. KPU’s vision for its future includes integration of applied and academic learning, small classes, and a focus on community engagement. CapilanoU has released an academic plan that seeks to bring in faculty with real-world experience and puts students to work in the field in which they are studying. For instance, students in CapilanoU’s animation program worked on the recent Disney movie Frozen. UFV is working closely with K-12 schools on aligning learning outcomes, and seeks to integrate trades training with liberal and professional education. Finally, UNBC is supporting experiential learning in its First Nations Studies classes and is also working on increasing the number of students involved in one-on-one research with faculty members. Vancouver Sun

BC PSE institutions focus on experiential learning, community engagement Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has released its annual Campus Freedom Index, which measures the state of free speech at Canada’s public universities. The index awards letter grades to each university in 4 areas: university policies, university practices, student union policies, and student union practices. This year, 5 universities—Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University, St Thomas University, University of King’s College, and the University of Lethbridge—were recognized as being the best universities in the country for “upholding the free exchange of ideas.” Last year, 6 institutions received “A” grades. Among student unions, the Acadia University Students’ Union, Brock University Students’ Union, Carleton University Students Association, Northern Undergraduate Students Society at the University of Northern British Columbia, and the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union received top grades. 24 universities received at least one “F” grade, with 14 earning an overall grade of “F.” 19 student unions received an overall “F” grade. JCCF News Release

JCCF releases annual Campus Freedom Index Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

Research funding competitions have become more aggressive since the economic downturn of 2009, with funders expecting more bang for their buck in smaller time frames than ever before. As a result, many researchers are finding grant applications to be an increasingly time-consuming—and stress-inducing—part of their job. “Right now, it’s a lottery. We have a lot of brilliant young investigators but I worry they won’t get a chance,” said Jim Wodgett, Scientific Director of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto. The current success rate of researchers applying for funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is just 15%. “But it’s not just about money. We need to consolidate and streamline the bureaucracy, to tear down the picket fences from around each funding organization,” said Wodgett, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Canada’s funding structures for biomedical research. Wodgett calls for less paperwork, more emphasis on interdisciplinary research, and greater investment in science. He also advocates for better communication between researchers and the public. Globe and Mail

Top scientist calls for streamlining of Canadian funding mechanisms Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

Educause, a US nonprofit organization of IT leaders working in PSE, has released a new report on student, faculty, and IT staff attitudes toward learning management systems (LMSes). According to the report, 99% of US institutions surveyed have an LMS in place. LMSes have an average age of about 8 years, and 15% of US institutions are planning to replace their LMS within the next 3 years. While faculty and students perceive LMSes as enhancing their teaching and learning experiences, few use the advanced features available in these systems to their fullest capacity. Users also reported being most satisfied with basic features and least satisfied with collaboration and engagement features. Students and faculty both reported that they would like to see enhanced features added to LMSes, especially around personalization and analytical capabilities. The report further says that many students come to college and university without the adequate knowledge they need to effectively use an LMS, and suggests that students be better included in training programs. Full Report

Educause releases report on learning management systems in PSE Top Ten 09/30/2014 - 03:30 09/30/2014 - 03:30

The King’s University in Edmonton has launched the Leder School of Business, thanks to $12 M in donations and commitments. The new business school is named after founding donor John Leder, President of Edmonton-based Supreme Group. The Leder School will offer programs and courses in 5 streams: Global Learning, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Accounting, and Distance Learning. KingsU is also working on the development of a Centre for Applied Learning within the Leder School. Students will have the opportunity to participate in international internships and exchanges in order to foster global awareness. “The Leder School of Business will offer business programs unique in western Canada, but also give students the critical and strategic thinking needed to succeed in business and life,” said President Melanie Humphreys. KingsU was one of the AB university colleges recently authorized to change their names to university. KingsU News

KingsU launches new Leder School of Business Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

BC’s Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is “appalled” to learn that as PSE institutions continue to offer tuition waivers and bursaries to foster children and former youth-in-care, the BC government is cutting back equivalent amounts from other support funding given to these youth. In one case, an 18-year-old foster child was awarded a $1,300 college bursary only to have the same amount deducted from the tuition funds granted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. “The whole point of universities doing this is basically to lessen the load of the financial burden of kids in care. It was not for the ministry to freeload and deduct the money from kids in care,” said Turpel-Lafond. The ministry defended the action by explaining that as a foster child, shelter and food costs are already covered, so it is acceptable to cut back the funds allocated for tuition. Turpel-Lafond said it would have been “decent” to let the teen keep the money for other expenses, such as tutoring or school supplies. Vancouver Sun

BC tuition waivers come with strings attached Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

Langara College has released its first Academic Plan, identifying priority areas to guide Langara’s growth and development through 2019. The 5 priority areas are Learning and Teaching; Student Support; Aboriginal Initiatives; International Initiatives; and Environmental, Financial, and Social Sustainability. The Plan is based on 18 months of consultations with faculty, staff, students, and external advisors, and is meant to be a living document that will be reviewed and adjusted on an annual basis. Each of the priorities will be executed by an Academic Plan Action Group and will rely on active support and participation from the Langara community. “The Academic Plan identifies who we are as an institution, what we believe in, where we are going, and how we are going to get there. It builds on what we are doing well, identifies where we can grow, and is designed to be adapted in response to new opportunities and challenges,” reads a statement by Provost and VP Academic and Students Brad O’Hara. Langara News Release | Academic Plan

Langara releases its first-ever academic plan Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

When it comes to applying for medical school, competition can be fierce, and the question of which school to attend for a pre-med program can be a tough one.Maclean’s recently took a look at the first-year cohort attending Canada’s 14 English and bilingual medical schools to determine where the students had most recently studied, finding that a majority (78%) had attended an institution with a medical school on campus. More than half (52%) attended one of 6 schools—McMaster University, University of Toronto, Western University, McGill University, University of British Columbia, and University of Alberta. Although these schools are known to be difficult, and therefore potentially one might graduate with a lower average, university administrators insist that they do not favour graduates from one school over another. Grades are making up less of the admissions criteria too, with things like MCAT performance, awards, past employment, volunteer activities, and other criteria rising in influence. The bottom line: students shouldn’t worry about avoiding the “hard schools,” but they also shouldn’t worry if they attend a smaller school, so long as they make sure to “round out their education with a rich resume.” Maclean’s

Majority of Canadian med students come from 6 schools Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

Sheridan College has announced that it will be an inaugural member of Canada Makes, a network of private, public, academic, and non-profit organizations that promote additive manufacturing. Canada Makes focuses on technologies including 3D printing, reverse engineering of 3D imaging, and the creation of medical implants and replacement human tissue. “Sheridan’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT) is one of the most sophisticated applied research labs for commercial 3D production on an academic campus in Canada. Through Canada Makes, we’re proud to provide SMEs across Canada with access to additive and direct digital manufacturing capabilities that would not otherwise be within their reach,” said Sheridan President Jeff Zabudsky. Sheridan News Release

Sheridan signs on as inaugural Canada Makes partner Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

A new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) finds that non-STEM PSE students lack sufficient opportunities to develop their numeracy skills. Moreover, the report suggests that Ontario is falling behind other jurisdictions when it comes to numeracy. “While there is broad consensus that literacy skills are essential for work and life in general, there is less consensus about numeracy, even though both are defined as essential skills by a number of sources,” the report says. It argues that numeracy is too often segregated into particular courses. Moreover, the report says that PSE institutions do not collect enough data regarding the numeracy skills of incoming students. The report calls for further integration of numeracy in PSE courses of study and calls on PSE institutions to implement numeracy assessments for incoming and outgoing students. HEQCO News ReleaseFull Report

HEQCO report calls for better integration of numeracy across PSE Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has published a letter from Premier Kathleen Wynne detailing the mandate of the province’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). The letter identifies 3 core priorities: helping people choose their path; ensuring an accessible, high-quality, and sustainable PSE system; and building Ontario’s integrated employment and training system. The letter calls on MTCU to improve apprenticeship completion rates; to better identify and meet the needs of under-represented learner groups, including Franco-Ontarians and students with disabilities; and to ensure that timely and relevant labour market information is readily available to all stakeholders. The letter also directs MTCU to focus on key outcomes for students, institutions, and the economy; to ensure that the Ontario Online system is ready to provide online courses for credit beginning in 2015; and to work to reallocate funding from the least effective training programs to the most effective. 2014 Mandate Letter

Ontario MTCU mandate letter outlines top priorities Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

Students in Generation Z—a term used to describe persons born after 1997—prefer to support companies and brands that reflect their values of social and environmental responsibility. The Globe and Mail reports that brands that are able to successfully earn the loyalty—and the business—of Generation Z tend to have a strong charitable platform, demonstrate transparency, and use smartphones and social media to reach their desired audience. Health has also been identified as a key concern of Generation Z. These values influence not only what Generation Z consumers buy, but where they like to work. Companies that are able to successfully recruit loyal employees offer perks including fitness facilities, concierge services, and open systems of communication. Generally, members of Generation Z value ethical companies and social consciousness, and believe in the power of their dollar to make change in the world. Globe and Mail

Generation Z looks for socially responsible companies, employers Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

College enrolment in the US has dropped for the second year in a row, according to new data from the US Census Bureau. Although the decline of 463,000 enrolments from 2012 to 2013 put the 2-year cumulative total at almost one million, it follows an expansion of 3.2 M between 2006 and 2011. The majority of the drop in enrolment occurred at 2-year colleges, which experienced a 10% decline from 2012–2013. Enrolment at 4-year colleges grew slightly, by 1%. The enrolment drop was equally divided between older and younger students, with enrolment of those 21 and younger falling by 261,000 and of those 25 and older by 247,000. Earlier this year, the US Department of Education predicted that PSE enrolment would grow by 14% from 2011–2022, but that the rate of growth would be much smaller than the increase seen in the previous 14 years. Inside Higher Ed  | Census Bureau News Release

College enrolment in US declines for second year Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

A provocative ad campaign launched this summer by Boston area Suffolk University has been put on pause, reports Inside Higher Ed. The campaign promoted Suffolk as anti-elite and a destination for hard-working students. Print ads that read “Suffolk students rely on their will to succeed, not their father’s will,” and “A university whose students have their nose to the grindstone instead of stuck up in the air” were described as attempts to separate Suffolk from the “noisy market” of Boston’s elite PSE institutions. Although the ads received some negative feedback on social media, the ad agency that produced the ads said there was also a lot of positive feedback. Greg Gatlin, VP of Marketing and Communications at Suffolk, said the decision to pull the campaign and explore other ideas is based on new leadership and “a desire to increase the university’s visibility in a larger region.” Inside Higher Ed

Suffolk University suspends controversial ad campaign Top Ten 09/29/2014 - 03:30 09/29/2014 - 03:30

McGill University has suspended a player on its varsity football team after the 22-year-old man was charged with armed robbery, assault, and uttering threats. In a news release, McGill said that “in line with the University’s varsity athletics guidelines, effective immediately, this player is suspended from the football team pending resolution of his Case by the court.” McGill also said that it will thoroughly investigate the matter and “take any and all measures that are deemed appropriate.” The player was arrested on Wednesday and was scheduled to be arraigned in court on Thursday. His name has not been released. McGill News Release | CBC

McGill suspends football player charged with assault Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

The Joyce Foundation has given the University of Windsor a donation of $10 M to create the Ed Lumley Bursary, named in honour of the institution’s Chancellor. The bursary will offer up to $8,000 per year to students in financial need who would otherwise be unable to attend university. In a news release, uWindsor described the bursary as “the most significant student support endowment in uWindsor history.” In recognition of the donation, uWindsor will name its new Wyandotte Street innovation centre The Joyce Entrepreneurship Centre. “We are deeply grateful to Ron Joyce and his foundation, and are indebted to Chancellor Lumley for never forgetting his roots in Windsor-Essex and his belief in the power of education,” said uWindsor President Alan Wildeman. uWindsor News Release

$10 M gift will fund bursaries at uWindsor Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

The University of Regina has received a donation of art valued at approximately $3 M from local resident Jacqui Shumiatcher. The donation includes 1,310 paintings and sculptures. The collection had been assembled over several decades by Shumiatcher and her husband. “The art that my husband and I collected over the years will be going to a wonderful new home and family. It will not only be seen, but appreciated, by the many generations who choose to attend the University of Regina,” Shumiatcher said. Some of the works will become a part of the uRegina President’s Art Collection, which is used for educational purposes and is regularly exhibited. Roughly 300 Inuit works from the collection will form the Shumiatcher Inuit Art Collection, to be stewarded on uRegina’s behalf by the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Shumiatcher’s gift will support uRegina’s Building Knowledge – The College Avenue Campus Renewal Project. uRegina News Release

uRegina receives gift of art collection Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has invested $1.2 M to expand PSE institutions’ access to Magnet, a career-networking platform developed in partnership with Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). Magnet is a non-profit initiative that provides students with access to labour market information and connections to approximately 60,000 Ontario businesses. 20 ON colleges and universities are currently members of Magnet, along with 30 community partners. “Ontario’s employers are telling us that they’re finding it difficult to connect with workers that have the skills they need. Magnet is not only going to address this barrier by connecting businesses with the right candidates, but also by creating youth employment opportunities across the province—it’s a win-win scenario,” said Allan O’Dette, President of the OCC. So far, 25,000 job-seekers have created profiles on Magnet. Ontario News Release

ON institutions partner with Magnet career-networking platform Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

Concordia University President Alan Shepard announced that the institution will offer administrative and support staff a “Voluntary Departure Program.” The program is being offered in order to help the university address what Shepard described as “budget compressions,” the result of recently announced cuts to provincial funding to PSE. “With the adoption of a budget by the government of Quebec in June, it was clear we would need to make adjustments to our 2014–2015 budget, aligning it with government allocations and expectations,” he said. Shepard also noted that the voluntary departure program was a suggestion put forward by the Concordia community. The budget cuts, Shepard said, “will require all of us to be resilient, resourceful, and innovative.” Concordia News | Montreal Gazette

Concordia to offer “Voluntary Departure Program” in response to QC budget cuts Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

The University of Calgary is among the top 10 young universities in the world, according to the latest QS rankings of world universities under 50 years old. uCalgary finished ninth overall in the rankings, up 4 spots from last year. The top-ten ranking positions uCalgary as the second highest-ranking school in North America, behind the University of California, Irvine, which finished in seventh. “For the University of Calgary to move into the top 10 against such impressive global competition really speaks to our growing reputation and the effort our university community is making to lead as a global intellectual hub,” said uCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon. Simon Fraser University also cracked the top 50, coming in at 16th. Nanyang Technological University in Singapore was the top-ranked institution, followed by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Australia had the highest number of universities appearing in the rankings at 10; the country's top-ranked school, the University of Newcastle, is ranked nineteenth. QS News Release | Full Rankings | CTV

uCalgary among QS Top 10 universities under 50 years old Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

The Financial Post has published a report on how business schools are adjusting to meet the needs of International and Indigenous students in the face of a diversifying student body. Murali Chandrashekaran, Associate Dean of UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says that there is a broad need for a more diverse approach to business education. Diversity, he said, is critical for long-term sustainability of global business. 76% of Sauder's business instructors have international backgrounds, up from approximately 40% 10 years ago. The school uses a team-teaching approach to provide a variety of perspectives to its students, who last year represented 32 different countries. Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business has introduced an EMBA program in Aboriginal Business and Leadership to promote Aboriginal leaders’ business education as well as to help managers working with First Nations communities build stronger relationships. The program relies on guest speakers from Aboriginal communities and counts chiefs and counsellors among its student body. “There’s a lot of expertise in that room,” said Program Director Mark Selman, “and the best faculty members are the ones who learn to take advantage of that and use it as an asset in the classroom.” Financial Post

Business schools offering international, Aboriginal programs to meet diversity needs Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

Young Canadian professionals are turning to professional degrees to give them an edge in a competitive job market, and universities are responding with interdisciplinary graduate programs, reports Maclean’s. Many students are also looking to complement previous degrees with further education. According to Benjamin Tal, a CIBC World Markets economist, a university education is not delivering the value, in terms of income and employment, as it once did, as employers increasingly look for experience and skills on top of a robust education. However, having too much education can backfire, warns Tal. “At one point, especially at the PhD level, you have a lot of people who are way overqualified and are actually finding it more difficult to find a job than people with a BA or an MA. This person also graduates … with no job experience.” Many students look to an MBA to provide the kind of business credentials they need to impress employers, and find that the degree equips them with the vocabulary they need to translate technical skills from their training in health sciences or engineering to the marketplace. Maclean’s

Graduates turn to additional degrees for edge on job market Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

An article in Marketing magazine questions why Canadian marketers don’t devote more attention to international students. The article cites Canada’s ambition to double the number of international students and researchers in Canada, as well as a 94% increase in the number of international students entering Canada in the past decade. These students spent more than $8 B and helped create 81,000 jobs in that period; moreover, as a market, international students are likely to enjoy a certain amount of disposable income. The author of the article notes that the number of countries from which international students originate can make a unified strategy impossible, but points to overarching trends that should inform international student marketing strategies. She suggests that brands draw insight from their multicultural marketing efforts and focus on digital marketing strategies, as well as on geo-specific campaigns centred around PSE campuses. Marketing

Brands miss out by not marketing to international students Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

The EU is promoting its Erasmus student exchange plan with the language of love. A new report on the program’s impact says 27% of participants met their current life partner during their time abroad. The report also says that 33% of Erasmus students had “hooked up” with people of another nationality, compared with 13% of students who had not traveled. According to the European Commissioner for Education Androulla Vassiliou, Erasmus students’ extracurricular activities have had a measurable impact. He said that the EU “estimates that around one million babies are likely to have been born to Erasmus couples since 1987.” European Commission spokesperson Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen added that the figure “is a great encouragement to young people to go and live abroad and open up to all the opportunities that exist if you are willing.” The EU also emphasized that the Erasmus program has led to job creation as well, and that Erasmus students were less likely to experience long-term unemployment. France 24

Erasmus exchange program has led to a million babies, says EU Top Ten 09/26/2014 - 03:30 09/26/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has announced that it will spend an additional $65 M to buy out the developer of the MaRS Discovery District's phase 2 building. This brings the total amount that the province has spent on the facility, designed to foster collaboration between scientific researchers and entrepreneurs, to nearly $309 M. Ontario Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid says that the buy-out will help the province “unlock the potential of the … building and ensure that the maximum return on our investment is realized.” He further suggested that the province may have use of the office space in the building, but added that “we’re not ruling anything out,” including re-selling the building in the future. Only one-third of the space in the phase 2 building is currently occupied; the phase 1 building is at capacity and fully leased. The province says that the total purchase price is the fair market value of the building, but critics describe the move as a bail-out. Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fideli warned that the costs associated with owning the building could continue to grow. “We’re talking about hundreds of millions more,” he said. Toronto Star

Ontario spends additional $65 M to buy out MaRS building Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 14:52 09/25/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has announced additional recipients of funding from the province’s Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLA) program and its On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) funding. The funding includes $6.8 M in CLA funding and $800,000 in OCEA funding for institutions in the Greater Toronto Area. OCAD University received funding to support entrepreneurship engagement on campus, with a particular focus on students from under-represented and at-risk communities; the University of Toronto received funding to establish a central Office of Entrepreneurship; Ryerson University will create entrepreneurship zones to provide training and support to young entrepreneurs; and Centennial College will develop a campus-linked accelerator focused on 8 priority neighbourhoods in Toronto in order to reach students who are most in need of assistance. George Brown College, Humber College, and Seneca College each received OCEA funding. Lambton College has also announced that it has received OCEA funding to launch The Cube, an on-campus entrepreneurial hub. Ontario will invest a total of $20 M over 2 years in the CLA program and $5 M over 2 years in the OCEA program. Ontario News Release | Lambton News Release

Ontario announces recipients of CLA, OCEA funding Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 03:30 09/25/2014 - 03:30

Mount Royal University on Sept 19 officially opened its Centre for Community Disaster Research. The centre is reportedly among the first of its kind in Canada; professor Tim Haney, who will head the Centre, says that it will be “the only disaster centre in Canada that focuses only on people, communities, and families, and that brings in the social aspect.” The need for the centre was identified in the wake of the Calgary floods of 2013. “I want to bring together faculty members at Mount Royal who are thinking about doing something disaster-related as well as community managers, government, and researchers to figure out what it is that we don’t know about how to mitigate disaster, how to make our communities more resilient, and what kinds of programs we can develop to meet those needs,” Haney said. He added that the number of annual disasters could double by 2050, emphasizing the need for additional research. Projects to be carried out by the Centre have received funding from several bodies including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, MRU’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability, and The Calgary Foundation’s New Initiative Program. MRU News Release

MRU opens Centre for Community Disaster Research Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 03:30 09/25/2014 - 03:30

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology was officially “re-launched” yesterday as Saskatchewan Polytechnic. The announcement was made at 4 simultaneous events at the institution’s several campuses. Along with the new name comes a new visual identity, featuring a grey and purple “energy path.” SaskPolytech has also adopted the tagline “tomorrow in the making.” President Larry Rosia said, “as a polytechnic, we are student-focused and employer-driven. What makes us different is our emphasis on applied learning that meets labour market needs, thus equipping students to build rewarding careers.” The road to the re-branding began in 2012 with the expansion of degree-granting authority in SK, which allowed the SIAST to develop applied degree programs; in 2013, the institution became a member of Polytechnics Canada. “We are very pleased to support this historic institution as it becomes Saskatchewan Polytechnic,” said SK Advanced Education Minister Kevin Doherty. SaskPolytech News Release

SIAST is now Saskatchewan Polytechnic Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 07:51 09/25/2014 - 03:30

The University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU) has decided to withhold student U-Pass payments for the duration of an ongoing lockout of Saskatoon Transit employees. “We’ve been very disappointed with our communication with what we thought was a major partner. We’ve had a relationship with Saskatoon Transit for a number of years now with the U-Pass. We didn’t get any heads up about any of this,” said USSU President Max FineDay. “Some students aren’t coming to class because they live way across town. They can’t get to their child’s day care and to class in time.” The USSU will hold back 60 cents per day for each of its 14,780 student members, totaling $8,868 daily as long as the lockout lasts. The organization added that it is investigating ways to return the money to students. Izabela Vlahu, President of the uSask Graduate Students’ Association, said that her organization plans to seek compensation from Saskatoon Transit. CBC

uSask Students' Union withholds bus pass money during Saskatoon Transit lockout Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 03:30 09/25/2014 - 03:30

Queen’s University Principal Daniel Woolf has announced his goals and priorities for the coming academic year. Woolf committed to increasing the number of opportunities for expanded credentials, including opportunities for experiential and entrepreneurial learning. Woolf also committed to sustaining Queen’s tri-council success rate, to supporting faculty engagement and development, and to maintaining Queen’s position among Canada’s top universities for faculty awards, honours, and prizes. Woolf pointed to the need to ensure the university’s financial stability by meeting its annual fundraising target, diversifying its revenue, and pursuing long-term sustainability for its pension plan. Woolf further intends to improve the institution's international profile through increased international enrolment at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as through the growth of international collaborations and partnerships. Finally, Woolf committed to promoting and developing top-quality faculty and staff with strong succession planning, well-developed competency models, refined hiring practices, and discussion among Deans around the matter of faculty renewal. Queen’s News

Queen’s Principal announces priorities for 2014-15 Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 07:51 09/25/2014 - 03:30

Cape Breton University has released its Accountability Report 2013/2014. The report emphasizes that CBU adds $87 M to the regional economy and is directly or indirectly responsible for close to 1,400 jobs at the university and in its surrounding communities. The report also outlines CBU’s plans to help the province meet its economic goals. CBU’s targets including attracting $6 M in research funds, increasing published research by 50%, and increasing student participation in research by 20%. The plan also calls for the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment to triple its research activity over 10 years. The plan is “positively framed, in terms of our contributions,” said CBU President David Wheeler, “but I think we’re also signaling that we’ve got further to go, and I think as we produce more of these reports in subsequent years, we’re going to be holding ourselves accountable for better and better performance year-on-year.” Full Plan | Chronicle-Herald (1) | Chronicle-Herald (2)

CBU highlights contributions, sets goals in new accountability report Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 03:30 09/25/2014 - 03:30

An immersive computer simulation technology developed by the Justice Institute of British Columbia is helping students in UBC’s Faculty of Medicine receive experiential training. The training simulation relies on JIBC’s web-based Praxis learning system. Students from various locations can gather to immerse themselves in a multimedia-rich environment, working independently or with other groups to respond to scenarios. The students’ activities are monitored and stored for later review. “The system is highly customizable. And because Praxis is web-based, UBC’s Faculty of Medicine saw a huge benefit in using the technology where you can bring together medical students, nursing students, pharmacy students, and others, and have them all learn and work together on the same simulation,” said Bob Walker, Simulation Specialist at JIBC’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation. JIBC News Release

JIBC-developed simulator enables experiential medical training at UBC Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 03:30 09/25/2014 - 03:30

A new report suggests that Canadian Muslim women are highly educated, but are also underemployed. The report, commissioned by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW), found that 24.2% of Muslim women 15 years of age and older had completed a high school diploma as their highest level of attainment, and 56.7% had postsecondary degrees or diplomas. Of the remaining 19%, many were still in high school. 8% of Muslim women with PSE experience had pursued an apprenticeship or trade certificate; 22.3% had graduated from a community college, CEGEP, or other similar institution; and approximately 40% had attained a bachelor’s degree. 12% had completed a master’s degree, and 1.7% held doctorates. 3% were medical degree holders. The report also found that the number of Muslim women pursuing STEM majors was increasing, and that more Muslim women were pursuing education at community colleges compared to 2001. However, the report also found that many professional Muslim women who possessed international credentials faced difficulties in meeting re-accreditation requirements. Furthermore, in spite of a high level of educational attainment, Muslim women faced challenges in the labour market: 16.7% of Muslim women aged 15 years and older were unemployed, a rate that is double the national average for Canadian women. CCMW News Release | Report Summary

Study finds that Canadian Muslim women are highly educated but underemployed Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 03:30 09/25/2014 - 03:30

A number of court cases in the US have some suggesting that age discrimination may be a significant factor preventing adjunct faculty members from obtaining tenure-track positions. Court cases in Washington State and Illinois, in particular, alleged that ageism played a role in long-time adjunct faculty members getting passed over for tenure-track positions. The Washington State Supreme Court last week overturned a lower court’s decision that had found in favour of Clark College, which had claimed that a “temporary” full-time instructor had been the “lowest-performing” of 4 interviewed candidates. Kathryn Scrivener, the faculty member in question, said that the college’s President had told her that there was a need for younger talent; Scrivener claimed, too, that the President had advocated hiring faculty with no experience. That President has since left the institution. Maria Maisto, President of the adjunct advocacy group New Faculty Majority, believes that while ageism is a significant issue, the cases also reflect a bias against longtime adjuncts. “If you’ve been an adjunct for a long time … the assumption is that you’re a failed academic,” she said. Inside Higher Ed

Ageism works against adjuncts applying for tenure-track jobs Top Ten 09/25/2014 - 07:52 09/25/2014 - 03:30

The University of Calgary’s Institute for Public Health has been renamed the O’Brien Institute for Public Health in recognition of a $12 M gift from David and Gail O’Brien. The funding will help the Institute attract additional senior-level investigators, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, and will also be used as catalyst funding to help secure provincial and national grants. One-third of the donation will be set aside as an endowment fund for the Institute. “We are hopeful the institute’s work will lead to huge strides in reducing the number of chronically ill as well as the challenges around health advocacy and prevention in Alberta,” said Gail O’Brien. uCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon added, “this gift is an important investment in better health and health care in our local, national, and global communities, coming from highly respected community leaders and tremendous friends of the University of Calgary.” uCalgary News

uCalgary Institute for Public Health renamed in honour of $12 M gift Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

PSE leaders are responding to recent data that show a decline in high-school direct enrolments to Ontario’s universities. Many experts, including Academica Group’s Ken Steele, have long warned that demographic shifts in the Canadian population would lead to an enrolment decline at many institutions. Although the drop in high-school direct enrolments was partially offset by the number of students returning to school after “gap years,” mature students, and international students, some are wondering about the implications of the numbers on ON’s Major Capacity Expansion Policy Framework. York University, which has been campaigning for a satellite campus in Markham, says that it expects the population of 18- to 21-year-olds in York Region to climb by about 19,000 by 2036. “Many of those will need to go to university close to home,” said YorkU VP Academic Rhonda Lenton. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD University, says that the situation does not yet amount to a “crisis.” OCADU has expanded its emphasis to include design and digital media, and believes this strategy will allow the institution to attract more students in the future. “It will just take time to reach out to families that haven’t seen design careers as having high employment rates,” Diamond said. Some institutions are relying on international students to make up the difference; however, as Steele has pointed out, there is a tipping point at which the proportion of international students can put a strain on student supports and services. Toronto Star

Ontario universities respond to fall enrolment figures Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

Vancouver Community College is suing Vancouver Career College over the acronym “VCC,” claiming that the latter institution is deliberately confusing potential students. The 2 institutions have been sparring over the acronym for years, but the conflict intensified with the advent of social media and digital marketing. In 2009, Vancouver Career College changed its website to and allegedly paid to promote itself using Internet search results for “VCC” and “Vancouver Community College”; the career college also began to use the name @VCCollege on Twitter. In his opening arguments on Monday, Vancouver Community College lawyer Chris Wilson alleged that the career college “decided that it would jump on the bandwagon of the reputation of [Vancouver Community College] with this new identity VCCollege.” Vancouver Community College has been operating since 1965, while Vancouver Career College opened in 1996. Vancouver Sun

Vancouver colleges in court over “VCC” abbreviation Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

Annette Trimbee, the new President of the University of Winnipeg, has promised to emphasize collaboration over competition during her tenure, and to pursue an institutional mission of social justice. At a simple inauguration ceremony, Trimbee spoke of the importance of a deliberate approach to enrolment growth that would focus on Indigenous students. “We can be a magnet for Indigenous students from around the world,” she said. She also emphasized the need for differentiation between uWinnipeg and the University of Manitoba, in order to better serve the province’s needs. “We should collectively talk about our growth plans and make sure they make sense,” Trimbee told attendees. “Growth should be intentional, that’s tied to our core mission. I’m going to be talking a lot about developing leaders.” The University of Manitoba recently released a strategic enrolment plan focused largely on attracting Indigenous students. Winnipeg Free Press

New uWinnipeg President says institution should be a “magnet for Indigenous students” Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

New data offer insight on how some of Ontario’s universities are using digital marketing tools to reach prospective students. The data, based on the practices of institutions at the recent Ontario Universities Fair (OUF), breaks down universities’ use of data capture, program-specific email, action items in email, and social media integration, as well as how quickly they responded to contacts after the event. According to the report, few universities are taking advantage of customer relationship management (CRM) software or marketing automation, though several featured innovative digital approaches to attracting attention. Nipissing University collected Twitter handles from students for post-OUF engagement, while Queen’s University and York University featured “tagboards” that visually represented social media interactions with prospective students. Other institutions found a low-tech approach to be most effective. Algoma University reported that it saw an increase in leads since switching back to paper-based data collection from a digital method, which it says is more reflective of the institution and the type of student it hopes to attract. Soshal Blog Post

How Ontario universities used digital marketing at the OUF Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

Students at the University of Guelph are concerned about the growing number of student-centric high rise condominiums in the city. A 160-unit development is currently under construction, while a second 77-unit building is planned for an adjacent site. These developments were originally intended to be targeted at retirees, but are now being marketed to young people, including students and recent graduates. The UoGuelph’s Central Student Association (CSA) says that they have a few concerns about the developments. First, they say that because the new units are more costly than the average rental in the city, they could drive up rental fees elsewhere. Second, they say that the buildings could promote isolation in the student population. “You’re not moving in with a group of folks you know, so there’s a tendency to stay in a room and feel isolated,” said the CSA’s Local Affairs Commissioner Brittany Skelton. Guelph Mercury

UoGuelph students union concerned about high-end condo developments Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

UBC held an admission ceremony on Tuesday for Henry Sugiyama, a student who was denied entry into the university in 1945 due to the War Measures Act. At the time, the War Measures Act prohibited Canadians of Japanese ancestry from living on Canada’s West Coast. Sugiyama instead went to study at the University of Manitoba, the only university that would accept him, where he eventually earned a medical degree and pursued a career as a doctor. “I was lucky in a way. UBC did not have a medical program at the time. If I had gone there, I would not have become a doctor,” said Sugiyama. On Tuesday Sugiyama attended the first class in UBC’s new Asian Canadian and Asian Migrations Studies program, which was created as part of UBC’s effort to recognize its own role in the province’s internment policy. UBC has also awarded honourary degrees to 76 students who were victims of removal. UBC News Release | UBC News | Globe and Mail

UBC honours Japanese-Canadian student denied admission in 1945 due to War Measures Act Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

New data from the Conference Board of Canada shows that while the income gap between men and women is shrinking, the divide between younger and older workers is growing. “Age rather than gender is becoming the new divide in our society,” said Conference Board Vice-President David Stewart-Patterson. Young people, he said, “face lower wages and reduced pension benefits even for the same work at the same employer.” Employers frequently offer new hires less pay and reduced pensions. Canadians between the ages of 50 and 54 have 64% more disposable income than those aged 25–29, up from 47% in the mid-1980s. These figures should be cause for concern, said Stewart-Patterson, as they could impact the government’s ability to generate tax revenues as well as economic growth, especially as the baby-boomer generation begins to exit the workforce. He also said that young people will increasingly become “fed up” with their situation. “Younger people are starting further behind, rather than getting ahead, which is where we need them to be,” said Stewart-Patterson. Conference Board News Release | Full Report | Financial Post | Globe and Mail

Gen Y losing out in income gap between generations Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

Major gifts are becoming an increasingly critical fundraising activity for US PSE institutions, but some colleges and universities are having trouble attracting and retaining talent in that field. The average tenure of a major-gifts officer is just 18 to 24 months, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. As a result, many colleges are working on identifying the qualities that mark the best candidates for the role. Among major-gifts officers at US colleges, most can be classified into 5 types: “Cultivator,” “Fixer,” “Adapter,” “Academic,” and “Lone Ranger.” However, research indicates that the most successful combine traits from each of these types, including behavioural and linguistic flexibility, intellectual curiosity, information synthesis skills, and assertiveness. Such persons are adept at "code switching" when pitching to donors of widely different backgrounds and interests, and are also able to successfully unpack and interpret data produced by various institutional offices. The Chronicle of Higher Education

Particular skill-sets characterize successful major-gifts officers Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

A finance professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business has turned to Google Glass to help him provide feedback on student papers. Michael Gofman uses the technology to record his commentary on student assignments as he reads them; students then receive a short video that reflects his thoughts as he grades the work. “We’re not just showing their grade and what they did wrong, but how they can improve in the future. The technology was the perfect fit for the problem. Using Google Glass to deliver feedback helps students understand the material better,” Gofman said. Students have responded positively to the new approach: Gofman’s student evaluation scores related to the quality of his feedback increased by 38% over his scores for the previous year, when he did not use the technology. “I think the best way to learn through mistakes is by seeing someone explain it to you,” said one student. Campus Technology

Prof provides video feedback on student assignments with Google Glass Top Ten 09/24/2014 - 03:30 09/24/2014 - 03:30

Wilfrid Laurier University has announced an agreement to acquire Market Square, a 360,000 square-foot facility in downtown Brantford. Per its agreement with the City of Brantford, WLU will purchase the space for $5.8 M with payment to come in the form of 7.5 years of free rent for the portion of the facility currently occupied by the city. The new space will meet the needs of a projected growth in enrolment at WLU’s Brantford campus, as well as accommodate the expansion of WLU’s partnership with Conestoga College. The university will commence a comprehensive planning exercise to determine how to most effectively use the space. WLU also recently acquired land and funding to build the WLU Brantford YMCA Postsecondary Athletics Recreation Complex. “This acquisition, combined with our investment in the Laurier YMCA project on Colborne Street, is an indication of our long-term investment in the continued growth of Laurier in Brantford,” said Brian Rosborough, Senior Executive Officer at WLU Brantford. WLU News Release

WLU acquires 360,000 square-foot facility in downtown Brantford Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

Queen’s University officially opened the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Saturday. The new $63 M, 80,000 square-foot facility features a 560-seat concert hall, a 150-seat “black box” studio theatre, an art gallery, a screening room, and rehearsal space. It will serve as the new home for the university’s fine arts, film and media, drama, and music departments. The building was made possible by a $31 M donation from Queen’s alumni Alfred and Isabel Bader, as well as $15 M each from the provincial and federal governments. “It’s taken 10 years of planning. It’s lovely to see it up and running,” said Isabel Bader. Queen's News | The Whig

Queen’s opens Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 14:18 09/23/2014 - 03:30

Sault College has announced that it will move its peace and conflict studies program to Toronto; in addition, it has signed an MOU with Collège Boréal to offer a French delivery option for the program. Sault President Ron Common said that moving the program to Toronto will provide students with “access to a wider array of related global activities, advocacy work, social movements, and peace organizations. The opportunities to partner with like-minded individuals are significant.” The MOU specifies a 5-year partnership, but Sault College Director of Marketing and Communications Susan Hunter said that there is “hope of continuing collaborations thereafter … Management teams at both of the northern colleges recognize a unique partnership opportunity for Ontario’s 2 premier colleges in offering strong postsecondary peace education programming.” Sault’s peace and conflict studies diploma program is reportedly the only one of its kind in Ontario. Sault Star

Sault College partners with Collège Boréal to move peace and conflict studies program to Toronto Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

More than 50 University of Waterloo students and some parents marched into the offices of a local property developer to demand the return of their security deposits after being unable to move into their housing due to construction delays. The students had signed a lease agreement with an expected occupancy date in September; however, construction on the building remains far from finished. Some students were forced to stay in a hotel until alternative accommodations could be arranged. Others have been staying with friends while they wait for construction to finish. “They have been given the runaround. This is a breach of their contract,” said Alex Diceanu of the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, who organized the demonstration. Another student said, “I’ve been really stressed and exhausted. I need this weekend to rest and do homework.” An employee in the developer’s office took letters from the students, who left the building peacefully. The Record

uWaterloo students demand their money back from developer of unfinished apartment complex Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

The University of Windsor has announced that it has signed a MOU with China to study the market for Chinese-made electric vehicles in North America. The project will involve the Auto21 Network of Centres of Excellence as well as the faculty of engineering, and would be conducted on behalf of the China Machinery Industry Federation and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade-Automotive Branch. Tony Faria, Co-Director of the Office of Automotive and Vehicle Research at the University of Windsor, said that the particulars of the deal have yet to be confirmed, but that there is the potential for the partnership to grow into “a much bigger contract.” He also said that there may be the potential for a Chinese manufacturing facility to be established in Canada. However, he also admitted that “it would be a tough sell. Right now, electric vehicles themselves are a tough sell because of the cost, range limitations, and availability of charging stations.” Still, many are optimistic about where the deal could lead. “It’s a big deal for Windsor,” said Windsor city councillor Drew Dilkens. “It positions the University and their research capability and, at the end of the day, brings jobs to the community.” Windsor Star

uWindsor signs MOU to study market for Chinese electric vehicles Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

An article in Maclean’s reports on the increasing tendency in Canadian PSE to integrate elements of business education into a wide range of non-business programs. The article highlights programs including the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science Technology program at York University, the Creative Industries program at Ryerson University, and the joint major in business and the environment at Simon Fraser University. “I think students are aware that 4 years down the line, there are going to be a lot of jobs that we haven’t even heard of yet. They’re aware of the rapid change in employment sectors; they’re aware they may have to create their own jobs,” said Ira Levine, the founding Director of the Ryerson program. “The idea is that, fully sensitized to each other, we could help each other overcome that traditional gap between what we sometimes call the suits … and creative.” McGill University offers a course on “The Business of Music” that similarly works to tear down the wall between art and business. “Many musicians can make a life out of their music. It’s just a matter of knowing the environment and how to do it well,” said course professor Jui Ramaprasad. Maclean’s

Canadian institutions integrating business education into variety of programs Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

Fanshawe College is offering students a new app designed to ensure their safety. The app, called Stay Safe Fanshawe, has a wide variety of features including a real-time security feed, urgent alerts, integration with safety programs like Safe Walk, information about special programs for women, bus routes and schedules, and a function that allows students to send an “I’m OK” message to a pre-programmed number in case of an emergency on campus. The app also includes a safety toolkit that turns a student’s smartphone into a flashlight or a personal alarm. “Safety at your fingertips is what it is. It’s everything we can do to keep you safe while you’re on campus, and help you to succeed as a student,” said Brent Arseneault, Special Constable for Community and Crime Prevention Programs. Metro

Fanshawe provides comprehensive safety app for students Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

New research sheds light on barriers that prevent women from entering science- and math-related careers. According to the data, only 18% of Canadians who had considered a career in technology were women. Of those women who had not considered a career in technology, 29% said that it was because they thought they lacked the skillset to get into a technology field, while 11% said they had not been encouraged to develop skills in science or math. When asked about major barriers that prevent women from pursuing careers in technology, 32% of survey respondents agreed that girls are encouraged to pursue other fields instead. 87% of survey respondents said that they believed more curriculum at the high school level was important to encouraging girls to enter into tech, 83% said that more curriculum at the PSE level was important, and 87% said that mentorship by other women was important. MasterCard Press Release

Early encouragement key to women's pursuit of tech careers Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

The Council for Graduate Schools (CGS) has released a new report on graduate enrolment in the US. According to the report, applications to US graduate schools were up 1% between fall 2012 and fall 2013. This contributed to a 6.1% increase for the period from fall 2008 to fall 2013. Most first-time graduate students were enrolled in business (17.6%), education (17.4%), and health sciences (12.9%). The growth in first-time graduate students was driven largely by an 11.5% growth in international students, while the number of US citizens and permanent citizens who were first-time graduate students dropped by 0.9%. 57.1% of first-time graduate students in fall 2013 were women. Total graduate enrolment fell by 0.2% between fall 2012 and fall 2013. 57.9% of all graduate students in fall 2013 were women. Inside Higher Ed | Full Report

International students drive modest growth in US graduate enrolments Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

The latest front in the competition between US college and university campus recreation facilities is aquatic, reports the New York Times. In 2016, Louisiana State University will unveil its new “lazy river”—a water ride for students to leisurely float down on rafts or inner tubes. According to LSU, the lazy river—which will be shaped into the school's initials—was the feature requested most by students when asked what they wanted in a new recreation facility. In building the water feature, LSU is trying to keep up with some of its rivals. Auburn University offers students a 45-person hot tub and a 20-foot aquatic climbing wall; North Dakota State University is planning a new facility that includes a zipline that spans a 36-foot water vortex and a swim-up fireplace. Such features are all part of a trend that is seeing campus recreation centres move away from exercise and toward “health and wellness,” with social spaces and lounge areas. “Students—I don’t know if demand is the right word—but certainly they expect that the amenities to help them have a balanced life will be in place,” said Laurie Braden, Director of Recreation at LSU and President of NIRSA, a collegiate recreation professional organization. New York Times

Aquatics latest craze in US college recreation facilities Top Ten 09/23/2014 - 03:30 09/23/2014 - 03:30

The Toronto Star reports that Canada’s federal government has admitted to monitoring as many as 800 demonstrations and events over the last 8 years, including public lectures, protests, and rallies at PSE institutions. The reports, collected by the Government Operations Centre (GOC), include briefs prepared by CSIS as well as the RCMP that focus on First Nations' protests and environmental activism, but extend to other matters as well. Among the events monitored were a panel discussion at Concordia University on colonialism and race relations in Quebec, a 2010 rally in support of First Nations University of Canada, and various student protests in Quebec. The government has defended these practices, claiming that the monitoring was necessary to protect public safety. A spokesperson for the GOC issued a statement to the Star stating that “the GOC does not conduct surveillance operations, does not conduct intelligence gathering, and does not obtain or hold any private or personal information pertaining to Canadian citizens.” Toronto Star (1) | Toronto Star(2)

Ottawa keeps tabs on student protests, public lectures Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

The council of the University of Saskatchewan has voted to rescind the institution’s “Vision 2025: From Spirit to Action” mission statement. Council member Howard Woodhouse, an education professor who voted in favour of rescinding the mission statement, said that Vision 2025 “was written by technocrats, and it’s going to inspire nobody. It’s an uninspiring, flawed, inert document.” John Rigby, who introduced the motion to rescind the mission statement in June, said that he did so “as a way to release future leadership from a statement that had been recently approved from a leader who was shortly thereafter terminated.” However, Rigby on Thursday voted against adopting the motion to rescind, stating that “the narrative that sprang up around the motion was that the motion was a way of expressing disapproval of quite a lot of things that had happened in the past that I don’t necessarily disagree with.” In other uSask news, a judge on Tuesday dismissed the institution’s appeal of an arbitrator’s ruling against the power of the university President to veto tenure decisions. This power was removed per uSask’s new collective bargaining agreement with its faculty union, which will go before the board of governors next month. StarPhoenix (Mission Statement) | StarPhoenix (Veto)

uSask rescinds mission statement, court upholds elimination of president's tenure veto Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

The University of Alberta's endowment fund has for the first time surpassed the $1 B mark. The fund's growth was driven by strong investment returns and recent significant donations. “The engagement, advocacy, and generosity of our supporters will benefit generations to come, and I want to thank our donors for their contribution to our community,” said uAlberta President Indira Samarasekera. Samarasekera made the announcement at what will be her final “state of the university” address. Samarasekera indicated that she feels there is a need for “recalibration” of senior salaries at the university. “You have to look increasingly at what the public thinks is appropriate. You don’t want a race to the bottom, but I do think there has to be a discussion about what is appropriate.” She also said that the university will need to hire more professors and convince more high school students to attend PSE. uAlberta expects to name Samarasekera's successor by year's end. uAlberta News Release (Endowment) | uAlberta News Release (State of the U) | Edmonton Journal

As uAlberta endowment crosses $1 B threshold, President predicts “recalibration” of senior salaries Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

The Yukon government has committed $6.3 M to Yukon College’s Yukon Research Centre. The funding will support and increase collaborative research, innovation, and outreach programs focused on climate change, cold climate innovation, environmental science, society and culture, and technology innovation. The funding will be distributed over 5 years, and is in addition to recent capital funding that will allow for renovations to the centre. “The funding will allow the Yukon Research Centre to strengthen commercial relationships with local businesses, increase the flow of information and development of skills in the knowledge economy, and increase excellence in northern science and technology here at home,” said Minister of Education Elaine Taylor. Arctic research recently received support from the federal government, with the establishment of the National Research Council (NRC) Arctic Program. Yukon News Release

Yukon Research Centre receives $6.3 M from territory Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

Quebec’s PSE institutions are bracing themselves for looming cuts to the provincial budget for education. QC Premier Phillippe Couillard recently said that the province’s financial situation is worse than had been anticipated. “Instead of a deficit of $1.75 billion for 2014–15, we are facing a deficit of $5.8 billion. So we have to make a major effort and, naturally, everyone has to participate,” said Couillard. The cuts have yet to be confirmed, but McGill University says that it is prepared. “We had anticipated that the (Quebec) budget would not have the kind of resources that had been talked about earlier. The figures are not what we would like to see, but we had prepared for them. We are not in a crisis situation,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. McGill is current reviewing the Règles budgétaires, a document distributed earlier this month to institutions that outlines spending details. QC’s PSE leaders are planning to meet with government officials to discuss the extent of the funding cuts and to clarify some points. Neither the results of the review process nor the meeting with the government is expected to happen for several weeks. Montreal Gazette | McGill News

QC PSE institutions prepare for looming budget cuts Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

Alberta’s new Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, Donald Scott, has pledged to restore the funding to PSE institutions that was cut in the 2013 budget. The province has already restored $82.5 M of the $147 M that was cut in 2013, although some suggest that the funding was not allocated fairly. Scott told Metro News that his first priority as minister has been to meet with student groups from across the province to discuss their concerns, including the possibility of market-based tuition increases. Scott said that the government may extend the deadline for such proposals, but that no decisions would be reached before he took time to look into the issue further. “We want to make sure the young people in this province have great access to not only postsecondary education, but apprenticeship and technical training. Funding is at the core of that,” Scott said. No timeline was given for the restoration of funds, although Scott did note that it was a top priority for upcoming budget discussions. Metro News

AB’s new PSE minister vows to restore funding cut in 2013 Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

The Master of Management (MMgt) degree, already popular in Europe, is becoming increasingly popular in Canada, reports the Globe and Mail. The program differs from the more common MBA in that the MMgt is directed at students from non-business academic backgrounds and does not require job experience. The Sauder School of Business at UBC, home of one of the few MMgt programs in Canada, is celebrating 2 recent successes for its MMgt program. First, it is the only North American school to be featured on the Financial Times annual ranking of MMgt programs, entering the ranking at number 49. In addition, UBC recently approved a new dual-degree program that will allow undergraduate students from a variety of programs to simultaneously take business courses, shortening the time it takes to complete an undergraduate degree and the MMgt. “Employers are looking for people with diverse backgrounds but with a common language of business and who can hit the ground running,” said Murali Chandrashekaran, Associate Dean of professional graduate programs at UBC. Globe and Mail

Master of Management degrees becoming more popular in Canada Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

A new article by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley argues that teaching evaluations offer little value as measures of teaching quality. Philip B Stark and Richard Freishstat say that traditional, Likert scale-based evaluations offer “an air of objectivity simply because they are numerical,” but too strongly reflect snap judgments and pre-existing biases. Averaging results, they say, is not appropriate in teaching evaluations. Rather, they suggest reporting score distributions and response rates. They also say that evaluations should not ask questions that are too broad or for which students lack the information to respond, such as whether the course was valuable. Stark and Freishstat say it would be more valuable to ask about students’ experiences and enjoyment. The authors propose an alternate system that focuses less on averaged evaluation scores and more on faculty members’ teaching portfolios, syllabi, student comments, and peer evaluation. “If we want to understand what’s going on in the classroom, we actually have to look at it. You can’t subcontract the evaluation of teaching to students,” said Stark. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Article

Scholars say teaching evaluations mistake "consumer satisfaction" for "product quality" Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

Colleges and universities in the US are realizing the benefits of taking a more targeted approach to recruiting, often with the use of modelling software that identifies the most likely candidates to accept an admissions offer. “We were wasting our time messing with a lot of these inquiries,” said Andrew Bills, VP Enrollment at High Point University in North Carolina. High Point has used modeling techniques to grow from a freshman class of 412 in 2005 to 1,370 this year. Houston Baptist University uses modeling techniques not just to target students but also to evaluate their traditional recruitment tactics. Data helped them decide to send viewbooks to just 2,000 targeted students rather than the usual 12,000. Doing so cut costs but enrolment still increased. However, some have expressed concerns that such targeting will lead to some colleges focusing on wealthier students. Inside Higher Ed

Data-driven applicant modeling improves recruiting efficiency Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

Some campus officials are concerned that the sheer number of text messages, emails, and other alerts that students receive from PSE institutions are causing many students to tune out. “The idea behind them is that they’re for emergencies, but because a lot of the times it’s about ‘It could rain this afternoon or it might storm later,’ a lot of the time I just don’t care to read them,” said one student. The problem is compounded when institutions send the same message via multiple media. Scott G Burnotes, Director of Emergency Management at the University of Miami, said, “to get people to take action, individuals need to hear something from at least 3 different sources.” Proponents say that the volume of alerts is necessary because the cost of not alerting students could be too great. “It’s probably a little bit of an annoyance for them, but if something turned into a bigger event, it would have saved people’s lives,” Burnotes said. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) 

Over-use of campus alerts can cause recipients to tune out Top Ten 09/22/2014 - 03:30 09/22/2014 - 03:30

A student was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries on Wednesday after an altercation between 2 males on the combined University of Ontario Institute of Technology/Durham College campus. Police say the 22-year-old victim was stabbed by the other male, who then fled the scene. Police are investigating and have asked the public for help locating the suspect. In a statement, Durham said, “as the safety of everyone in our campus community is of the utmost importance to Durham College and UOIT both the college and university are very concerned about this incident and the injured student.” No further updates on the condition of the victim had been released by press time. At Carleton University, 2 men were arrested on Thursday after an altercation resulted in both men receiving stab wounds. Although the incident occurred on campus, it is unclear whether the men were students or not. Metro News reports that both men sustained minor injuries. CTV News | | Durham Statement | Ottawa Citizen | Metro News

3 men injured in 2 separate stabbings on ON campuses Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

Officials say the risk of Ebola spreading to Canada is very low; however, Canadian PSE institutions are taking necessary precautions to ensure that the disease does not afflict campuses. International student offices are contacting students who may have recently traveled to affected areas and encouraging them to keep a close eye out for symptoms of the disease. Ryerson University, for instance, has asked these students to check their temperature twice daily for 21 days. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), approximately 5,500 students from affected countries studied in Canada in 2013. Most of these students were from Nigeria and Senegal, which have reported cases of the disease but have not been affected nearly to the degree that Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia have. Ontario’s chief medical officer told universities and colleges that “there are currently no cases of Ebola virus disease in Canada and the risk to Canadians is very low.” University Affairs

Canadian universities take precautions in light of Ebola epidemic Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has committed $3.3 M through its Campus Linked Accelerators (CLA) program to be shared by Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. The 2 universities—in partnership with Communitech, an innovation commercialization company—will use the funds to enhance entrepreneurship programs. At uWaterloo, these will include the Conrad Business Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, the Velocity program, St Paul’s Greenhouse, and the Accelerator Centre; at WLU, the funding will go toward the LaunchPad program. “Our Universities are the engine room powering Canada’s innovation capital in Waterloo Region,” said uWaterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur. WLU President Max Blouw added, “we are grateful to the provincial government for this significant investment in, and endorsement of, our entrepreneurship programs.” The Waterloo region CLA is one of 10 to be established by the Ontario government, with a total of $20 M committed to the project. WLU News Release | uWaterloo News Release

uWaterloo and WLU receive $3.3 M from Ontario for Campus Linked Accelerator program Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

Laurentian University has launched its new School of the Environment, allowing existing programs to be housed under one enhanced identity. The new school will consist of 5 programs: environmental studies, environmental science, études de l'environment, science communication, and archaeology. The school is designed to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration while attracting more students to the university’s environment-related programs. "We're seeing that divide between hard sciences and the humanities coming down and a lot more engagement from all sides," said inaugural Director Brett Buchanan. "Networks are already going on between faculty and students." The school will share space with the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture, although there is the possibility of a stand-alone building in the future. Sudbury Star

Laurentian celebrates new School of the Environment Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

Memorial University has released a draft of its strategic internationalization plan. The plan issues 8 recommendations intended to support MUN’s international and intercultural initiatives. The plan recommends developing further intercultural competencies among students, faculty, and personnel. In addition, the plan calls on the university to aggressively strengthen structures for attracting and retaining international students, faculty members, and other personnel. The report further recommends transitioning MUN’s International Centre into an Internationalization Office with a mandate to facilitate, coordinate, promote, and monitor international activities and to implement the strategic plan. The plan also recommends that MUN better articulate, communicate, and market MUN’s value proposition, that the university design and implement centralized data collection and tracking for international initiatives, and that all academic programs support international learning outcomes. The document also calls for the creation of full-degree academic programming anchored at MUN’s Harlow campus in England. MUN News Release | Full Plan

MUN releases draft of strategic internationalization plan Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

The CBC reports that the University of Prince Edward Island is considering the adoption of “Freedom credits,” which allow students to opt for a pass or fail rather than a full mark in some courses. Such credits would not be available to students for courses in their core area of study, but are intended to encourage students to pursue potentially challenging electives without fear of their effect on their GPA. “It’s about flexibility, it’s about opportunities for students to have a broader experience for university when they’re here,” said UPEI Registrar Kathleen Keilly. However, some are skeptical of the plan. A professor in the Department of English and Theatre worries that a pass/fail grade on a transcript might be a red flag to graduate programs or employers. UPEI is carefully evaluating the merits of the plan. Keilly said, “it’s under review for areas like how do you get considered, what courses will qualify, how it’s going to impact your transcript, how many courses can you do, what would be the impact on scholarships and awards, how does it affect GPA or not.” CBC

UPEI considering implementing"freedom credits" for electives Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

The University of Manitoba has announced plans to develop a new master’s degree program in Human Rights, reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. The program will be developed in collaboration between the faculties of Graduate Studies, Arts, Law, Education, and Social Work, as well as with uManitoba’s Centre for Human Rights Research, the Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, and the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The interdisciplinary program will prepare students to become educators, practitioners, researchers, professionals, and public intellectuals who will bring a human rights perspective to their careers in the public or private sectors. “It’s exciting and timely to see the development of a new master’s degree program attract the participation of so many disciplines and faculties across the university … It is indeed an area that is important for all of our province’s educational institutions and will open doors to positive dialogue and collaboration,” said uManitoba President David Barnard. uManitoba News Release

uManitoba to offer Master of Human Rights program Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary has announced the creation of the Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) Business Venture Group. In partnership with Innovate Calgary, this new legal clinic will provide new businesses with pro bono legal advice as well as offer law students the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience. “The clinic allows us to give back to the community in a unique way, while offering students valuable legal experience and giving new businesses the support they need to get … up and running,” said Ian Holloway, Dean of the Faculty of Law. Students working in the clinic will be mentored by a practicing corporate-commercial lawyer and gain experience drafting legal documents and providing information on typical entrepreneurial legal matters. The clinic was made possible in part by a $500,000 donation from BLG. uCalgary News Release

uCalgary Faculty of Law opens clinic to help start-ups Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

The Law Students’ Society of Ontario (LSSO) has released the results of a survey of students at 5 of the province’s law schools. The data suggest that law students are concerned about the rising cost of education, as well as other barriers to accessibility. According to respondents, 30% of law students expect to graduate without any money owing to the government or banks; however, the average debt load for an indebted law student increases from approximately $35,000 for first-year students to $71,000 for third-year students. These costs, the LSSO says, prevent less affluent but qualified students from pursuing legal education, and have a negative effect on students’ mental health and stress levels. The LSSO also says that it believes that debt from previous degrees holds some students back from pursuing legal education, and that debt forces some students to alter their career aspirations based on what they can afford to do. The data also indicate that while aggregate visible minority representation is higher at law schools than in the general Canadian population, the proportion of Aboriginal students and students from rural areas attending law school is lower. York University's Osgoode Hall recently announced that it would pilot an income-contingent loans program to improve accessibility. LSSO News Release | Full Report

LSSO releases results of survey on access to legal education Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 03:30 09/19/2014 - 03:30

Washington University in St Louis has created a nonprofit consulting firm that provides its graduate students with real-world experience. Students participating in the Biotechnology and Life Sciences Advising Group (BALSA) help local firms with market research, analysis, and project planning. Each student volunteers about 10 hours of his or her time each week, with proceeds being used to fund professional development events and microgrants. BALSA was founded in 2010 by a PhD student in genetics who realized that there was a need for the kind of expertise that PhD students can provide. Biotech startups, he said, “were really struggling to survive and understand what the final product should look like.” However, some BALSA participants said that they have felt friction from some faculty members in response to their work. BALSA President Brett Maricque said, “we’ve had students who had to quit BALSA because their faculty member told them to.” So far, data indicate that participation has not affected students’ time-to-degree. Chronicle Vitae

US university offers PhD students real-world consulting experience Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 08:55 09/19/2014 - 03:30

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology was forced to evacuate its Palliser campus in Moose Jaw on Tuesday after receiving a bomb threat, the second threat in 3 weeks. The school was evacuated at around 9 am, allowing local police to conduct a sweep of the campus and grounds before declaring there was no immediate threat. The campus reopened at noon. Police are not revealing the manner of the second threat, but do believe it is connected to a threat received August 25, which was reportedly a handwritten letter. Sgt Cliff Froehlich of the Moose Jaw Police Service noted the rare occurrence of bomb threats in Moose Jaw and suggested that the threats may involve someone from outside the city. "We're concerned about these. It upsets the day and the administration and the students at SIAST," said Froehlich. Regina Leader-Post | SIAST campus updates | Global News (1) | Global News (2)

SIAST evacuates Palliser campus after bomb threat Top Ten 09/18/2014 - 03:30 09/18/2014 - 03:30

University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera warns that the University of Saskatchewan’s decision to move away from its TransformUS plan could have a negative impact on other universities. Samarasekera says that the plan was informed by a critical need to prioritize some programs while cutting others. This, she claims, is the only way Canadian universities will be able to compete internationally given governments' inability to provide above-inflation funding increases. “They’ve set themselves back and potentially affected the ability of other university presidents and administrations to take risks, because they took some risks and they got slapped down,” Samarasekera said in an interview. She notes that at uAlberta, they have had to deal with funding constraints by increasing the average required for admission, which she says is costing the institution talented students. Samarasekera also spoke about recent requests from some Alberta schools, including uAlberta, to increase tuition for certain programs. “We have a perverse system where we’ve kept tuition low for everyone,” she said. “As a result we are restricting our ability to increase the quality of the programs … Often times, when you keep tuition low, what you can’t cover are things like co-op opportunities, like extracurricular activities.” Globe and Mail

uAlberta President says cancelling TransformUS will hurt other institutions Top Ten 09/18/2014 - 03:30 09/18/2014 - 03:30

Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) statistics for 2014–15 show an overall 2.8% decline in high-school direct enrolments, from 72,680 in September 2013 to 70,589 this year.  Still, some individual institutions saw significant increases, notably the University of Guelph-Humber (a hybrid college-university), which saw a 19.3% increase in direct enrolments, and Western University, which saw an increase of 11.1%. Non-direct enrolments across Ontario universities increased, in part to compensate, from 21,966 in September 2013 to 22,981 this year. These figures include a 26.5% increase at uOttawa, a 28.2% increase at Brescia, and a 13.6% increase at Guelph-Humber. Enrolment has also declined at two Manitoba universities: the Winnipeg Free Press reports that total numbers are down at both uManitoba and uWinnipeg, although international enrolments are at an all-time high. On the other hand, the University of Regina reported an enrolment increase for the sixth consecutive year, and Red River College reports a 4.3% increase in full-time enrolment this year. Some Ontario colleges have likewise reported enrolment increases: St Lawrence College says that it has hit an all-time high enrolment of 7,000 students, while St Clair College says that it will surpass 8,500 full-time students this year. Fleming College has also reported an increase of 3%. OUAC Data | Winnipeg Free Press | Windsor Star | SLC News Release | RRC News Release | Fleming News Release | uRegina News Release

Many universities face enrolment declines, while some colleges see increases Top Ten 09/18/2014 - 03:30 09/18/2014 - 03:30

The British Columbia government has committed $3.4 M to allow UBC to increase the number of seats in its speech-language pathology program, with $2.5 M allocated to startup and planning costs and an additional $932,000 set aside for annual operating costs. The MSc program will be able to increase its first-year spaces from 23 to 36, helping to address the demand for speech-language therapists in northern and rural BC while reducing wait times for infants and children in need of assessment. Speech-language therapists diagnose and help treat a number of issues, including articulation problems, stuttering, voice problems, language delays and disorders, and swallowing and feeding disorders. “This funding addresses the province’s urgent need for professionals with the skills and experience to diagnose communications disorders, provide treatment, and collaborate with educators, health-care providers, social workers, families and caregivers. UBC is eager to expand its capacity to respond to this very pressing public need,” said Gavin Stuart, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and UBC’s Vice Provost Health. BC News | UBC News

UBC receives funding from province for additional speech-language pathology spots Top Ten 09/18/2014 - 03:30 09/18/2014 - 03:30

George Brown College has announced the launch of the new Building Information Modeling (BIM) Technology and Processes Adoption Support project, which will help small- and medium-sized construction firms adopt and adapt BIM technology and processes. Use of BIM technology allows construction companies to be more efficient and sustainable in all stages of building development, and to apply more green technology to building construction. The initial project, which received federal support of $100,000 from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), will allow industry representatives to participate in workshops and training sessions, with the opportunity to be admitted into the new Graduate Certificate in Building Information Modeling Management to be launched in January 2015. “BIM is becoming a crucial asset as the construction sector looks for cost-effective ways to be sustainable on every job site. But the costs of BIM adoption … are often out of reach for smaller companies. Facilities like our BIM Lab can help fill that gap, giving Canadian businesses access to training, expertise and technology,” said Clint Kissoon, Chair in the Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies. George Brown News Release

George Brown launches new project to encourage green construction Top Ten 11/11/2014 - 10:31 09/18/2014 - 03:30

Canada has announced over $1 M in funding for College of the North Atlantic. The funding will help the college improve its training capabilities, enhance its programming, and improve its outreach capacity. Some of the funding will go toward the Institute for Cultural Tourism at CNA’s Bonavista campus, to help develop its executive-level training programs in destination development and culinary tourism. Close to half of the funding will go toward CNA’s Port aux Basques campus to introduce new technologies and equipment and improve training capabilities in its non-destructive testing program. Another significant portion of the funding will be invested in the Prince Philip Drive campus in St John’s. This will fund an industry engagement project through CNA’s Manufacturing Technology Centre and will help develop outreach capacity and support services for small- and medium-sized enterprises in the manufacturing and processing sectors, as well as going toward the purchase of new equipment and facility upgrades. CNA News Release

Canada invests over $1 M in College of the North Atlantic Top Ten 09/18/2014 - 03:30 09/18/2014 - 03:30

The University of Toronto’s library system has been recognized by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) as one of the top 3 in North America, trailing only Harvard and Yale. The results continue uToronto’s consistent record of success in the ARL rankings; it has finished in the top 5 each year since 2002–2003. uToronto was the only Canadian institution to finish in the top 10 of the ARL rankings. The University of Alberta finished 18th, UBC 24th, and McGill University 30th. Université de Montréal, the University of Calgary, the University of Ottawa, and York University also featured in the top 50. The rankings are based on total expenditures, though the complete list also tabulates salaries and wages of professional staff, total library-materials expenditures, and the number of professional and support staff. uToronto News | Complete Rankings

uToronto library system among top 3 in North America Top Ten 09/18/2014 - 03:30 09/18/2014 - 03:30

Former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has registered as a lobbyist for Waterloo ed-tech firm D2L. D2L CEO John Baker said that McGuinty will serve as a “special adviser” to the company. “He’s an innovative thinker who continues to have a major impact on global education systems—well beyond Ontario’s borders. I know he’ll continue to tackle the challenges facing education and work to pioneer new ground on our behalf,” Baker said. McGuinty’s filing with the Ontario Lobbyist Registry, submitted last month, says that the former politician will work “to enhance the presence of Desire2Learn education technology in Ontario’s schools, colleges, and universities.” The filing also indicates that the firm has received $3 M from the Ministry of Education and $14,000 from the Ministry of Transportation this fiscal year. In Ontario, former premiers and cabinet ministers are prohibited from lobbying the government until a year after they step down from office; McGuinty stepped down as an MPP 15 months ago. The Record

Former Ontario Premier registers as D2L lobbyist Top Ten 09/18/2014 - 03:30 09/18/2014 - 03:30

A new article in Forbes argues that completion rates should not be the focus of educators evaluating the success of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Researcher Matthew LeBar says that while some have argued that MOOCs’ low completion rates undermine their credibility, students can nevertheless benefit significantly from MOOCs even without completing or participating in all aspects of a course. Some students, LeBar points out, use MOOCs to supplement rather than replace traditional courses. MOOCs “do not and should not provide the same services as classroom courses,” argues LeBar. He adds that many students who enrol in MOOCs do not do so to obtain a certificate or degree but to develop professional skills, benefiting more from the knowledge acquired than they do from the credential that is earned. Forbes

Researcher argues that completion metrics are not meaningful for MOOCs Top Ten 09/19/2014 - 14:43 09/18/2014 - 03:30

Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters has apologized in the wake of a public backlash against the sale of a Kent State University sweatshirt that appeared to be covered in blood stains. Kent State was the site of a 1970 shooting in which members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed student protestors, killing 4. Upon learning of the shirt, Kent State said “we take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.” Urban Outfitters said that it “sincerely apologizes for any offence our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused … We deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.” The company also said that the sweatshirt was not intended to depict blood stains but was “sun-faded.” It further claimed that the holes near the stains in the shirt were the result of age and wear and were not intended to represent bullet holes. Toronto Star (1) | Toronto Star (2) | National Post

Urban Outfitters apologizes for offensive Kent State sweatshirt Top Ten 09/18/2014 - 03:30 09/18/2014 - 03:30

UBC has published its flexible learning strategy. The strategy document identifies a series of trends that have informed its creation. These include changing expectations of students and employers, demographic shifts such as the increasing proportion of older and international students, government policies that have increased universities' reliance on tuition revenue, and an increased emphasis on the measured value of university programs. The strategy suggests that these trends are reinforced by the development of disruptive technologies including massive open online courses (MOOCs), automated assessments and adaptive learning, and increased transparency. To respond to these changes, the strategy prioritizes 3 key areas. First, UBC plans to improve its learning technology ecosystem, based on feedback from faculty and staff. Second, UBC aims to support new personal, professional, and career development programs through the creation of a new unit in the Provost’s office. This role will support the university’s faculties with development, marketing, planning, and budgeting for innovative new credit programs. The third priority area identified by UBC is its membership in edX as a contributing charter member. UBC Update | Full Strategy

UBC releases details of flexible learning strategy Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

The University of Toronto Mississauga is celebrating the official opening of Deerfield Hall, the first phase of the redevelopment of the campus’ North Building. The 4-storey building features improved theatre rehearsal space, computer labs, classrooms, formal and informal study space, and an expanded food services area. The building will also house offices and research facilities for the Departments of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, Psychology, and English and Drama. The $75 M project was funded by the Ontario government and UTM. uToronto President Meric Gertler said that Deerfield Hall’s opening “will help accommodate UTM’s development as a major comprehensive campus, and to support its role as a key engine of innovation and prosperity in Mississauga and well beyond.” UTM’s enrolment has more than doubled in the last 10 years to 14,000 students, increasing the demand for space and resources. UTM News

UTM’s Deerfield Hall officially opens Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

In its 2015 pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is asking for increased funding for applied research and entrepreneurship at the college level, for more incentives to maximize skills training and labour market participation for all Canadians, and for the creation of a college program for equipment and infrastructure development. “Thanks to cutting-edge research and training, colleges are key to driving Canada’s economy forward. Investment in college innovation is critical so that students and employers have the tools needed to make Canada work,” said CICan President Denise Amyot. To enable applied research at colleges, CICan recommends increasing the budget of the Tri-Council College and Community Innovation program and creating dedicated funding for internships and international research opportunities for students in college programs. CICan News Release

CICan’s pre-budget submission recommends increased funding for applied research Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

The University of Toronto is once again the top university in Canada, according to the latest QS World University Rankings. uToronto slipped a few spots, however, to come in at 20th overall, only one spot ahead of McGill University, at 21st. This is only the second year since the rankings began in 2004 that uToronto ranked higher than McGill. UBC also made the top 50, at 43, and the Université de Montréal and the University of Alberta both made the top 100, at 83 and 84, respectively. McMaster University (113), the University of Waterloo (169), and the University of Calgary (171) all saw significant improvements in the rankings this year. Queen’s University (187) and Western University (191) also made the top 200. The top-ranked university in the world was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London tying for second. In total, 26 Canadian universities made the list of more than 800. QS Rankings | Montreal Gazette | McMaster News

uToronto, McGill, and UBC make top 50 of QS World University Rankings Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

A new report sheds light on how Edmonton’s PSE institutions are meeting the demands of local employers. According to the report, businesses are increasingly demanding specialized skills from new employees. However, even as new graduates are seen as being technically capable, businesses say they lack “soft” skills such as communication, decision-making, critical thinking, and teamwork. One solution to the gap, the report says, is the integration of more hands-on work, apprenticeships, and co-ops in PSE; however, it argues that PSE institutions are not solely responsible for enhancing these skills in graduates. The report notes that there has been a 40% drop in employee training by employers over the past 2 decades, and says that it is incumbent on employers, as well as educators, to contribute to the development of the labour force. Further investment in employees will also help inspire loyalty in new employees, the report argues. CBC | Full Report

Report says Edmonton employers feeling "soft skills gap" Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

Ryerson University’s successful Access TMP program is featured in a Huffington Post article on students with disabilities. Based on Ryerson’s Tri-Mentoring program, Access TMP pairs first-year students with upper-year mentors in an effort to build community support for students, provide support for those who need it, and direct students toward career opportunities. “The process of mentoring is the three stages—to help with the transition into university, through university, and out of university,” said Tri-Mentoring Program Facilitator Mariam Hashemi. The Huffington Post piece notes that the success of the Access TMP program and similar programs at other universities often hinges on reaching students early on. “The structure changes, the demands change … and if you know that in advance you can plan for it,” said Theresa Doupe, Associate Director of Specialized Support and Disability Services at the University of Alberta. Students also benefit from being proactive. “The support systems can only do so much for you. I’ve learned to really be proactive and self-advocate for myself in a lot of situations,” said Ryerson student Samuel Pereira. Huffington Post | Ryerson News

Early outreach key to supporting students with disabilities Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

PSE institutions across Canada are moving away from frosh hazing and other such activities and are working to build traditions that foster strong connections between students, their institutions, and their communities. At Renaissance College at the University of New Brunswick, students participate in volunteer excursions. These include camping trips, during which students clean up trails and pathways and learn from local First Nations leaders. Students today “want more involvement, more hands-on engagement,” said Sarah King, who teaches civic engagement at Renaissance College. The service-oriented excursions, King said, “help us see that we’re bigger than our own little world.” This year, 60 PSE campuses participated in Shinerama events, raising money for cystic fibrosis research. Mount Royal University, meanwhile, offers students a calendar of volunteer events and a campus services showcase to help integrate students into the university community.

Canadian institutions replace frosh week hazing with service, volunteerism Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

Antonia Maioni, President of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, has contributed an op-ed to the Globe and Mail that emphasizes the value of BA graduates. Maioni shares some of the changes that have been taking place in traditional liberal arts education, including an increasing emphasis on practicality and cross-disciplinarity. “The generational gap between university students and their parents, the one so often exploited by the media, government and industry, rests on outdated preconceptions about the starving artist, the wealthy lawyer, and every-science-student-as-pre-med, as well as misguided assumptions about the role of a university education,” she argues. Maioni highlights new degrees that are often overlooked in mainstream coverage of liberal arts education, such as digital humanities, Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, international development and globalization studies, and educational psychology. Through programs such as these, Maioni writes, “students increasingly have the opportunity to bring into focus multiple disciplines and to juxtapose viewpoints and theoretical perspectives that once seemed disparate, unrelated, or were simply overlooked.” Maioni champions the perspective that the modern BA provides, suggesting that the degree prepares students for a rapidly transforming marketplace. Globe and Mail

Op-ed corrects misconceptions about contemporary liberal arts degrees Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

A proposed Georgetown University PhD program in English that has career preparation at its core has become a lightning rod for debate among faculty. The program is intended to help English PhDs become better prepared for non-academic employment, and to help the program stay relevant to the labour market. Students enrolling in the program would be asked to apply with a “plan of professional development in hand.” The program would also provide extensive mentoring and students would be able to complete alternatives to the traditional monograph-style dissertation, such as a digital-humanities project or a collection of essays. However, critics have variously charged that the program “cheapens” the value of the PhD, and that it is irresponsible of the institution to offer a new PhD program given the poor job market faced by graduates. One Georgetown professor described the program as “an advanced master’s,” not a PhD. One proponent, however, argued that “it’s good for the humanities to have humanists in positions throughout society. And it’s good for society to have people with humanistic training in all sorts of positions.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | Full Proposal

Georgetown's "job-friendly" English PhD sparks debate Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 14:44 09/17/2014 - 03:30

Recent calls from US university administrators for “civility” from scholarly communities have led to a backlash from groups who say that the term is being used to stifle academic freedom. Leaders at Ohio University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of California at Berkeley each called for “civility” from faculty members in the wake of campus controversies, but critics say that demands for civility in effect censor academics who passionately express their opinions on controversial matters. “Uncomfortable ideas are what we trade in in the academy. That is our job,” said Katherine M Franke, a law professor at Columbia University. Some argue that faculty groups are over-reacting to what are actually innocuous requests; however, the controversy has likely been exacerbated in part by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's decision to rescind an offer of a tenure-track appointment to candidate Steven G Salaita over his comments on social media about the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The Chronicle of Higher Education

Academics critical of pleas for civility Top Ten 09/17/2014 - 03:30 09/17/2014 - 03:30

Arvind Gupta, UBC’s newly-installed President, has pledged to increase the institution’s research funding by $100 M. Gupta also committed to increase student scholarships and bursaries, double the available internship and co-op programs, provide more student housing, improve existing physical and mental health facilities, and improve sports venues and cultural outlets, as well as working to build new community partnerships across the province and develop more research and learning alliances internationally. “Excellence in research is what distinguishes great institutions from the rest,” said Gupta. “It’s what puts our students at the cutting edge of knowledge, so they have access to the latest discoveries and revelations.” Gupta also acknowledged his goal of bringing UBC from one of the top 25 universities in the world to one of the top 10. Gupta noted that his goals would be realized through entrepreneurship, consultation, and a “clear focus on success for students.” UBC News | Globe and Mail

New UBC President pledges $100 M increase to research funding Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) last week received several significant donations, marking the completion of its The Best Care for Life campaign. It was also announced that the new MUHC Cancer Centre, to be located at McGill’s new superhospital, will be known as the Cedars Cancer Centre, in recognition of the continued support of the Cedars Cancer Institute, a member of the Rossy Cancer Network (RCN). Cedars' mission is to support comprehensive cancer care for all cancer patients. In addition to its previous donation of $30 M for the creation of the RCN, the (Larry and Cookie) Rossy Family Foundation committed $12 M; a further $4.6M was committed by private donors Andrew Lutfy and Andy Chelminski. “This modern centre will allow our medical professionals to continue to be pioneers in cancer diagnosis and treatment while providing patients with the highest level of care and support. Patients and their families will benefit from having everything they require in one location, in a space that has been conceived and designed to optimize as much as possible the patient experience,” said Armen Aprikian, Chief of MUHC’s Cancer Care Mission. MUHC News Release | Montreal Gazette

MUHC receives $16 M for new Cedars Cancer Centre Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

Canadian business leader, veteran, and philanthropist A Britton Smith has donated $10 M to Queen’s University. The donation includes $9 M for the School of Nursing and Department of Surgery and $1 M towards the Richardson Stadium revitalization project. The donations will support the establishment of the Sally Smith Chair in Nursing, the Smith Chair in Surgical Research, and the Britton Smith Chair in Surgery, as well as a chair in orthopaedic research and a nursing endowment. The donation is the largest ever received by the School of Nursing at Queen’s. “On behalf of faculty, students and staff, I want to thank Brit Smith for sharing our vision to support excellence in health care. His generosity will strengthen the School of Nursing and Department of Surgery in their quests to advance care, education and research. Ultimately, our patients will be the greatest beneficiaries,” said Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. Queen’s News

$10 M donation to Queen’s will benefit nursing, surgery Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

Quebec’s Dawson College has announced that it will establish the Centre for Peace Education to commemorate the 8th anniversary of the deadly on-campus shooting that injured 20 people and killed one student. The centre’s core offering is a certificate program in Peace Studies that will educate students in violence prevention and conflict resolution and allow them to view other courses and programs through the lens of peace and nonviolence. The new certificate program “aims to prepare students to work for justice and to prepare for peace in any context, whether in their personal or professional lives, their communities, in society, or on a global scale.” CBC

Dawson College marks anniversary of shooting with new Centre for Peace Education Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

La Fédération des cégeps has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign that will highlight the contributions of CEGEPs to Quebec. The 3-year campaign will culminate with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the CEGEP system. In the first year, 4 public service announcements will be released via traditional media channels as well as on the web. Commercials, video clips, and banners will focus on the advantages of a quality CEGEP network to the province and will also feature a number of specific institutions. The campaign will communicate to audiences the importance of CEGEPs to the economic, social, and cultural life of the community, as well as the importance of general education and technical training to students. Moreover, the campaign will emphasize that CEGEPs serve as an important springboard to further PSE. CEGEPs have lately become an issue in Quebec politics, with the youth wing of the province's Liberal party calling for their eliminationFédération News Release

Promotional campaign to highlight value, contributions of CEGEPs Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

The University of Ottawa launched its new positioning campaign on Monday, focused on the theme “Defy the Conventional.” A new website,, was launched to showcase campus innovators. The first of 3 phases of the campaign will run until December, and will feature stories about "quirky" uOttawa icons. Among the persons and programs being profiled are cancer researcher John Bell, law professor Carissima Mathen, and the university’s INSPIRE lab. “I’ve been amazed as I’ve travelled the country and met with key stakeholders that people don’t have a good idea what the University of Ottawa is all about. We haven’t been really good at telling its story,” said VP External Relations Louis de Melo. He says that the new campaign is “not so much a tag line, it’s not a marketing campaign, it’s about the substance behind it. What is really the essence, the DNA of the University of Ottawa?” The campaign will run over the next 2 years. “This will position us favourably as we compete for the best faculty members out there, the best researchers, and certainly the best students to choose U of Ottawa as their first choice,” de Melo said. uOttawa News Release | Ottawa Citizen |

uOttawa “Defy the Conventional” campaign to help break stereotypes of the university Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

Osgoode Hall Law School at York University has announced the launch of a 5-year pilot program intended to improve financial accessibility for Juris Doctor (JD) students. Beginning in 2015, a minimum of 5 JD students will receive income-contingent loans to pursue their education. They will not pay tuition while attending the school, but will instead repay the institution when their income reaches a level at which they can afford to do so. Should their income never reach that level, their loan will be forgiven. “This program will provide an entirely new way to access legal education, and when combined with bursaries, scholarships and graduation awards, will advance our goal that every admitted student should be able to obtain legal education at Osgoode regardless of financial means,” said Osgood Dean Lorne Sossin. The income-contingent loan program will receive $1 M in initial funding and will be evaluated over a 5-year period to ensure that it is meeting the school’s goals for accessibility and inclusiveness. YorkU News Release | Sossin Blog Post

Osgoode Hall to pilot income-contingent loans program for JD students Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

A group of more than 400 academics have signed an open letter to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in opposition to an audit of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The group alleges that the audit is politically motivated and that the CCPA was targeted for its left-leaning perspective. According to reports, the CRA had justified the audit of the CCPA by claiming that the material on its website was “biased” and “one-sided.” But critics of the audit say that the organization was singled out for its criticism of the Conservative Party of Canada. “It hit a raw nerve among academics,” said organizer Louis-Philippe Rochon, an economist at Laurentian University. “The idea that if we reach a conclusion other than the official doctrine of the government, our research is somehow biased and political.” The CCPA, like many think-tanks in Canada, is registered as an educational charity and as such is prohibited from engaging in partisan activities such as endorsing candidates for public office. Globe and Mail | National Post | CTV News

Academics protest audit of CCPA Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

The Vancouver Sun reports that the government of China is “concerned” about the ongoing British Columbia teachers’ strike. According to the Sun, representatives of the Chinese consulate met with members of BC’s Ministry of Education after several Chinese parents asked the consulate to intervene. There is currently no end in sight to the ongoing job action. The BC government had previously set a goal of increasing the number of international students by 50% over 4 years. In Vancouver alone, nearly 1,500 international students each pay $13,000 in annual tuition fees to attend public school; there are approximately 14,000 international K-12 students province-wide. Beyond tuition fees, international students are seen as valuable for their contributions to the economy through living expenses as well as their importance as potential immigrants to Canada. China has historically been a leading provider of international students in the province. The impact reaches beyond K-12 education as well; 43% of independent business owners who responded to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey said that they believe the strike will hurt them if it continues. Vancouver Sun

Chinese consulate meets with BC ministry over strike concerns Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

The Whitman School of Business at Syracuse University in New York is taking a page out of the Harry Potter series to help motivate its students. This week, the school will assign its undergraduate students into 4 “houses” for the year, with each being led by a faculty advisor. Students in each house will compete for points by attending optional lectures, obtaining extracurricular certificates, or by participating in other career-building activities. Students will report their progress using a smartphone app, and the house that wins the most points over the school year will be awarded a cup and get to attend a party with the school’s Dean. “Focusing particularly on soft skills and extracurricular experiences, our goal was to develop a program that would ensure our undergraduates leave Whitman with a sustainable competitive advantage throughout their lives and careers,” said Associate Dean Amanda Nicholson. The gamification program is described informally as the Potter Plan but is officially known as the Goodman IMPRESS program. BusinessWeek Whitman News Release

Whitman School of Business adopts the Hogwarts approach to professionalization Top Ten 09/16/2014 - 03:30 09/16/2014 - 03:30

York University has announced the location of its proposed Markham campus. The proposed campus, to be created in collaboration with Seneca College, would be located in the rapidly developing Markham Centre, on 5 acres of land donated by the city. YorkU also announced that York Regional Council has approved up a contribution of up to $25 M for the project. “Together with Seneca College, the City of Markham, and York Region, we are delighted to be making this official announcement about the site of the proposed York University campus in York Region,” said YorkU President Mamdouh Shoukri. “In situating the campus in the heart of a vibrant new urban centre, our aim is to offer programs that will be responsive to the needs of York Region while furthering the University’s objective of becoming more comprehensive.” The announcement was made in advance of a September 26 deadline for submissions to Ontario’s request for proposals under the Major Capacity Expansion Policy FrameworkYorkU News Release | Seneca News Release |

YorkU announces location, funding details of proposed Markham campus Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

The University of Ottawa has announced the creation of the Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development, which it describes in a news release as “a powerhouse of information on security matters.” The program will offer an independent forum dedicated to the discussion of security issues with an eye toward policy and strategic planning. “The Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development is not a research centre or a think tank,” said the uOttawa new release; “rather, it aggregates and synthesizes existing and new knowledge on various security topics and transfers this knowledge to select audiences through intensive short courses that are designed to help with practical decision making.” However, some students at the university say the announcement caught them by surprise. Anaïs Elboudjaini, a graduate student representative on the university’s board of governors, said “as an elected representative of the university’s highest governing body, I was shocked to learn of a new institute being launched without any consultation or discussion of how it is being funded.” The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) and the Graduate Students’ Association have asked for more details on the institute’s purpose and funding. uOttawa News Release | SFUO News Release

uOttawa launches Institute in Security and Policy; Students Federation “surprised” by announcement Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

The University of Saskatchewan has signed a long-term lease agreement with Ronmor Developers Inc that will enable it to construct a new phase of Preston Crossing, a retail development on university land. Since first opening in 2010, retailers at Preston Crossing have expanded to occupy 690,000 square feet of space on 57 acres. The development generates $1.79 M in student scholarships for uSask each year. Construction on the site is expected to begin next year, with a targeted completion date in spring 2016. “We will be looking at tenants for the new space that complement the existing stores and that potentially bring a new shopping experience to Saskatoon,” said Ronmor President Doug Poronzi. uSask Director of Corporate Administration Judy Yungwirth said, “Ronmor Developers Inc is a new partner for the University of Saskatchewan at Preston Crossing. We are looking forward to working with this regional firm and know they bring the kind of expertise that people have come to expect with our retail developments.” uSask News Release | StarPhoenix

uSask signs agreement to complete retail development Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) officially opened the expanded Hannin Creek Educational Facility last week. The Hannin Creek facility, located at Candle Lake, offers hands-on learning opportunities for students in forestry; fisheries; wildlife; conservation law; recreation; tourism management; and environmental, civil, and water resources engineering technologies programs. “The Hannin Creek facility and property have provided rich learning experiences for many decades. This partnership between SIAST and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation ensures that education and conservation will continue here for many years,” said SIAST President Larry Rosia. SWF President David Pezderic added, “The securement and enhancement of these facilities guarantee Saskatchewan’s continuing excellence in outdoor education for this and future generations to enjoy.” SIAST News Release

SIAST celebrates opening of expanded Hannin Creek Educational Facility Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

Holland College in Prince Edward Island has signed what it says is a “first of its kind” agreement with Restaurants Canada. Per the agreement, graduates of several of Holland's programs will receive a “GradPass” that grants access to research and information on Restaurant Canada’s members-only website, provides admission to trade shows, and enables students to post resumes and profiles on a new industry-focused job site. Holland President Brian McMillan said, “Holland College is committed to providing our students with the skills and knowledge that they will require to enter their chosen occupational field. The GradPass is a tool that will give them direct access to prospective employers in the industry. We are proud to be a founding partner for this initiative.” Holland News Release

Holland College signs GradPass agreement with Restaurants Canada Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

President of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) Harvey Weingarten argues in a Globe and Mail op-ed that PSE students are not being adequately assessed for literacy and numeracy, or for a number of other outcomes that are generally understood as fundamental to a PSE credential. He says that many too quickly assume that completing a PSE program is sufficient evidence of these basic skills, but that they are rarely actually evaluated. Moreover, he says that a PSE degree is not always an indicator of effective critical thinking or problem-solving skills. He calls for investment in assessing skills that he describes as being “highly predictive of employment success,” including determination, persistence, resilience, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Weingarten says that in Ontario, “our commitment to assessment doesn’t measure up.” Globe and Mail

HEQCO President calls for better assessments of PSE graduates Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

University Affairs offers an overview of the use of education agents or recruiters in Canada. The article notes that the use of agents to recruit foreign students is often perceived of as a cost-effective, low-risk way to access new markets, especially for smaller schools. A 2013 report found that 23 of 37 public universities surveyed said they used agents, none of which were among the U15 group of research-intensive Canadian universities. However, the article points out that oversight of agents in foreign countries can be challenging. There are currently no federal laws in Canada regulating the use of foreign agents, and it is up to institutions to carefully vet candidates. Because agents represent a small number of universities, they may not provide prospective students with a full spectrum of options; moreover, agents paid by commission may recommend a school that pays a higher fee regardless of the best interests of the student. University Affairs

Use of foreign recruiters presents opportunities, challenges for Canadian institutions Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

Faculty, as well as students, are subject to victimization by cyberbullies, a new article in Maclean’s reports. The article notes examples in which students have posted derogatory comments on faculty rating sites. While occasionally site administrators will agree to remove offensive posts, some professors have said that it is difficult to get responses to such requests. Site guidelines advise contributors to “be honest and objective,” but avoid personal attacks. Research by Lida Blizard, a nursing instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, found that faculty who admitted to being bullied online in such a fashion frequently reported that it affected their productivity as well as their mood. Some respondents to her survey reported experiencing more than 3 effects simultaneously, which, the article says, fits the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. A larger study from Simon Fraser University of 330 faculty members found that roughly 25% said that they had experienced cyberbullying from a student; some said they had even contemplated suicide as a result. Maclean’s

Research shows impact of cyberbullying on faculty Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

A new report says that millennial-generation graduates are willing to give back to their institutions, but require a different engagement approach. According to a recent survey, less than half of a sample of 3,660 millennials said that they had made a donation to their former schools, and three-quarters said they would donate to another organization or cause before their alma mater. 62% of those who had not yet made a donation said it was because they were financially unable to do so. Millennials were also found to be more likely to research and give to causes beyond traditional channels, increasing PSE institutions' competition for donation dollars. More than half said they would prefer to see their donations go directly to scholarships and financial aid for current students, while 29% said they would like their money to go a specific department. “For this generation in particular, they want to know where their $25 is going,” said Brandi Brooks Davis, Director of Young Alumni Giving Programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Millennial donors willing to give, but want to direct where their money is going Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 03:30 09/15/2014 - 03:30

The results of a 5-year study of marketing students at the Warwick Business School show an inverse correlation between procrastination and grades. The study of 777 students found that students who turned in assignments just before a deadline performed worse on assignments than those who turned in their work more than 24 hours early. There was little statistical difference among students who submitted assignments more than 24 hours early; however, after the 24-hour mark, average scores dropped at an increasing rate the closer the submission time was to the deadline. There was a 5% difference in scores between students who submitted their work at the last minute and those who submitted it more than a day in advance, good for a full letter grade. BusinessWeek

Study links procrastination to poorer performance on assignments Top Ten 09/15/2014 - 09:55 09/15/2014 - 03:30

A student and a former student allegedly attacked professors at 2 Canadian PSE institutions this week. At the University of Toronto, a female student attacked a math professor with a knife; the professor sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital. The assailant, believed to be a second-year international student, was arrested at the scene. The second incident occurred at Red River College, where a former student attacked a professor before being subdued by other students. Professor Jeff Chartrand said he had alerted campus security to a potential threat to his safety by a former student, but claimed that security was “reluctant” to take action. Chartrand told the Winnipeg Free Press that his alleged attacker had previously been banned from campus. Keith Walker, Security Services Director at RRC, said, "we are reviewing the incident and ensuring college practices and processes are examined. Any required improvements will be implemented. Our first area of concern is that our staff has the necessary support and care within the college. To that end, we are raising awareness of existing safety and security measures." Police are investigating both incidents. CBC | National Post | Winnipeg Free Press

Profs attacked by students at uToronto and Red River College Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

Crews at Calgary’s PSE institutions are picking up the pieces after a freak snowstorm knocked out power and brought down tree branches on some campuses. There were approximately 200 reported outages across the city on Wednesday, and cleanup across the city could take days. “Don’t be alarmed if you hear chainsaws,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. The mechanical engineering building at the University of Calgary was temporarily closed due to a power failure, and students, staff, and faculty were advised to avoid walking or parking under trees due to the heavy snow accumulation on branches. SAIT Polytechnic advised students to be cautious for ice and debris as crews worked to clear trees of snow before more branches cracked and fell. St Mary’s University College was forced to cancel classes on Wednesday due to power outages, but classes resumed on Thursday. CBC News | uCalgary Twitter | SAIT Twitter | STMU Twitter

Calgary institutions recovering after late-summer snowstorm Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and 13 public and private partners will invest $31.5 M over 5 years to launch the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). The CCNA will engage in research to improve the lives of Canadians suffering from dementia and related illnesses, as well as their families and caregivers. The CCNA will unite 20 research teams that will focus on 3 themes: delaying the onset of dementia and related illnesses, preventing these illnesses from occurring; and improving the quality of life of Canadians living with these illnesses and their caregivers. $24 M in additional funding is expected to be contributed by partners in Quebec and Ontario. “Incredible strides in dementia research have been made over the last decade, but the CCNA recognizes the urgency to create highly effective collaborative research networks to fast-track progress and find solutions in this field. Integrating the perspectives of different stakeholders such as research users, policymakers, patients, and families is imperative to ensure positive outcomes,” said CIHR President Alain Beaudet. Canada News Release | Montreal Gazette | SFU News Release

$31.5 M committed to establish dementia-research consortium Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

Carleton University has received a $10 M gift from the Wesley and Mary Nicol Charitable Foundation to support a new building for the Sprott School of Business. The donation will help Carleton kick off a fundraising campaign for the facility. “The Sprott School needs a new home to build on its fine international reputation and foster tomorrow’s business and social leaders,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. “We are extremely grateful to Wes and Mary for their leadership, which will certainly inspire enthusiasm and investment from many more alumni and members of the Canadian business community.” Wesley Nicol has previously made $1 M donations to Carleton that helped the university establish the Nicol Entrepreneurial Award and the Nicol Entrepreneurial Institute. “Mary and I proud to help build a home where Carleton’s business students can pursue their dreams and graduate with a degree from one of Canada’s best business schools,” he said. Carleton News Release

Carleton receives $10 M gift toward new home for Sprott School of Business Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

A doctor who formerly worked at the University of Calgary has now retracted 9 studies produced at the university that have been revealed to contain manipulated or falsified data. Cory Toth resigned in the spring after university investigators found faked data in his team’s work. Toth told the National Post that he had “failed to supervise” his staff’s laboratory activities properly. “I was unable to determine that data provided to me was not performed in proper fashion,” he said in an email. Glenda MacQueen, Vice-Dean of uCalgary’s medical school, said that the university launched a formal investigation after a journal contacted the school and reported finding “suspicious data”. The university’s efforts led to the retraction of the submitted paper as well as another previously published study. After problems in additional studies were uncovered, the university launched a “Committee of Investigation” that in March concluded that “Toth did not have appropriate oversight of the data coming out of his lab,” which constituted “a breach of research integrity.” MacQueen emphasized that “no human participants were involved” in the retracted research, nor does the research “influence patient care decisions.” National Post

Former uCalgary doctor resigned following investigation into falsified data Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

Statistics Canada has released the preliminary results of its 2014 survey on tuition and accommodation costs for full-time PSE students, revealing that Canadian undergraduate students enrolled in full-time programs paid an average of $5,939 for tuition, 3.3% more than last year. International undergraduate students paid an average of 5.3% more for tuition in 2014-15, with tuition fees reaching an average of $20,447. Graduate students also saw increases in tuition, with domestic graduate students seeing an average increase of 2.3% and international graduate students an increase of 3.3%. Canadian undergraduates enrolled in dentistry, medicine, and pharmacy continue to pay the highest tuition fees. The executive MBA was found to be the most expensive graduate program, followed by the MBA and dentistry. Additional compulsory fees also increased across Canada, with an average increase of 2.8%. Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province that did not increase tuition, due to a tuition freeze that has been in place since 2003-04. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives predicted earlier this week that tuition fees would rise by 13% over the next 4 years. StatsCan Daily

StatsCan finds that tuition fees are up 3.3% Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

As part of an effort to promote healthy food and lifestyle choices on campus, Vanier College has banned the sale of fried foods and soft drinks on campus. The Quebec CEGEP estimates that it will lose close to $40,000 in revenue because of the change, but Normand Bernier, Director General of Vanier, said it will be worth the loss if the ban helps students develop healthier eating habits. The decision to ban sales of fried foods and soft drinks was supported by Vanier’s administration, as well as the Vanier College Students' Association (VCSA). "It's hard to deny that fried foods and soft drinks are enjoyable on occasion; however, today's students have become more aware of the health risks of these types of foods. That is why the VCSA fully supports the ban of fried foods and soft drinks on campus,” said VCSA President Majed Abou Alkir. The VCSA has also launched Jake’s Café, a co-op venture that will give students experience working in a restaurant setting while allowing them to have input into campus food choices. Vanier News Release | Montreal Gazette

Vanier College bans fried food and soft drink sales on campus Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

An article in University Affairs examines the efforts universities are making to be more welcoming of transgendered persons. York University, the UBC, and Western University, for instance, provide gender-neutral, single-stall washrooms around campus, and other universities are working to make trans persons feel comfortable by offering single rooms in residence. Workshops for faculty, staff, and student leaders are also becoming more commonplace, as well as designated safe spaces. Administrative issues are also being addressed, with institutions adopting record-keeping practices that ensure that transcripts, class lists, and other official documents reflect the preferred names and genders of trans students. While progress is being made, there is still much work to be done. "It is often the case in a large system that it takes time to get things done," said Jean Pfleiderer, who works in the Queen's University human rights and equity office. University Affairs

Universities working to accommodate transgendered students Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

In the wake of the release of the province’s strategic mandate agreements (SMAs) with its 44 colleges and universities, Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, says that Ontario institutions need to become “more internationalized” as they pursue a strategy of differentiation. Ontario’s differentiation strategy is intended to promote specialization at each institution, and lead to the use of metrics other than enrolment figures to evaluate institutional effectiveness. While the government has not yet indicated what those metrics will look like, Moridi did say that he thinks that more Canadian scholars at Canadian universities should be winning international prizes. Moridi also said that more students should consider apprenticeships rather than pursuing academic degrees, and indicated that the province intends to provide better labour market data to help inform student choices. “We don’t want students graduating in one particular field and then after graduating they find that there are no jobs,” he said. The Minister also noted that “the government has no new money for salaries” and said that universities “have to work within the means they have” as the government tries to eliminate a $12.5-M deficit. Globe and Mail

Ontario minister calls for more internationalization, better labour market data Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

Comedian John Oliver recently addressed the topic of US student debt on his HBO show Last Week Tonight. Oliver says that cuts to education funding at the state level have forced colleges to raise fees, compelling students to seek additional loans. Oliver points the finger at for-profit colleges, which charge as much as 5 or 6 times the cost of a community college. For that money, Oliver says, students do not necessarily receive a better education, as much of the money is used for non-academic purposes. He includes a clip in which a former University of Phoenix Director says that for-profits spend twice as much on advertising and marketing as they do on faculty salaries. Oliver’s report also takes to task the aggressive sales tactics of for-profit college recruiters, their targeting of veterans, their graduation rates, and their employment outcomes. He also addresses the for-profit sector’s lobbying efforts, and asks viewers to write to complain  to the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) with a humourous form letter. YouTube

John Oliver tackles US student debt, for-profit PSE institutions Top Ten 09/12/2014 - 03:30 09/12/2014 - 03:30

Interim University of Saskatchewan President Gordon Barnhart has announced that the institution is changing course on its controversial TransformUS initiative. Barnhart told uSask students and faculty that TransformUS “was too big,” “unfolded too quickly,” and was “top-heavy rather than distributed.” He also said that the projected 2016 deficit of $44.5 M that instigated the TransformUS process was not as significant as previously reported; rather, an increase in revenue and a reduction in the operating budget will mean a deficit of $3 M in the 2014–15 fiscal year and $7 M for 2015–16. “We will be able to balance the books,” Barnhart said. Interim Provost Ernie Barber said, “we got focused on the money and not sufficiently focused on the mission and on the people of the university.” In place of TransformUS, uSask will pursue 8 more focused initiatives, including the continued restructuring of the College of Medicine, the revitalization of continuing and distance education, and a transformation of library services. uSask will also seek increased collaboration between academic units, but will not follow through on the previously proposed program amalgamations. Globe and Mail | StarPhoenix

uSask to move away from TransformUS and toward more focused initiatives Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has published a new report that examines trends in tuition and compulsory fees in Canada. The CCPA predicts in the report that undergraduate tuition and compulsory fees will rise by 13% over the next 4 years, a forecast that echoes the organization's 2013 figures. The report also looks at the “Cost of Learning,” which considers tuition and compulsory fees for in-province students alongside median family income and a family living at the low-income cut-off. This calculation is used to compare provincial figures for the Cost of Learning against the national average. The report finds that Newfoundland and Labrador is the most affordable province, while New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are projected to be the least affordable over the next 4 years. The report notes that universities frequently increase unregulated compulsory fees as a way to circumvent fee caps and compensate for inadequate public funding. The CCPA reports that in 2013–14, additional compulsory fees increased by an average of 5.3% across all provinces. An increasing number of universities are implementing a “two-tier” policy by charging out-of-province students higher tuition, or by offering discounts or bursaries to in-province students. Full Report | CBC News | Toronto Star | Globe and Mail

CCPA predicts undergraduate fees will increase by 13% over next 4 years Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

The University of British Columbia has partnered with edX, a provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs), and will launch 4 new MOOCs this fall. Professor Edward Slingerland will be launching a MOOC on a topic he has taught before, but will use the MOOC to experiment with new ways of delivering and assessing material. The new class will be offered to the worldwide MOOC audience before being used in-class at UBC. “One of the appeals of the MOOC platform is that you reach a completely new demographic,” said Slingerland. UBC already offers MOOCs on the Coursera platform, and recently launched its first LOOC, or local open online course, designed for members of the UBC community. UBC is apparently the first contributing charter member from Canada, although McGill and the University of Toronto signed on with edX in early 2013. UBC News

UBC joins edX as contributing charter member Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

A new program at McMaster University will offer students the opportunity to augment their health sciences education with business training. The new Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Bachelor’s/Master’s program, offered through the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Science with support from the DeGroote School of Business, will include courses on drug discovery and development, laboratory research skills, accounting for decision-making, and applied marketing. Material will be delivered through a variety of experiential and team-based learning approaches. While the program will officially launch in September 2015, an accelerated start has been arranged for January. “The career options and relevance of this program will be a lightning rod for students wanting an exciting future. We’ve met enthusiasm for this program from all, so we decided to get started right away,” said program Director Eric Brown. McMaster News Release

New McMaster program combines biomedical and business training Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, with the support of Ontario, has launched JustBalance, a new website that offers resources for law student wellness and mental health. The University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa, the University of Windsor, Queen’s University, Western University, and Lakehead University are also members of the website. JustBalance provides support for students dealing with anxiety, stress, or other mental or physical health concerns. “Our primary aim is to improve the mental health outcomes of Ontario’s 4,100 law students and future lawyers,” said Banka Goela, who provides counselling and other services at Osgoode. Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin said that the site will serve as “a forum for exploring the systemic and personal issues facing today’s law students in a way that is both relevant and meaningful.” YorkU News Release

Osgoode Hall launches website for law student mental health Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

Polytechnics Canada has released its 2015 pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, calling for the federal government to target its investments in areas with demonstrated demand for action. The submission concentrates on 2 key areas: “increasing the competitiveness of Canadian businesses through research, development, innovation and commercialization; and maximizing the number and types of jobs for Canadians.” Polytechnics Canada makes 10 practical, demand-driven recommendations in 3 policy areas (business innovation, labour market information, and apprenticeship), designed to address existing challenges such as the lack of commercialization of Canadian inventions, and ongoing skills challenges in Canada, including skills shortages and/or mismatches. Some of the recommendations are to “create a Small Business Innovation Research program using existing expenditures on federal intra-mural R&D”; “develop and disseminate a national skills in demand list, or national priority list of specialized occupations, costing $1 million”; and “offer a $4,000 tax credit for those employers of record who sponsor a Red Seal apprentice through to certification.” Polytechnics Canada Submission

Polytechnics Canada calls for targeted investment to improve Canadian competitiveness Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Seneca College and Ontario identifies the college’s built-in transfer pathways, flexible programs, and innovative teaching and learning as its key areas of differentiation. The SMA notes that Seneca supports economic development through its applied research centres in areas including open technology, aviation, big data and business analytics, and creative thinking. The college also provides a variety of graduate certificate programs to meet labour market demands, and its Building Environmental Systems program is identified as a standard for building operator certification in Canada. The SMA notes Seneca’s strong history of experiential learning, its support for multiple entry and exit points for students, and its extensive online and continuing education programs. Its cross-cultural and international experience programs are also identified as strengths. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas for growth: media, fashion, and design; business management and marketing; community health and wellness; chemical/biological sciences; and engineering technology. Seneca SMA

Seneca SMA focuses on flexible learning options and innovative approaches to teaching Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Sheridan College. The SMA cites as Sheridan’s key areas of differentiation its collaborative initiatives with municipalities and industries, its "Creative Campus" philosophy, and its world-renowned Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design. The SMA highlights Sheridan’s use of Professional Advisory Councils for all full-time programs, as well as the college’s career-planning tools, which help students make decisions about potential career paths. The college’s Fundamentals of Teaching and Learning program for contract faculty and its 2-year Teaching and Learning Academies for new full-time faculty are also mentioned as strengths. The agreement goes on to emphasize the value of Sheridan’s flexible learning options, its Liaison Librarians initiative, and its support for co-curricular records. Sheridan is noted to support access for underrepresented groups including first-generation students, Aboriginal students, students with disabilities, international students, internationally trained individuals, and mature students. 5 proposed program areas for growth are identified: business, computer science, creativity, engineering technology, and healthy communities. Sheridan SMA

Sheridan SMA highlights creativity, faculty development initiatives, and career-planning initiatives Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

A new report has found that PSE credentials are increasingly in demand by employers; however, the report also suggests that demand has been fed by, and in turn feeds, credential inflation. Researchers compared educational attainment required by employers in job advertisements with the profiles of the current workforce. The study found that employers are increasingly seeking bachelor’s degrees for positions that formerly required much less education, even if the actual skills required have not changed. Employers asked for bachelor’s degrees even when doing so made the position harder to fill. Moreover, job postings frequently asked for a degree even when the requested skill set included skills not typically taught in bachelor’s degree programs. The shift was especially pronounced in positions that have historically been dominated by workers without a college degree, and least dramatic for roles that have alternate credentials. The researchers suggest that some employers may be using a bachelor’s degree as a broad filter, but caution that “upcredentialing” may make some “middle-skill” career pathways unavailable to otherwise capable workers and exacerbate problems faced by employers looking to replace an aging workforce. Inside Higher Ed | Report Summary

Report offers data on "credential creep" in the US Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

US colleges are redefining consent as part of their effort to curb sexual violence on campus. In August, California passed an “affirmative consent standard,” requiring both parties in a sexual interaction to provide clear, unambiguous consent. The bill had the support of the University of California system, which now plans to implement the standard at all 23 campuses in its system. Similar policies are now in place at more than 800 colleges across the country. “I think they’re doing it as a gauntlet for students who might not consider themselves perpetrators but who might be perpetrators,” said Colby Bruno, an attorney with the Victim Rights Law Center. Lisa Maatz, VP Government Relations at the American Association of University Women, added that such policies can help clarify what behaviour is acceptable and what is not, and can “ensure that those involved in disciplinary proceedings no longer ask survivors stereotypical and problematic questions like ‘Did you fight back?’ or ‘Have you had a relationship with the accused?’ or ‘What were you wearing?’” In February, Students Nova Scotia launched its "More than Yes" campaign, organized on a similar premise. Huffington Post

US colleges adopting “yes means yes” policies on sexual consent Top Ten 09/11/2014 - 03:30 09/11/2014 - 03:30

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its annual “Education at a Glance” report. According to the report, Canada spent 2.8% of its GDP on postsecondary institutions in 2010. This was sufficient to surpass the US as the world leader in this category. Canada was found to have spent twice as much as the OECD average to educate each PSE student. 43% of the cost of PSE in Canada is picked up privately, higher than the OECD average of 31%. The report says that Canada’s colleges have helped the country achieve the highest rate of adult PSE attainment in the developed world. 24% of Canadian adults were found to have graduated from a community college, and 57.3% of Canadians were reported to have achieved postsecondary degrees. Canada’s share of international students increased by about 5% between 2000 and 2012, while the US’s share slipped from 23% to 16%. However, Canada’s math scores—while still higher than the OECD average—have dropped from 2003 levels. Canada is not the only country in which math scores have fallen, with Finland and the Netherlands also seeing reductions. Full Report | Toronto Star | Times Higher Education

Canada tops OECD rankings in PSE spending, adult PSE attainment Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

The University of Calgary has denied an application by a Palestinian rights student group to host a forum on campus, citing security concerns. Student Union President Jarrett Henry said, “campus security did a risk assessment and deemed that it was too risky to hold the event. The reasons they gave … were that they were worried about non-students showing up and inciting violence. They referenced the July 18 protest in downtown Calgary that had violence erupt.” But Ala Hamdan, the President of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, said that the concern is “baseless” and alleges that the university is unjustly blaming the group for “something we didn’t take part in.” She noted, too, that the group has hosted other events on campus without incident. Hamdan says that uCalgary also informed her that security would be otherwise engaged with orientation week events, and that the scheduled time for the forum conflicted with a football game on campus. Henry said that the rejection applied only to this particular event, and that further applications would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Calgary Herald

uCalgary denies Palestinian rights group space for student forum, citing security concerns Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

Confederation College is celebrating the official opening of its new Ontario Power Generation BioEnergy Learning and Research Centre (OPG-BLRC), reportedly the first facility of its kind in Ontario. Biomass energy systems use forestry and agricultural products to produce heat and energy with a lower impact on the environment than traditional fuel sources. The new facility will feature state-of-the-art equipment that will provide opportunities for demonstrations, training, and applied research, and is expected to produce 80% of the total required heat load this winter for the college’s Shuniah/REACH building. “We are excited at the potential this facility offers. Through the [OPG-BLRC], Confederation College is poised to become a leader in renewable biomass energy. The potential benefits seen by the communities of our region could be significant and the research and educational opportunities will further differentiate our College as a pioneer of innovative and sustainable learning experiences,” commented Confederation President Jim Madder. Confederation News

BioEnergy Research Centre opens at Confederation College Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

University College of the North has reorganized its existing human resources into 2 new departments: Career and Workforce Development and Research and Innovation. Career and Workforce Development is tasked with developing responsive, integrated approaches to technical training that will meet the needs of northern Manitoba, while Research and Innovation will address instructional services, academic development, quality assurance, and research. The Research and Innovation department will work with UCN’s Research and Scholarship Committee, the UCN Research Ethics Board, and the UCN Animal Care Committee as well as with partners in business and industry, health, and social services to identify research projects that will meet the needs of the community as well as provide learning opportunities for students. Rob Penner has been named Associate VP of Career and Workforce Development, while Linda Melnick was appointed Dean of Research and Innovation. UCN News Release

UCN creates new departments for workforce development, research Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

While more than 260,000 international students chose to study in Canada in 2012, only about 45,000 Canadians travelled to attend school in another country. This lopsided exchange is creating what the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) is calling “Canada’s global engagement challenge.” “It creates a more well-rounded and competitive society in terms of business if your students have been educated with exposure to the larger world,” said Rory Grewar, Program Director at the Irving K Barber Scholarship Society. “A generation with a global perspective is really valuable.” The CBIE and other organizations are pushing for more federal funding and support for Canadian students who wish to study abroad, to help offset financial barriers. Many Canadian students who do study elsewhere choose Western nations, with 90% of students choosing countries such as the US, UK, Australia, France, and Ireland. The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada is especially concerned with the lack of students studying in Asian countries, which could be detrimental to future efforts to capitalize on economic opportunities in Asia. The Province

CBIE concerned about low rate of study abroad Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

McGill University economics professor Christopher Ragan explains in a recent Globe and Mail article why textbook costs can be so high compared to many other “trade” book of similar size. Ragan begins by explaining that publishing companies have a relatively low return on equity rate, often due to the competitive and risky nature of the industry. He then explains the 3 major reasons why textbook-production costs are so high and how those costs are deflected to the buyer: textbooks are considered authoritative sources of information, and are therefore subject to rigorous review processes; today’s textbooks are printed on high-quality paper, with considerable graphic design elements and full colour images; and lastly, today’s professors and students want an array of add-on features including instructor’s manuals, electronic lecture slides, multiple-choice exam questions, ebook access, and custom-designed online platforms to complement the textbooks. All of these items increase production costs significantly, which translates to higher costs for the purchaser. Globe and Mail (Subscription Required)

High costs of textbooks explained by economics prof Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 10:49 09/10/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between Sault College and Ontario emphasizes as the institution’s key areas of differentiation its focus on regional needs; its focus on niche programming including health, environmental studies, and pilot training; and its attentiveness to future technologies and needs. According to the SMA, Sault’s institutional strengths include its collaboration with community partners, its provision of authentic work experience and specialized training, and its active Applied Research Centre. The SMA notes the variety of education delivery methods offered by Sault, emphasizing that practical learning is infused in all programming. The college is also cited for its support for community-based learning, industry partnerships, and its mandatory Global Citizenship course. The SMA also mentions Sault’s strength in serving Aboriginal learners, with Aboriginal students making up 20.3% of total enrolment. The college also serves a significant number of students with disabilities and first-generation students. The agreement identifies 5 proposed program areas for growth: aerospace, engineering technology, health sciences, applied arts, and native education. Sault SMA

Sault SMA emphasizes practical learning, support for Aboriginal learners Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between York University and Ontario highlights the institution’s highly ranked professional programs, as well as its commitment to social justice and engagement, knowledge mobilization and knowledge transfer, and community partnership and outreach. The agreement notes that YorkU is Ontario’s largest provider of college-to-university transfer programs and cites specifically the university’s partnership with Seneca College as contributing to increased student mobility. According to the SMA, YorkU offers a wide variety of programs that address Canada’s economic and community development needs, including its science and engineering faculties and its Business and Administrative Studies program. YorkU’s liberal arts programs are also noted for providing graduates with flexible, transferable skills that are essential in a knowledge-based economy. The SMA notes YorkU’s many partnerships with firms including IBM Canada and PowerStream, as well as its support for commercialization through VentureLab and the Knowledge Mobilization Unit. YorkU’s innovative Community-Based Learning Program and its commitment to experiential education in several programs are also emphasized in the SMA. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas for growth: engineering and science; bilingual programs; arts, digital media, performance, and design; business/management/administration; and healthy individuals and communities. YorkU SMA

YorkU SMA highlights knowledge mobilization, community-based learning Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

The American Association of University Professors has formally ruled that institutionally mandated trigger warnings constitute a threat to academic freedom. In a statement released on Monday the AAUP said trigger warnings may pressure faculty members to avoid some topics and that nontenured and contingent faculty members “are particularly at risk.” “The presumption that students need to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual,” the report says. “It makes comfort a higher priority than intellectual engagement.” The AAUP also noted its concern that trigger warnings may be applied to academic libraries, pointing to an American Library Association statement against labeling and rating systems that were also derived from a demand for trigger warnings. The ALA said that such labels were “a censor’s tool.” The AAUP goes so far as to suggest that even voluntary use of trigger warnings could be “counterproductive to the educational experience.” “The classroom is not the appropriate venue to treat PTSD,” the statement says, and suggests that such cases should be referred to student health services. The Chronicle of Higher Education | AAUP Report

AAUP report says that trigger warnings threaten academic freedom Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

The US News and World Report has released its annual ranking of US colleges. Princeton University was named the best in the US, followed by Harvard and Yale. Williams College (Massachusetts) ranked as the best liberal arts college in the country, with Amherst (MA) and Swarthmore (Pennsylvania) rounding out the top 3. The University of California-Berkley, UCLA, and the University of Virginia were the top 3 public universities, and US Naval Academy (Maryland), US Military Academy (New York), and US Air Force Academy (Colorado) the top public liberal arts colleges. Harvard was identified as delivering the best value among national universities, followed by Princeton and Yale; Amherst, Williams, and Pomona (California) took the top 3 spots for best value among liberal arts colleges. The US News rankings are based on student selectivity, faculty resources (including class size and faculty salary), graduation rates, and peer assessment. Spending on instruction and alumni giving are also considered. Full Rankings | Wall Street Journal

US News releases annual US college and university rankings Top Ten 09/10/2014 - 03:30 09/10/2014 - 03:30

Carleton University is investigating after photos appeared on social media of students, including frosh leaders, wearing shirts featuring “inappropriate wording.” The shirts apparently derided the existence of campus safe spaces, created as havens where students can be free from sexual harassment and homophobia; however, some have speculated that the t-shirts were intended to protest a university prohibition against swearing during frosh week “There was clearly a party,” said a lawyer who tweeted the photos. “Everyone looked like they were having a good time, but then we noticed a handful of people were wearing different shirts … and all of a sudden the tone for us changed drastically.” Meanwhile, a Carleton student has been charged with 3 counts of sexual assault on campus. Mohamed Daoud was apprehended after a staff member reported that he had inappropriately touched her in an elevator. An investigation found that the accused had apparently assaulted 2 other female staff members. Daoud was released following a bail hearing on Friday, with strict conditions including that he is not allowed on any Ottawa university or college campus. CTV News | Ottawa Citizen (T-shirts) | Ottawa Citizen (Assault)

Postscript: September 9, 2014

A group of Carleton University students who were photographed wearing offensive tank tops have apologized and await word of their punishment. The shirts appeared to mock the university’s Safe Space initiative. The students claimed, however, that the shirts were intended to protest a university rule against swearing during frosh week. In their apology, student orientation team leaders said, “while our intentions were not to harm or disrespect anyone, the T-shirts in question were without a doubt inappropriate, inconsiderate, offensive and disgraceful. Intent is not an excuse for impact and we take full responsibility for the seriousness of our actions.” Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte said, “such behaviour is not acceptable and extremely disappointing to the broader Carleton community. Sanctions will be issued subsequent to individual meetings.” She also emphasized that the event at which the shirts were worn was not a Carleton-sanctioned event and that “the inappropriate action did not undermine the overall effectiveness of Carleton’s orientation programming.” Ottawa Citizen

Carleton investigates “inappropriate t-shirts”; bans student from campus after sexual assault charges Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 19:33 09/09/2014 - 03:30

The Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA) has announced that it will commence job action with a one-day strike on September 15; the union further said that it plans rotating half-day strikes with 2-hour advanced notice to students. If no settlement is reached by October 1, the union said it will implement a full work stoppage at a date to be announced. WUFA described its plan as a “last resort” and said that it is implementing its job action in several phases, “each designed to put pressure on the administration to come back to the bargaining table while minimizing the disruption of [students’] education.” WUFA President Anne Forrest said the decision was forced by the university’s refusal to return to the bargaining table; however, uWindsor President Alan Wildeman said that the institution has always been willing to negotiate. “I’ve been really clear. I’ve communicated very widely about this … We’re not going to go back to the table and bargain with ourselves,” he said. Wildeman claims that WUFA is refusing to acknowledge “fiscal realities.” Windsor Star | WUFA News Release

Postscript: October 3 2014

The University of Windsor and the Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA) have arrived at a tentative collective agreement, following 2 days of meeting with a  provincially appointed mediator. The terms of the agreement will remain confidential pending ratification. WUFA has informed its members that a meeting and vote on the proposed contract will be held later this week. WUFA had initiated rolling job action prior to the meetings with the mediator. uWindsor News Release | Windsor Star

uWindsor faculty announces plans for one-day strike, rolling job action Top Ten 10/03/2014 - 15:54 09/09/2014 - 03:30

An anonymous donor has given the University of Calgary $5 M to enhance mental health support for students on campus. The donation will fund the UCalgaryStrong program, which helps students transition to PSE and provides access to online assessment tools, leadership advising, and workshops, as well as bystander intervention training. The funding will also support the expansion of uCalgary’s Leadership Advising Program. The donation was made in response to the April stabbing of 5 young people at an off-campus party. uCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon said that the donation will allow the university "to offer a truly holistic student experience, linking community engagement, leadership development, and personal wellness.” Calgary Herald | uCalgary News Release

uCalgary given $5-M donation for mental health support Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 03:30 09/09/2014 - 03:30

Dalhousie University has published its strategic plan for 2014–2018, entitled “Inspiration and Impact.” The plan outlines Dal’s 5 strategic priorities: enhance the transformative power of teaching and learning; expand the opportunities for research, scholarly and artistic work; catalyze the intellectual, social and economic development of our communities; take our place nationally and internationally; and build our institutional capacities. To achieve these goals, Dal plans to pursue initiatives including strategic program reviews and strategic student recruitment. The university also says it intends to foster undergraduate research, attract and support excellent graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and support research with state-of-the-art facilities and resources. Moreover, it plans to maximize opportunities for students and researchers to work with local and global partners to promote creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The plan also indicates that Dal will develop a new human resources strategy, reduce the deficit of its pension plan, and create a capital plan that focuses on environmentally sustainable development. Dal identifies its priority research areas as ocean studies; advanced materials and clean technology; health and wellness; and governance, society, and culture. Dal Strategic Direction

Dal releases 2014–18 strategic plan Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 03:30 09/09/2014 - 03:30

The board of governors at the University of Manitoba has approved a new strategic enrolment strategy that focuses on increased graduate enrolment in programs such as science, engineering, agriculture, and medicine. The plan also focuses on increasing the number of self-declared Indigenous students on campus. According to the plan, uManitoba hopes to increase graduate enrolment from 12.9% of students in 2013–14 to 20% by 2023, and Indigenous enrolment from 7.8% of undergraduate students and 4.2% of graduate students in 2013–14 to 15% and 8%, respectively, by 2023. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the ambitious enrolment targets are motivated by the perception that uManitoba lags behind its U15 counterparts in several categories. The plan will also likely lead to a reduction in the percentage of international students on campus as focuses shift elsewhere. uManitoba Vice-Provost of Students Susan Gottheil said that the plan constitutes a “more intentional” approach to enrolment, and adds that “we’d like to encourage more Manitobans to stay in Manitoba.” Winnipeg Free Press

uManitoba strategic enrolment plan focuses on graduate students, Aboriginal students Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 03:30 09/09/2014 - 03:30

7 Ontario universities have collaborated to create a professional development website for graduate students. McMaster University, Queen’s University, the University of Guelph, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and Western University have launched, which offers free, online training tools to help graduate students looking to build their skills for academic and non-academic careers. “Graduate students have a very different experience at university than undergrads. … Grad students find it challenging to allocate time to consider what’s next, and so universities are offering them this extraordinary free professional development program to take online—in their own time and at their own pace,” said Bonnie M Patterson, President of the Council of Ontario Universities. The website was developed by the Ontario Consortium for Graduate Professional Skills and offers 18 training units on topics ranging from community-engaged scholarship to entrepreneurship. COU News Release | Queen’s News Release

Ontario universities launch professional development website for grad students Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 03:30 09/09/2014 - 03:30

The CBC has published a report on the increasing use of part-time faculty at Canadian universities. According to the report, universities are not hiring tenure-track faculty at a rate that is consistent with increasing enrolment, and are making up the difference by increasing class sizes and hiring sessional instructors. At some institutions, part-time faculty members earn just $28,000 for teaching 4 courses. The article notes that Wilfrid Laurier University, for instance, spent less than 4% of its 2012 budget on part-time faculty, who taught 52% of the university's courses that year. "I think there are legitimate concerns about having such a large part-time workforce, but it’s an unfortunate consequence of underfunding the university,” said Laurier’s VP Teaching Pat Rogers. Herbert Pimlott, a professor at Laurier, says that the contractual status of faculty can have an impact of the quality of students’ education, simply because full-time faculty are able to spend more time on campus and are more likely to have their own office space for meetings. Some schools are making changes: the report notes that McMaster University and the University of Waterloo have created full-time, teaching-only positions to reduce their reliance on sessional instructors, while some faculty unions have been able to negotiate better wages, benefits, and job security for part-time faculty. CBC News

Canadian universities increasingly relying on part-time faculty Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 03:30 09/09/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) that it signed with St Lawrence College. The agreement identifies as St Lawrence’s areas of differentiation its success in meeting the specific economic, social, and cultural needs of its communities in Brockville, Cornwall, and Kingston. St Lawrence is cited for its support for economic prosperity through its responsive labour force development and innovation initiatives, such as the Centre for Learning and Performance Improvement, the Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre, and its relationships with industries along the St Lawrence River Seaway corridor. The SMA further notes that St Lawrence supports accessibility for Aboriginal and first-generation students, as well as crown wards, students with disabilities, and lower-income students. The college’s program delivery agreements with the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) and Ioahi:io Akwesasne Adult Education (IAAE) are specifically highlighted. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas for growth: advertising and design, social and community services, traditional business, arts, and construction. St Lawrence SMA

St Lawrence SMA emphasizes Aboriginal education, regional support Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 03:30 09/09/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between Ontario and Wilfrid Laurier University identifies as the institution’s differentiating features its emphasis on teaching quality and student outcomes, its community partnerships, and its research strengths in areas including environment, governance and policy, culture and society, and economics. According to the SMA, graduates of Laurier's School of Business & Economics have started over 1,800 companies, and many serve as senior leaders in the technology sector. The SMA also highlights Laurier’s co-operative education programs, which include the largest business co-op program in Canada, as well as its support for experiential learning through job placement programs. The Faculty of Arts’ first-year seminar courses, capped at 22 students, are also identified as a strength, as are the Residence Learning Communities initiative and the Supplemental Instruction program. The SMA notes that Laurier’s Aboriginal student enrolment has increased by 167% over 5 years, with an extremely high level of reported student satisfaction. 4 proposed program areas for growth are identified in the SMA: business and management; community engaged health; individual and community well-being, and lifespan sciences; cold regions water science and policy; and communications and digital media studies. Laurier SMA

Laurier SMA focuses on teaching quality, entrepreneurship success Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 03:30 09/09/2014 - 03:30

Purdue University in Indiana has announced that it will create a cross-disciplinary, competency-based bachelor’s degree. The program was proposed by the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, a “transformational engine” in the university’s College of Technology. The Institute spent a year developing the proposed degree, which will organize student learning around themes rather than “seat time.” A cohort of 36 students will take the program beginning this fall, with instruction being delivered by 18 faculty members from the colleges of Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Technology and Science, and the university’s libraries. Students will study under a faculty mentor who will assess and credential students based on demonstrated and documented competencies as they are achieved. “We hope that this degree program will serve as a model for other Purdue academic programs that lend themselves to competency-based education,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. The US government recently waived some federal aid requirements for certain institutions, paving the way for pilots of CBE programs. Inside Higher Ed | Purdue News

Purdue offers competency-based bachelor’s degree Top Ten 09/09/2014 - 03:30 09/09/2014 - 03:30

A brief controversy erupted at Queen’s university last week when its student newspaper The Journal was informed by the Athletics department that only one media pass would be granted for the upcoming year instead of the 8 passes requested and granted in the past. According to The Journal, this was in response to the reporting of the varsity ‘team of the year’ award last spring, which prompted Jeff Downie, Associate Director of Athletics, to write in a letter to Journal staff, “we will be reevaluating our relationship, and the privileged access we provide the Journal moving forward.” The Journal’s Editor-in-Chief Nick Faris commented in an article last week that the refusal to grant the passes as a way of “punishing [The Journal] for reporting on the team of the year vote is a slap in the face to the entire student body.” The Queen’s Gaels have since announced on Twitter that they will provide the “additional media passes as requested.” The Journal | Globe and Mail

Controversy between Queen's athletics and student newspaper Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

Capilano University has released its first Academic Plan, highlighting the strengths of the university and opportunities to excel. The Academic Plan will serve as a starting point for the 2015-18 Strategic Plan, to be developed in the coming months. The document outlines potential pathways for institutional renewal and represents the “collective will of our community to embrace change and participate in growth.” The Academic Plan consists of sections detailing CapilanoU’s vision for academic principles, academic programming, academic support, and moving forward, with an appendix that addresses possibilities for the upcoming Strategic Plan. “The Academic Plan is the first step in reimagining Cap’s future. The strategic planning process that follows will continue to be collaborative and lead to the collective transformation of learning, teaching, and academic work at Capilano University,” stated Rick Gale, CapilanoU VP Academic and Provost. CapilanoU News Release | Academic Plan

CapilanoU releases first Academic Plan Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

The College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia has granted a 7-year approval to UBC Okanagan’s collaborative nursing program with Okanagan College. The 2+2 UBC/OC Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program allows students to take the first 2 years at Okanagan College before enrolling at UBCO to complete years 3 and 4. The approval was granted without terms or conditions, and occurred in 2 steps: the 4-year BSN program at UBCO was granted a 7-year approval in 2012, and the college received approval of their 2-year program this summer. “Our collaborative efforts and joint commitment to quality education lie behind this extended approval,” explained Okanagan College’s Dean of Science, Technology and Health, Yvonne Moritz. “That makes a good piece of news even more inspiring for the 2 departments and our students.” UBCO News Release

Collaborative nursing program offered by UBCO and Okanagan College gains approval Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

Northern Lights College President Laurie Rancourt has accepted a position as Vice-President at Humber College to be closer to her family, but said she is concerned about cuts at Northern Lights to programs like Visual Arts. That program was eliminated after BC asked institutions to trim $50 M from their budgets over 2 fiscal years, even as colleges were asked to invest in training workers for a forecastedboom in the liquefied natural gas industry. “There’s a real risk of eroding programs that are critical to the health of the community,” Rancourt told the Alaska Highway News. “I wouldn’t go to the extreme that [Northern Lights] becomes a training camp for industry, but the capacity to be community-minded definitely erodes.” Rancourt admits that Visual Arts was not meeting its enrolment targets, but said that she feels linking PSE funding to expected labour market needs is shortsighted. “We need a funding mechanism that gives you a multi-year indication of what your budget is going to be, so you can plan, you can be strategic,” she said. Alaska Highway NewsNorthern Lights News Release

Outgoing Northern Lights President says funding changes "erode" community-mindedness in BC PSE Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

Canada has published its annual report on the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP), reflecting data from 2012–2013. According to the report, the CSLP distributed funding to more than 472,000 full-time and 9,600 part-time students, amounting to more than $2.6 B in loans. 357,000 full- and part-time students also received a total $695 M in grants. The report also notes that 209,000 borrowers received support from the program’s Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP), which launched in 2013. Most (55%) students receiving loans were 21 years of age or younger. 60% of students receiving loans were female. The majority (64%) of students receiving loans resided in Ontario, followed by British Columbia (13%) and Alberta (10%). The data also indicate that 59% of full-time student borrowers attended university, 31% attended college, and 10% attended a private institution; these figures remain virtually unchanged compared to the previous year. The report also says that the default rate on Canada student loans has declined to approximately 13%, compared to 28% in 2003–2004. CSLP Annual Report

Canada releases report on national student loans program Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

The Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia has launched a new campaign to raise awareness about student mental health and to prompt PSE institutions to invest in mental health support. “Student mental health has been a growing concern for years … Students have become very concerned with, often, the lack of services [on] campus,” said CFS-NS Chairperson Anna Dubinski. Dubinski said that the challenges faced by many students, including moving away from home, part-time jobs, and academic pressures, can exacerbate mental health issues, but claims that student debt is the primary stressor. “Increasing tuition fees and student mental health aren’t different issues. They’re actually one and the same,” she said. Nicholas Hatt, Dean of Students at the University of King’s College, said that his institution provides many services that help create a healthy environment, but acknowledged that more can be done. “It’s great to work with CFS and with the students on improving access to the services,” he said. Global News | CFS-NS

CFS-NS launches mental health awareness program Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

Ontario’s strategic mandate agreement (SMA) with St Clair College highlights the institution’s support for high-quality, accessible education that meets the needs of the southwestern Ontario labour market, through programs including Cross-Border Logistics and Security Management; International Manufacturing and Trade; Hospitality; and Health and Community Wellness. St Clair is noted to support regional economic development in a variety of areas. The college supports health and community wellness innovation through its partnerships with regional hospitals and universities, Local Health Integration Networks, and its international partners in Michigan; and supports international manufacturing, cross-border security, and supply chain management innovation through its training of highly qualified personnel and applied research initiatives. The SMA also notes St Clair’s work with industry partners including Uni-Fab, MEDA Engineering, and Night Glow. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas for growth: technical & skilled occupations in health; technical occupations related to natural and applied sciences; skilled sales and service occupations; professional occupations in health; and technical and skilled occupations in art, culture, recreation, and sport. St Clair SMA

St Clair SMA highlights support for regional economic development, industry partnerships Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Western University identifies as areas of differentiation WesternU’s comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs and mentions its particular strengths in imaging, materials and biomaterials, philosophy of science, big data, management, neuroscience, and finance, among others. The SMA recognizes WesternU’s contributions to jobs, innovation, and economic development through its WORLDiscoveries commercialization office, the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research, and Western Research Parks. As further strengths, the SMA mentions Western’s high performance on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), as well as the institution’s support for experiential and technology-enabled learning. The SMA notes that 98.9% of WesternU’s main campus entering class had admission averages above 80%, the highest in Ontario, and that admission averages have remained constant even as enrolment has increased. WesternU is also cited for its focus on interdisciplinary research delivered through the Ivey Business School, the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and its economics, social sciences, and arts and humanities programs. The SMA identifies 4 proposed program areas for growth: STEM disciplines; business, management, finance, and law; medical, health, and behavioural sciences; and education. WesternU SMA

WesternU SMA cites interdisciplinary research, commercialization as core strengths Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

US campus booksellers are fighting back against their online competition. The success of Chegg, Amazon, and other online retailers has forced campus booksellers to be more defensive when it comes to advertising on campus. Chegg, for instance, recruits students as on-campus brand ambassadors, gives away Red Bull and Starbucks products, and hosts their own book buy-backs. Campus booksellers argue that such tactics violate campus exclusivity agreements. At Southern Connecticut State University, university officials sent a cease-and-desist letter after learning that students were distributing Chegg fliers on campus. Other institutions force Chegg representatives to cover the company logo on their marketing materials. Chegg President Dan Rosenweig dismissed campus booksellers' complaints. “There’s no legal basis for it, and we’ve never been sued … The school should not be working against the interest of the student financially.” The Chronicle of Higher Education

US campus booksellers push back against online retailers Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

An 18-year-old University of Waterloo student was killed by a lightning strike on campus on Friday morning. The student’s name will not be released by the university out of respect for her family's wishes. “On behalf of our entire community of students, faculty and staff, I express heartfelt condolences to this student’s family, friends, and fellow students at this profoundly difficult time,” said uWaterloo President Feridun Hadullahpur. “Orientation week is a time when campus is especially vibrant and filled with optimism for the future, which makes her passing a source of immense grief.” uWaterloo is offering counselling services to any students who need them. Academica Group extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the student. CTV News | uWaterloo News Release | Hamdullahpur Statement

uWaterloo student killed by lightning strike Top Ten 09/08/2014 - 03:30 09/08/2014 - 03:30

Stephanie Forsyth, President of Red River College, has stepped down as of August 31, the college’s board of governors announced on Wednesday. According to a statement, Forsyth stepped down due to “personal and family reasons” and “through mutual agreement with her and the board of governors.” Forsyth’s resignation comes less than 4 years after she signed a 5-year contract with the institution. Board Chair Richard Lennon said, “the President approached us, and we had a discussion, and we moved from there … The terms of departure we aren’t sharing. That’s an HR matter … it was by mutual agreement that we parted ways.” Forsyth’s tenure as President has been the subject of some controversy. In April she took to her personal blog to refute reports of a $2-M deficit and a “mass exodus” of employees. Manitoba Education Minister James Allum told CBC at the time that the province planned to investigate “issues related to human resources and financial management” at the college; that process is still ongoing. Allum said that he was informed of Forsyth’s departure two weeks ago but offered no further details, stating only that “we look forward to working with the new president and to continue to build and grow a dynamic, innovative college that’s built on excellence.” CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (1) | Winnipeg Free Press (2)

Stephanie Forsyth steps down as RRC President Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

McGill University is celebrating the opening of its new Faculty of Dentistry facility, bringing pre-clinical and clinical training, community-based research, and administrative operations under one roof for the first time in the faculty’s history. The new $18.3-M facility provides modern clinical facilities and active learning spaces for students, and will serve as a hub for the outreach and collaboration initiatives conducted by dentistry students and researchers. McGill currently operates 4 satellite clinics that provide affordable and free oral health care to Montreal’s low-income population. “The challenge is to anticipate the needs of our students and patients for the next 20 years. I believe that in creating this new facility, the Faculty is meeting this challenge and we will have a greater impact on the community than ever before,” says Jeffrey Myers, Associate Dean Clinical Affairs. McGill Reporter

McGill opens new dentistry facility Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked Canada 15th out of 144 countries in its annual world competitive index. Canada has dropped one spot from last year’s ranking, due in part to its performance in innovation. WEF Chief Economist Jennifer Blanke said that Canada “really gets the basics right” but did not score as well on advanced measures, including spending on research and development. The country was 27th in the world in private-sector R&D spending, and 19th in university/industry collaboration. Moreover, Canada ranked just 48th in government procurement of advanced technology, seen as a key driver of technological innovation. Canada also underperformed in the WEF’s assessment of education and training, finishing 23rd in secondary enrolment and 45th in postsecondary enrolment. Globe and Mail

Lack of R&D spending hurts Canada in WEF rankings Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

Moody’s Investors Service says that Canada’s provincial funding model could have a negative effect on the country’s ability to attract international students. According to Moody’s, controls on tuition increases at the provincial level have made it difficult for universities to raise fees to the level necessary to meet demand for higher education; as a result, “inability to appropriately invest in facilities could become a comparative disadvantage.” Moody’s says that universities may increasingly have to consider private partnerships to better attract international students. The report claims that programs that have raised tuition fees to market levels, such as McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, have actually seen an increase in enrolment. However, not all universities are interested in international students solely as a source of revenue: some seek to achieve the right “mix” of students on campus, said Jennifer Humphries of the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE), while others have in mind the history and traditions of their campuses. Globe and Mail

Moody’s says Canadian universities must be able to raise fees to attract international students Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

Dalhousie University has restructured the roles of its senior administration. Many of the changes focus on the role of its Provost. While the duties of the provost have long been considered part of the portfolio of the vice-president, they have not been as fully exercised at Dal as they are at many other Canadian research-intensive universities. By implementing “the provost model," Dal says that it will enhance the integration of university planning and resource allocation. “By emphasizing the provost’s responsibilities, we ensure that our academic priorities drive decisions around allocating resources, renovating or adding new facilities, and other similar concerns. It makes our planning between academic and administrative units more integrated while providing a clearer and more efficient decision-making process,” said Dal President Richard Florizone. Dal’s current Provost, Carolyn Watters, will stay on in the role, with her title changing from “Vice-President Academic and Provost” to “Provost and Vice-President Academic.” Dal News

Dal restructures senior admin around provost model Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

Canadian university researchers are increasingly turning to the medical marijuana field as regulation changes have made it easier to access funding and support. The federal government recently shifted the production of medical marijuana from Health Canada to commercial companies, which are able to fund university-level research that often struggles to gain federal research dollars. Mark Ware, Director of Clinical Research at the McGill University Health Centre’s pain clinic, pointed out that there is a lack of data around the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana, which can be explored through clinical trials. “The opportunity is tremendous right now … the possibilities have never been better,” he said. Medical marijuana studies are not limited to pain management, with researchers also looking to study the effects of marijuana in the treatments of a variety of afflictions, including osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis symptoms, nausea in cancer patients, anxiety, epileptic seizures, and eye pressure caused by glaucoma. Steven Liss, VP Research at Queen’s University, noted that research opportunities exist beyond the clinical and include biology, chemistry, engineering, bio-security, and agro-business. University Affairs

Regulation changes make medical marijuana studies more accessible to Canadian researchers Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Northern College and Ontario emphasizes the college’s support for applied research through the Northern Office for Applied Research and Innovation (NOARI), its participation in the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation, and its work with Hydro One and other small and medium enterprises. Northern is also recognized for its delivery of programming in mining-related fields and its partnership in establishing Impact Benefit Agreements between local Aboriginal communities and industry. The SMA recognizes Northern’s demonstrated expertise in blended technology-enabled and experiential learning, as well as its small class sizes. The college is further cited for its efforts to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives into its learning environment and its collaboration with the Aboriginal Council on Education, Elders, and community leaders in northeastern Ontario. The agreement also highlights Northern’s participation in the Northern Colleges Collaboration and its partnerships with Laurentian University and Algoma University. 4 proposed program areas for growth are named in the agreement: veterinary sciences, wellness and health sciences, mining, and technology/trades. Northern SMA

Northern SMA focuses on applied research, partnerships with Aboriginal communities Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with the University of Windsor. The SMA says that uWindsor supports regional economic development through its focus on research that fits the needs of the area, including border challenges, automotive technology, wastewater management, and the Great Lakes. uWindsor is also cited for its support for entrepreneurial education: more than 1,000 students have engaged in entrepreneurial activities since 2011, and 17 spin-off companies were created last year alone. The SMA notes uWindsor’s teaching strengths as well, mentioning the institution’s support for peer mentoring through the Fundamentals of Academic Writing program and the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Mentorship Program. uWindsor is also recognized for its support for open learning and co-operative education, and its high level of teaching quality. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas for growth: health and wellness; law, education, and philosophy; engineering, science, and computing; creative arts and digital media; and business, political science, and international borders. uWindsor SMA

uWindsor SMA highlights entrepreneurial education, regionally focused research Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

The University of Wisconsin System has received approval from the US Department of Education to offer a self-paced, competency-based education (CBE) program. The new arts and science associate degree is a form of CBE called direct assessment, which is not based on a traditional credit-hour standard. The degree will add to existing competency-based programs offered by uWisconsin within its UW Flexible Option, most of which are certificate programs. Students enrolled in the new CBE program will be eligible for federal financial aid; uWisconsin is the first publicly funded institution to receive such approval. The US government recently waived some federal aid requirements for certain institutions in order to allow them to test CBE programs. The Clayton Christensen Institute recently said that online CBE is the innovation most likely to disrupt the PSE sector. Inside Higher Ed

uWisconsin receives approval for CBE program Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

The Huffington Post has profiled what it says are the “coolest classes in Canada.” The article features courses at colleges and universities across the country, ranging from a class in brewing science at the University of King’s College in Halifax to a course on maritime piracy at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Many of the courses use popular subject matter to introduce students to concepts in mathematics, literature, history, or information technology. Multiple classes focus on Harry Potter, while others offer students the chance to study in-depth social media phenomena, winemaking, hockey, and even evil. Some classes give students the opportunity to study abroad: Memorial University’s “British Drama in Performance,” taught by former This Hour Has 22 Minutes star Mary Walsh, will have students taking in plays in London, UK, while McGill University’s “Hot Cities of the World Tour” offers “a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to Mongolia and South Korea.” Huffington Post

Canadian PSE institutions offer students wide range of cool courses Top Ten 09/05/2014 - 03:30 09/05/2014 - 03:30

A Toronto-based firm is providing technology for PSE institutions who want a better look at candidates for admission. Kira Talent started out by focusing on company recruitment programs, but has found a market among college and university recruiters who want to reduce the number of essays they have to review. “By forcing [applicants] to do a video interview right on the spot, where their communication skills and English skills are put to the test, it’s a great way to get a real and authentic glimpse of who the student is and what their skills are like,” said founder and University of Waterloo graduate Konrad Listwan-Ciesielski. Applicants submit short videos in response to questions. The videos are then embedded into an application package alongside traditional materials. “This helps us very quickly to see this individual under a pressure situation and how they react so we can see their poise or lack thereof,” said Shai Dubey, Director of the MBA program at Queen’s University, a Kira Talent client. Listwan-Ciesielski says his firm is also developing a tool to evaluate writing abilities on the spot. Globe and Mail

Universities adopting video technology for admissions interviews Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

The University of Toronto and Sheridan College have implemented a program designed to help students realize the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. The MoveU program is a peer health initiative that urges students to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. “The whole thrust of MoveU is to create a culture that says physical activity needs to be a core piece of your school experience because you’ll like it better and it can help you,” said uToronto Director of Physical Activity and Equity Michelle Brownrigg. Program organizers hope especially to reach students who are intimidated by campus gyms or who feel they don’t have time for exercise. “We’ve adapted to their needs and bring physical activities to their spaces,” said program leader Ayana Webb. The pilot program is already spreading: this year the program will be offered at Sheridan and 3 uToronto campuses, and 8 other PSE institutions in Canada and the US have expressed interest in the initiative. Toronto Star

MoveU initiative at Sheridan and uToronto promotes student wellness Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

The University of Prince Edward Island has announced a partnership with private mental health services provider Shepell-FGI that it says will significantly enhance the mental health and other support services available to its students. The partnership will allow students to access mental health supports after-hours and on weekends, 365 days a year. A variety of professionals, including counsellors, nutritionists, lawyers, and financial experts will be able to provide advice to students on a range of issues such as relationships, childcare, landlord/tenant issues, and health and financial issues. UPEI’s Student Affairs office will continue to provide student supports during regular business hours. “Our innovative and unique service will be able to give students support anytime, anywhere, and anyhow as we offer support solutions around the clock using our digital platforms through our EAP app, online, or by telephone,” said Barb Veder, VP Clinical Services and Research Lead. The additional services are available to all students free of charge as of September 1, 2014. UPEI News | CBC

New partnership provides additional mental health services to UPEI students Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has committed more than $2 M over 3 years to fund family law services at university-based legal clinics for low-income Ontarians. The University of Toronto, York University, Queen’s University, Western University, the University of Windsor, and the University of Ottawa will all benefit from the funding. These clinics allow law students to work under the supervision of lawyers to provide legal advice and representation in several areas, including minor crimes, tenant and landlord disputes, immigration, tribunals, and now family law services. “Family law is one of the greatest areas of need when it comes to accessing justice,” says John McCamus, Chair of LAO. “We believe that law students can help to bridge the growing gaps in legal services—and we are pleased to support these student-run legal clinics to ensure that this happens.” LAO News Release

University-based legal aid services get funding boost from Legal Aid Ontario Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

The University of Northern British Columbia has received $1.1 M from the provincial government to support the expansion of its bioenergy heating system. The funding was announced as part of UNBC’s 25th-anniversary celebration, which began on Tuesday. The contribution will enable the institution to connect its student residences, Enhanced Forestry Lab, and daycare facility to a new district energy system, reducing the campus’s reliance on fossil fuel for heating. Currently, close to 75% of heating on UNBC’s Prince George campus is drawn from locally sourced biomass. The Omineca Beetle Action Coalition and the TransCanada Corporation have also partnered in supporting the project. “UNBC is seen as an innovative leader in the clean energy field and as a driver of economic development to create jobs and opportunities for British Columbians. Extending the bioenergy system is great for students, future generations of British Columbians, the community and our province,” said BC Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk. BC News Release

UNBC receives funding for sustainable bioenergy system Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

The Ottawa Citizen has published an overview of the current state of Statistics Canada, surveying the agency's recent history. The report cites several recent instances in which errors were discovered in reported figuresand implies that budget cutbacks, along with changes to the census, have had a significant impact on the efficacy of the organization. The article identifies several small- and large-scale surveys that have been eliminated or cut back in recent years, including the Workplace and Employee Survey and the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics. uOttawa economics professor Miles Corak, a former Senior Manager at StatsCan, says the cuts are reflective of a shift at the agency from serving as a “statistics agency for the nation” to “a service provider for the federal government.” Another former employee, however, says that the cuts have made StatsCan leaner, more focused, and more efficient. In an interview with the Citizen, StatsCan’s Chief Statistician Wayne Smith says that budget cuts have been exaggerated. Smith says that while StatsCan's program has been reduced, “our systems, our processes, are far more robust and solid than they’ve been in the past.” Ottawa Citizen (Changes) | Ottawa Citizen (Interview)

Debate over reliability of StatsCan in wake of budget cuts Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

The Council of Ontario Universities has released results of a recent survey conducted for the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities that reveals 93% of 2011 university graduates are employed 2 years after graduating. Earlier studies found that 6 months after graduating, 87.4% of 2011 graduates were working. The average salary of 2011 graduates working full-time was $49,398, and 88.6% of these graduates consider their work closely or somewhat related to the skills developed at university. Employment rates for university graduates have increased since the last time the survey was conducted in 2012-13. “University graduates are succeeding in the workplace more than graduates with any other level of education because they have the versatile skills employers are looking for,” says Max Blouw, COU Chair and President of Wilfrid Laurier University. COU News Release | Survey Infographic

COU releases data on employment rates of university graduates Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Niagara College identifies as the institution’s key areas of differentiation its support for the Niagara region’s unique economy, including the culinary, viticulture, and agri-business sectors; advanced manufacturing; and tourism. The SMA identifies as strengths Niagara’s applied research, delivered through its Centres of Excellence in Food and Beverage Innovation, Advanced Manufacturing, and Agriculture and Environment; it further notes Niagara’s close ties to Innovate Niagara, the Regional Innovation Centre, and various industry associations. According to the SMA, Niagara has demonstrated strength in co-operative and experiential learning programs, its Learning Enterprises program, and its Be World Ready program, which integrates global perspectives into its curriculum. Niagara is also cited for its support for mature and non-traditional learners through a revamped academic schedule, online course offerings, and vocational programs. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas for growth: Canadian food and wine industry, hospitality management, business management, advanced manufacturing, and health and wellness. Niagara SMA

Niagara College SMA highlights contributions to unique regional economy Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with the University of Waterloo. The SMA recognizes as uWaterloo’s key areas of differentiation its focus on cultivating innovation through experiential learning, entrepreneurial education, and high-impact research, especially in programs including mathematics, computer sciences, quantum science/nanotechnology, and engineering and architecture. The SMA highlights uWaterloo’s strong support for economic development through its business accelerator centres and entrepreneurship programs and the Waterloo Commercialization Office. The SMA notes that uWaterloo generates $8.80 in total economic impact for every dollar invested by the province. uWaterloo is cited for its support for experiential and technology-enabled learning, as well as its high rate of student satisfaction. The SMA notes uWaterloo’s commitment to accessible education, including its programs for Aboriginal youth. uWaterloo is also recognized for its research achievements, as evinced by national and international rankings. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas for growth: engineering, science, and architecture; social innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability; security and risk management; technology, culture, and communications; and health and aging. uWaterloo SMA

uWaterloo SMA emphasizes high-impact research, entrepreneurial education, economic impact Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

Many universities and colleges have released apps to help students navigate available resources and services. But in some places, students are identifying unmet needs and creating their own apps to fill the gap. The New York Times profiles a number of students who created apps that perform tasks such as query their university’s registration system for open spots in courses or help students identify good electives. Other programs help students sort through course catalogues to find classes that meet scheduling needs, or identify when friends have free periods. Colleges and universities are learning from these unofficial tools. Student-created apps not only help demonstrate what students really want, but expose inefficiencies and weaknesses in school systems. Some schools are working to collaborate with enterprising students by giving them jobs rather than punishing them for crashing IT systems. “It turns out if you give students the power they’ll do some pretty great things with it,” said Alexey Komissarouk, who founded a student group called PennApps at the University of Pennsylvania. New York Times

US colleges learning from student-developed apps Top Ten 09/04/2014 - 03:30 09/04/2014 - 03:30

The University of the Fraser Valley has officially opened a new location at Chilliwack’s historic Five Corners. The 7,000-square-foot site includes classroom space, a computer lab, meeting rooms, and offices, and will be used to deliver Continuing Education courses. The facility will also be available for community purposes, customized contract training, and for programming by other UFV departments. The site was donated to the university by the Bank of Montreal; the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation also provided $850,000 and helped manage the renovation project. “This excellent and much-needed new facility is a prime example of what can be achieved when corporate and community partners work together with our university,” said UFV President Mark Evered. Liana Thompson, UFV’s Director of Continuing Education, added, “we are very excited about creating a space geared towards working professionals who want to gain specific, applied, career-focused skills.” UFV News Release

UFV Five Corners opens in Chilliwack Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

British Columbia’s English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students and providers are facing continued uncertainty about the future of their programs, reports the Globe and Mail. The federal government announced last year that it would no longer provide $22 M in annual funding for ESL programs. Although the BC government has committed about $17 M in one-time funding to help institutions transition, the funding will not carry most programs past the 2014–15 school year. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has accepted proposals for federally-funded “settlement services,” including ESL training, that “can best provide newcomers with the services they need, such as language training and career counselling, for the best value for taxpayers’ dollars.” Vancouver Community College is the biggest public provider of ESL programming in BC, training nearly half of the province’s 9,000 ESL students. VCC has already announced that it will likely have to cut programs and lay off teaching staff. Other PSE institutions in BC are exploring options before announcing program cuts. Globe and Mail

Future of ESL programming in BC remains uncertain Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

Some international students at the University of Ottawa are upset with the new language-based tuition discount offered to French-speaking international students. uOttawa announced last year that it would offer domestic tuition rates to international students who want to study in French. Reported amounts vary, but French-speaking international students are saving $10,000–$15,000 in tuition annually; the discount has resulted in 3 times as many French-speaking international students enrolling so far this year. However, non-French-speaking international students at uOttawa say the discount is unfair. “I think every language is equal,” said Scott Zhoe, an international student from China. “You can't make me pay more money than they do just because I don't speak French.” Caroline Renaud, the Director of uOttawa’s international office, said the university is not aware of any upset students. “We're not seeing it as being unfair, and we just very sincerely explain the situation to international students who choose to study in English,” she said. CBC

uOttawa’s new tuition discount upsets some international students Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

This week, many PSE students are moving into new homes. However, some students studying in cities with low vacancy rates are struggling to find accommodations. In Vancouver, a 1.7% vacancy rate, along with high rental prices, have made it difficult to find housing near the university. Calgary students are facing a similar situation. Even with some of the country’s most prohibitive zoning laws regarding rentals, the city’s vacancy rate is just 1.4%. The demand means landlords are often overwhelmed with applications, and are able to take their pick of tenants. Students, meanwhile, might find themselves considering—or unknowingly renting—an illegal suite just to get a roof over their heads. Things aren’t much better in Edmonton, which has a comparable vacancy rate to Calgary's as a result of an influx of workers migrating to the province. In all cases, PSE institutions are working to create residence spaces, but limited resources and capacity can make doing so a challenge. Parents, too, are getting creative; some are even buying condo units for their PSE-aged students, particularly for out-of-province students. The purchase is seen as a long-term investment that also ensures students have a safe, comfortable place to live. Vancouver Sun | Calgary Herald | Edmonton Journal | Ottawa Citizen

Housing markets leave many students scrambling for accommodations Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

The Toronto Star reports that the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth has called for a review of Ontario’s provincial deaf schools, following a number of student complaints. According to the Star, students say that they are not being provided with sufficient courses to prepare them for a university education; others say they have been told by teachers that they are not smart enough to pursue PSE. Students have also complained that some teachers refuse to use American Sign Language (ASL) regularly in school, making it difficult to follow the curriculum; they also claim that senior administrators are not able to effectively communicate in ASL beyond simple greetings. A spokesperson for Ontario’s education minister told the Star that every provincial school for the deaf has at least one administrator who is deaf, and that “every effort is made to have a teacher who is proficient in American Sign Language in each classroom”; but, she noted that a lack of qualified teachers sometimes means hiring non-specialists. Toronto Star

Students at Ontario deaf schools complain of inadequate education and services Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

A Concordia University professor argues that university students are often pushed to specialize too early in their education, and as a result may lack the perspective offered by a broad range of courses and programs. In an op-ed published in the Montreal Gazette, Paul L Allen writes that the current emphasis on specialization in PSE may cost students and our society the benefits of a general education. Allen, who is now a professor of theology, recalls a first-year economics course he took, noting that the professor challenged students to consider “how and why to think about” the subject; a history course, meanwhile, provided him with “an indispensable means for understanding the human condition.” Allen concludes by urging university students to think as broadly as possible. “At the very least,” he says, “being at university should take in as much of the universe—and beyond it—as possible.” Montreal Gazette

Op-ed encourages universities, students to aim for a broad education Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Mohawk College. The SMA identifies as Mohawk’s key areas of differentiation its specialized focus on health and technology in the Western Golden Horseshoe, its close alignment with Hamilton’s economic development strategy, and its proven success in skilled trades and apprenticeship training. The SMA also cites the college’s support for applied research through its iDeaWorks Centre, the mHealth and eHealth Development and Innovation Centre (MEDIC), and its partnerships with Hydro One, Siemens, and ArcelorMittal Dofasco. Mohawk’s focus on providing blended learning formats and its new academic plan are also highlighted in the SMA. The college is also cited for its work toward improved access for underrepresented groups via its Student Success Plan, Access Initiative, and its Aboriginal Recruitment and Project Pathfinder initiatives; Mohawk’s partnership with McMaster University on joint degree programs is also noted. The SMA identifies 4 proposed program areas for growth: health/allied health, technology, business, and apprenticeship. Mohawk SMA

Mohawk SMA cites support for regional economic development, health and technology focus Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between the University of Toronto and Ontario highlights uToronto's international research strength, its broad range of program offerings and research activities, and its far-ranging economic and social impact. The SMA lists among uToronto’s areas of strength its contribution to knowledge translation and entrepreneurship, which has given rise to 81 new start-up companies over the past 5 years. The SMA also mentions uToronto’s support for entrepreneurship through its Innovations and Partnership Office, its 4 accelerators, and the Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The agreement cites as strengths uToronto’s “embedding” of professionals in colleges, faculties and libraries; its support for small learning communities; and its co-curricular record program. uToronto’s support for technology-assisted learning and experiential learning are identified as further strengths. The SMA also lists some of the ways in which uToronto supports education accessibility, such as the Student Access Guarantee and First Nations House. 6 proposed program areas for growth are identified: biomedicine and health-related programs, engineering/architecture/environment, global affairs/public policy, business/management/finance, arts and sciences – doctoral stream, and graduate teacher education. uToronto SMA

uToronto SMA highlights support for innovation, learning communities, and research strength Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

An article published in University World News says that the belief that an economic value of a degree is tied strictly to hard skills and job capabilities does not correspond with the approach that human resources experts take to evaluating the degrees of job candidates. Sean Gallagher, Chief Strategy Officer at Northwestern University, describes degrees as a “key currency powering the knowledge economy,” but argues that degrees are often used as indicators of soft attributes such as perseverance, acculturation, and leadership ability. Degrees do not simply indicate technical skill or general knowledge, but “signal” competencies to potential employers. However, Gallagher says, the value of a degree as a signal is at risk. Transnational education and a lack of standardized credentialing limit the use of degrees for this purpose. Global harmonization seems unlikely, Gallagher argues, and it may be incumbent upon private-sector recruiters to develop analytics-based solutions capable of correlating degrees, areas of study, and employee performance. University World News

Data-driven approach may help employers determine value of degrees Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

The authors of 2011’s Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses have published a follow-up to the original work. For Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa tracked more than 1,600 US college students at 24 4-year institutions, analyzing 918 survey responses and 80 interviews. The authors found that 53% of graduates surveyed earned less than $30,000 per year, and nearly a quarter lived at home 2 years after graduating. 70% received financial aid from their parents. Only one-third of respondents said they read newspapers online or in-print on a daily basis, and just 16% said they discussed politics and public affairs on a daily basis with friends or family. The study also found that students’ performance on the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) correlated with graduates’ ability to hold a job. Arum and Roksa say that graduates are prolonging a stage they call “emerging adulthood,” and say that PSE institutions' focus on “consumer” preferences rather than rigorous academics is partly responsible. Critics of the research, however, say that broader societal factors are also to blame, though PSE institutions must play a role in finding a solution. The Chronicle of Higher Education (1) | The Chronicle of Higher Education (2) | Inside Higher Ed

Authors say US PSE students remain in “emerging adulthood” long after graduation Top Ten 09/03/2014 - 03:30 09/03/2014 - 03:30

4 provinces have signed 2 separate agreements that will enhance labour mobility for apprentices. Alberta and Nova Scotia announced that their agreement will improve the recognition of in-province training, and enable recognition of apprenticeship work experience hours, making it easier for apprentices to achieve certification. Apprentices taking pre-apprenticeship training at Nova Scotia Community College will have their training recognized in AB, saving them from repeating courses and exams. An agreement signed between British Columbia and New Brunswick, meanwhile, will accelerate the certification of NB apprentices in their trades via employment with BC employers; in turn, the agreement will help BC meet demand for skilled labourers beyond the supply of its existing workforce. It is also hoped that the agreements will contribute to the development of a national apprenticeship mobility strategy. AB News Release | NB News Release

Provinces sign apprenticeship mobility agreements Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has released a new website,, designed to help students, parents, and guidance counsellors find information about Canada’s PSE institutions and PSE programs. The online resource includes profiles of institutions and AUCC’s searchable program database, as well as articles and tips for students on PSE planning. In addition, the new site contains dedicated information for Aboriginal students, and information for international students considering studying in Canada. “With this new website, AUCC is pleased to help students navigate the breadth of high-quality universities and programs offered across Canada,” says AUCC President Paul Davidson. AUCC News Release |

AUCC launches new online resource for students planning PSE Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Engineering last week celebrated the official opening of the new Nova Scotia Product Design and Development Centre (NSPDDC). The new centre represents the merging of two existing groups, the Innovation in Design Lab (iDLab) and the Product Research and Design Group (PRDG), in order to maximize the work being done individually by the 2 groups while further supporting research and development (R&D) and innovation in NS. The province supported the creation of the NSPDDC with a commitment of $85,000. “Finding ways to connect the private sector with the expertise and creativity of our universities will help make our businesses more competitive and profitable,” said Michel Samson, NS Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. “This centre can help our young, ambitious engineers gain valuable connections to local businesses and our small businesses reach their highest potential.” Dal News

Dal launches new Nova Scotia Product Design and Development Centre Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

A venture-capital (VC) research firm has recognized the University of Waterloo, McGill University, the University of Toronto, and Queen’s University as being among the top universities in the world for VC-backed entrepreneurs. The schools in the list are ranked based on the number of graduates who went on to launch venture-backed companies over a 5-year period, the number of startups founded by alumni, and total capital raised. uWaterloo finished in 16th place; McGill, uToronto, and Queen’s finished in 31st, 33rd, and 48th, respectively. US schools dominated the rankings, with Stanford University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology taking the top 3 spots on the list. The highest ranking non-US institution was the Indian Institute of Technology, which came in 7th. Entrepreneur | Full Rankings

4 Canadian universities among top 50 universities for VC-backed entrepreneurs Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

Canadian MBA programs are looking beyond their own discipline to enhance students’ experiences. Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business recently concluded a pilot program on surgical innovation that brought together as a team MBA students from Concordia, surgical students from McGill, and engineering students from L’École de technologie supérieure de Montréal. Together, the team worked on developing a product with an eye toward building a new company. Sandra Betton, Director of the MBA program at Concordia, says that the university plans to expand the concept to other projects. “The goal is to come up with something that can be patented, sell the idea, and manage a startup. Working with a cross-disciplinary team helps them gain a very different perspective and makes innovation practical,” she said. Other universities are also looking to build bridges between programs. The University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business is working with uCalgary's School of Public Policy to offer a joint MBA/Master of Public Policy degree, while the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business has joined the Global Network for Advanced Management, which unites 27 global institutions to foster international experiences for students. Financial Post

Canadian MBA programs look beyond disciplinary, institutional boundaries Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Loyalist College. The SMA identifies as Loyalist’s areas of institutional strength its support for community economic development through the Quinte Business Development Centre, the infiniteSpaces Virtual World Design Centre, and the Loyalist Training & Knowledge Centre, as well as the college’s support for commercialization and applied research. The SMA also cites the variety of education delivery methods available at Loyalist, including experiential learning and technology-enabled learning options, as well as the school’s innovative Simulation Lab in Health Sciences. The SMA notes Loyalist’s support for improving education access for Aboriginal students, students with disabilities, and lower-income students. The college’s close partnership with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte is also identified as a strength. 5 proposed program areas are identified as proposed areas for growth: business—international trade/logistics; health sciences—practical nursing/personal support worker; applied sciences—biotech; welding and fabrication, and manufacturing technician; and media—fine arts. Loyalist SMA

Loyalist SMA highlights support for economic development and technology-enabled learning Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and the University of Ottawa emphasizes the institution’s role as Ontario’s flagship bilingual university in the comprehensive/research-intensive category, as well as its research strengths in the areas of health, Canada and the World, molecular and environmental sciences, and e-society. The SMA highlights as areas of institutional strength uOttawa’s economic impact on the Ottawa-Gattineau region, its promotion of entrepreneurship, its focus on health, and its engagement with local and global communities. uOttawa is also recognized for its support for experiential and technology-enabled learning, with particular mention made of uOttawa’s co-op program, its support for blended learning, and its use of simulation scenarios in language education. Medicine and health, science and technology, and government and management are identified as areas of research strength, and the SMA notes uOttawa’s strong performance in international rankings. The SMA lists 5 proposed program areas of growth: management and communication, science and engineering, environment, public policy, and health. uOttawa SMA

uOttawa SMA focuses on community and global connections, health, and bilingual education Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

The majority of international students studying in the US enrol in business and STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), according to a new report that examined more than one million student visas between 2008 and 2012. One in 3 international undergraduate students go to the US to study business, management, or marketing, as do almost 30% of all international master’s degree students. The top source cities of these business students are Beijing, China and Seoul, South Korea. Hyderabad, India was the top source city for students studying STEM fields. The study also found that more than one quarter of international doctoral students were taking an engineering program. Other notable programs that attract international students to the US include the visual and performing arts, theology, and homeland security. The data also reveal specific locations in the US that have high concentrations of international students in certain program areas, as well as areas that retain a large number of international students after graduation. The Chronicle of Higher Education

International students come to US for business, STEM education Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

Students at Florida Polytechnic University won’t have to worry about misplacing the books they sign out from the institution’s library. That’s because the library’s collection is entirely digital. “We have access to print books through the state university system’s interlibrary loan program. However, we strongly encourage our students to read and work with information digitally,” said Kathryn Miller, Director of Libraries. Instead of shelves, the 11,000 square-foot library features an open floor plan, computers, desks, and seating. Students will be able to access approximately 135,000 e-books, and the FPU has a budget of $60,000 that will be devoted to automatically purchasing books that are viewed twice on its system. This approach, Miller said, “allows for many more books to be available for the students, and the university only has to pay when the student or faculty member uses the book.” Miller adds that the bookless library also supports the university’s mission to prepare students for the high-tech workforce. Memorial University implemented a similar purchasing program in 2013. The Guardian (UK)

New Florida university has a library without books Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

Some textbook publishers are learning the hard way that many students prefer to buy books used or, in some cases, to find pirated copies of their required readings. Data from Student Public Interest Research Groups indicate that as many as two-thirds of US PSE students opted not to buy a course textbook due to costs. The Book Industry Study Groups, meanwhile, found that 25% of US students admitted to borrowing and copying textbooks from other students, while 19% said they acquired textbooks from a pirate website. Sales of new printed textbooks have suffered as a result of rising prices and changing habits, while sales of faculty-designed, “customized” textbooks and software programs are climbing. Some publishers have shifted focus to e-books, but are finding that many students still prefer physical copies. “Our business is having to shift,” said David Levin, President of McGraw-Hill Education. “It was probably slow in shifting. And the last couple of years have seen a radical transformation.” Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Textbook publishers slow in responding to industry change Top Ten 09/02/2014 - 03:30 09/02/2014 - 03:30

Alberta’s official opposition leader has said that a government led by the Wildrose party would forgive up to 50% of student loans for PSE graduates who stay to work in AB in areas struggling to find skilled workers. The initiative is part of a new party policy that would introduce tuition caps based on inflation and population growth; invest in Internet-based learning; open more spots in high-demand degree, diploma, and certificate programs; and allow high schools to provide more specialized courses and opportunities for dual-credit programs in the trades. The policy also aims to reduce barriers between provinces to make apprenticeships recognized nationally. The Wildrose policy is designed to provide certainty for PSE institutions and students, who would be “guaranteed that government funding would not be based on ‘knee-jerk responses to revenue shortages,’” said Wildrose MLA Gary Bikman. Student leaders in AB recently expressed concern about proposed market-based tuition hikes for certain programs. Edmonton Journal

AB’s opposition party promises tuition caps and loan relief for students who work in high-demand areas Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

A new report from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) says that Canadian universities face approximately $8.4 B in deferred facilities maintenance, but still have an opportunity to address the backlog before it becomes a critical problem. According to the report, the deferred maintenance costs faced by participating universities have more than doubled since 2000. The report warns PSE leaders that without a significant investment, more than 60% of the space studied in the report will have gone 25 years since its last renewal, and 25% will have gone 50 years. Many of these facilities are described in the report as “mission-critical,” including core research facilities; failing to maintain this vital infrastructure, the report says, could negatively affect teaching and research activities. Fewer than 20% of Canadian universities are on-track to meet necessary stewardship targets. Inside Higher Ed | Marketwired

Report says universities must invest in aging infrastructure Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

The federal government this week announced $44 M in funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support research collaboration between private, public, and not-for-profit sectors that will serve to advance understanding of people and society. The funding will be granted as 14 Partnership Grants and 57 Partnership Development Grants. “SSHRC’s funding of research partnerships helps create and sustain a culture of innovation in Canada, and fosters stronger collaboration among academic, private, public and not-for-profit sectors,” said SSHRC President Chad Gaffield. The funding announcement was made at Brandon University; BrandonU will host the Rural Policy Learning Commons initiative, a SSHRC-funded international partnership that aims to improve the social and economic well-being of rural and northern regions in Canada. Canada News Release | Partnership Grant Recipients | Partnership Development Grant Recipients

$44 M in SSHRC partnership grants announced Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) says that Canadian businesses are not doing their part when it comes to collaborating on research and development. OCUFA cites a Statistics Canada report that shows that business spending on research and development is expected to hit its lowest level since 2004; adjusted for inflation, business’s investment in R&D will be at its lowest since 1999. OCUFA says that if current trends persist, private sector investment in R&D will soon be lower than at any point since 1990–91. OCUFA notes that the intensity of industrial R&D among nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is increasing in spite of Canadian figures that pull the average down. OCUFA says that “Canadian business is falling behind, sitting on cash reserves while expecting universities and governments to pick up their research slack.” OCUFA Blog

OCUFA says Canadian business not doing its share for R&D Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has released a new report entitled “Science Culture: Where Canada Stands,” outlining Canada’s support for science culture over the last 25 years. The report says that while Canadians do well in public science knowledge, attitudes, and engagement, there is room for improvement in areas including skill development. The report, produced by a 14-member expert panel, found that Canadians have the lowest level of reservation toward science among 17 countries considered, and ranked 9th in terms of attitudes regarding the promise of science. Apprehension about science has decreased since 1989, but skepticism about science’s ability to achieve social, environmental, and economic objectives has increased since 2004. 93% of Canadians surveyed as part of the report said that they were moderately or very interested in scientific discoveries and technological developments. 42% of Canadian respondents had sufficient knowledge to grasp basic scientific concepts and to understand media coverage of scientific issues. The report also found that 51% of those who hold degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics are immigrants. CCA News Release | Report Summary

Report finds Canadians have positive attitude toward science Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

A new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario sheds light on the value of workshops as a means to help health sciences students in large group settings develop teamwork and collaboration skills. Researchers examined 129 undergraduate health sciences students at McMaster University, who volunteered to participate in workshops focused on the needs of children with Down syndrome and autism. 55 of the students participated in a facilitated workshop, which included a guided discussion about interprofessional teamwork. The research found no discernible difference in student learning between the facilitated and non-facilitated workshops; however, students in the non-facilitated workshop indicated that they would have preferred a more guided discussion. Students in the non-facilitated group also said that focus groups provided a positive experience for discussion and learning, while those in the facilitated group did not. Report Summary | Full Report

HEQCO publishes report on use of workshops for skill development Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

An article in the Globe and Mail highlights recent changes in architecture at PSE institutions in Canada. The article notes that for decades, PSE institutions were fixated on the idea that their buildings could not exceed 3 storeys. Don Schmitt, an architect whose firm has worked with 40 colleges and universities, said that “it’s partly because there’s been the tradition across many campuses.” But things may be changing. Schmitt’s firm helped work on the Faculty of Social Sciences building at the University of Ottawa, with 15 storeys. He says that while his team initially met some resistance to their plan for a 15-floor tower, the reception since the building opened has been extremely positive. Institutions in urban settings must be especially conscious of their footprint, and must make more use of the space that they have. Even schools that don’t have such a space crunch are seeing the benefits of reducing sprawl. Thompson Rivers University’s new law school, for instance, allowed the university to re-imagine teaching areas, as well as capitalize on the school’s scenic surroundings. Globe and Mail

uOttawa, TRU see benefits in growing up, not out Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 10:00 08/29/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has published the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Lambton College. The SMA notes that Lambton is the sole provider of PSE in its region, with strength in energy and bio-industrial technology, fire and public safety, health and sustainable care, and entrepreneurship. Lambton’s programs are well-integrated with local employers and support commercialization and training through applied research activity and collaborations with local entrepreneurs, start-up companies, and other small and medium enterprises. The SMA also highlights Lambton’s support for a variety of program delivery methods. Lambton, the SMA notes, was the first college in Ontario to mandate a common inter-professional education course in the curriculum of all health programs. The college’s Class+Experience initiative, which will make all of its postsecondary programs mobile, is cited as being particularly innovative. Lambton is also recognized for its focus on access for Aboriginal learners and its work with the Aboriginal Education Council. The SMA identifies 7 proposed program areas for growth: mechanical/power, bio-industrial technologies, health, nursing, public safety, intelligence and analytics, and business/management. Lambton SMA

Lambton SMA emphasizes innovative program delivery, integration with employers Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the province highlights UOIT’s close ties with its community and industry partners. The SMA notes that UOIT has been identified by the Durham region as a key driver of growth in the area; the agreement says that UOIT’s regional economic impact is estimated to be more than $1.1 B. UOIT is also acknowledged for its productive partnerships with IBM, the Spark Centre, and the IDEAHub incubator, among other community and industry organizations. The SMA cites UOIT’s support for research that directly addresses key societal and scientific challenges through centres such as the Clean Energy Research Laboratory. Other areas of institutional strength include UOIT’s support for mentoring between faculty and students, its experiential learning opportunities, and its technology-enabled learning. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas of growth: advanced manufacturing and energy, informatics, social and international justice, health sciences, and natural sciences. UOIT SMA

UOIT SMA highlights research contributions, community and industry partnerships Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

One faculty member at Salem College in North Carolina has taken an interesting approach to the vast number of emails received from students: she has banned the majority of emails students are likely to send her. Communications professor Spring-Serenity Duvall wanted to cut back on the time she spent going through emails from students telling her they would be late, or would miss class, or would have to leave early, but she didn’t want to add to syllabus-bloat. She therefore instituted a simple policy: no emails unless a student was scheduling a face-to-face meeting. Duvall piloted the policy last year and describes it as an “unqualified success.” She found students were better prepared for class and contacted her during office hours at an increased rate; end-of-class evaluations were also better than with previous cohorts. Duvall did allow one exception to the rule—students were allowed to send her content that they felt was relevant to the class. Inside Higher Ed

US prof implements no-email policy in classes Top Ten 08/29/2014 - 03:30 08/29/2014 - 03:30

Canadian PSE institutions are making changes to their orientation programming in response to last year’s controversies. Following the University of British Columbia’s recently announced changes, Saint Mary’s University has said that it has revised its own frosh week programming in response to last year’s revelation of an inflammatory chant that endorsed non-consensual sex with underage women. The university has introduced a new vetting and training process for Welcome Week leaders, which includes sessions on diversity, mental health, alcohol, and sexual consent. Dalhousie University’s student union is also adapting its orientation week programming. “We, basically, have adapted our training to include a lot of things around sexual assault, sexual harassment prevention. Consent is a huge portion of what we’re going to be covering for first-year students, as well as our leaders,” said Danny Shanahan, Executive Vice-President of the student union. Western University runs a dry event, and requires orientation leaders to sign a contract that says they will abstain from alcohol, illegal drugs, and activities that may “negatively portray academics” at the institution. National Post | CBC News

Canadian institutions make changes to frosh week programming Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

Student unions at a number of Nova Scotia universities have agreed to participate in an independent review of their transparency and accountability. Acadia Students’ Union, Cape Breton University Students’ Union, Dalhousie Agricultural Students’ Association, St Francis Xavier University Students’ Union, and Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association will undergo the process, which will examine their democratic processes, their election policies, their approaches to voter and candidate participation, and how they choose which positions will be elected. The review will also take a look at policies, governance, and oversight of persons in power. The results of the report are expected to be released by the consultant, who is a Queen’s University PhD student, in January. Chronicle-Herald

Nova Scotia student unions to undergo accountability review Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

Georgian College has unveiled its new brand, with the theme “accelerate success.” The college has adopted a new leaf-shaped “accelerator” symbol that it says “is an apt metaphor for the enriching possibilities that we help ignite.” In a document detailing its "brand story," the college says that the symbol reflects the college’s legacy and progressive nature; its impact on learning, career, and life in and beyond the classroom; its commitment to environmental stewardship; and its collaboration with its partners and communities. The new brand is the result of extensive research that involved more than 5,100 participants from prospective students and faculty to board members and employers. “The Georgian brand story is one of promise—a promise that real education is a process of transformation and that Georgian is here to help,” said Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes. Georgian News Release

Georgian emphasizes “accelerate success” with new branding Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

Conestoga College’s Electronic Systems Engineering program has received accreditation from Engineers Canada. To achieve accreditation, the program was subjected to a thorough review by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB). “We are very pleased to receive this validation from Engineers Canada for our program,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “The CEAB accreditation is a confirmation of the quality both of the program and the project-based learning approach, and recognizes the skills and knowledge of our graduates as they begin their careers in engineering.” Conestoga is the first college in Ontario to host accredited engineering programs, and one of only 2 in Canada to do so. The college also offers an accredited degree program in Mechanical Systems Engineering. Conestoga News Release

Second Conestoga engineering program granted accreditation Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

Researchers at New Brunswick Community College will now be eligible to apply for major funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). “This eligibility is an opportunity for us specifically to increase the profile of our humanities and social sciences programs … by pursuing research in those areas. This also opens doors to our faculty, staff and students studying these programs to explore research as a means to solve everyday problems that impact our society,” said NBCC’s Director of Applied Research & Innovation, Diane Burt. NBCC’s SSHRC eligibility has the potential to support the college's achievement of 3 of its strategic goals for applied research and innovation, including innovations in teaching, learning and services for students, and social innovation. NBCC News Release

NBCC eligible for SSHRC funding Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

In response to a survey, corporate recruiters say that they value communications skills ahead of teamwork, technical knowledge, and leadership in their assessment of MBA graduates for mid-level jobs. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey found that recruiters rated communication skills above managerial abilities by a 2-to-1 margin. Other research has found similar results: a York University survey of 845 executives identified leadership and communication as the 2 most important management competencies. This focus on communication skills is the result of changes in the business environment. A more diverse workforce requires clear, accurate language; moreover, leaders at various levels must be able to effectively share information with their peers across the organization. Recruiters also say that students who impress on paper often lack the interpersonal communication skills they need to succeed in business, leaving business schools to develop innovative ways to include communications as part of their curriculum. Globe and Mail

Modern business requires strong communication skills, say recruiters Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

As students begin to flock to campus for the start of another school year, several PSE institutions are releasing smartphone apps to make the transition a little bit easier. For example, Western University has released a mobile app that provides students with transit information and maps to campus eateries as well as access to academic tools and information. Integration with WesternU’s online teaching tool, OWL, will allow students to easily access assignments and stay up-to-date on projects. “By leveraging more dynamic data we’ve been able to provide users with real-time information that can simplify how they interact with Western,” said Martin Douglas, an employee with WesternU’s Information Technology Services. In BC, Capilano University has launched “The Cap App,” which lets students see their grades and course schedules, access email, manage library accounts, and view campus maps. “This app highlights the importance of connectivity amongst our student population by allowing students a quick, efficient and easy way to stay up-to-date on their life here at Cap,” said Registrar Karen McCredie. WesternU News Release | CapilanoU News Release

Capilano, WesternU launch new apps for students Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Humber College highlights the institution’s broad range of polytechnic education offerings, as well as its particular strength in the development and delivery of degrees. Humber’s innovative relationship with the University of Guelph is also identified as a key area of differentiation. Humber’s areas of strength as specified in the SMA include its focus on applied research and entrepreneurship, delivered through its partnerships with PSE institutions including McGill University, Stanford University, and the Banff Centre as well as multiple parties in the private sector. The HumberLaunch incubator is also cited as contributing to Humber’s support for student and graduate entrepreneurs. Humber’s promotion of teaching and learning excellence through centres and initiatives such as The Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Teaching Innovation Fund, and its Teaching Excellence Standards are also emphasized, as well as its focus on hiring, developing, and supporting faculty with industry experience as well as academic credentials. 5 proposed program areas for growth are listed: transmedia arts and design, community services and social justice, health and wellness, business, and technology. Humber SMA

Humber SMA highlights teaching and learning excellence, applied research partnerships Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

The University of Guelph’s key areas of differentiation include its strategic focus on food, health, environment and community as well as its special responsibility for agriculture and veterinary medicine, according to the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) the university signed with Ontario. UoGuelph is cited for its continuing support for rural communities, food security, and the environmental sustainability of the agri-food sector in Ontario. The university’s partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ontario Ministry of Rural Affairs is noted to have yielded a $1.15 B return to the provincial economy on a $55-M investment. UoGuelph is also recognized for the high number of inventions produced in proportion to its research funding. The SMA further acknowledges UoGuelph for its commitment to teaching excellence, as evinced through its leadership in online learning, its co-op program offerings, and its efforts to continuously redesign curricula and improve learning outcomes in partnership with the US-based National Center for Academic Transformation. The SMA identifies 2 proposed program areas of growth: biomedical sciences, including kinesiology; and engineering and computing, with an emphasis on sustainable engineering, biomedical/mechanical engineering, and design. UoGuelph SMA

UoGuelph SMA focuses on agri-food, rural communities, teaching excellence Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

The Chronicle of Higher Education is launching Academic JobTracker, a pilot project intended to identify who is managing to secure tenure-track jobs at PSE institutions in Canada and the US. According to Senior Editor Brock Read, such data has been historically difficult to obtain, with many relying on anecdotes and rumours rather than concrete intelligence. The initiative—a revival and modernization of the Chronicle’s long-since abandoned Jobtracks listing—will create a database of open positions in 11 disciplines including anthropology, economics, English literature, mathematics, and psychology, and will communicate with departments to identify who won the job. The initiative will collect data on who is doing the hiring, what subfields or focus areas are being sought after, what teaching loads are being advertised, and important application dates. The Chronicle also plans to track where successful candidates studied and what their specialties are, among other details. The initiative aims to put “hard data” behind job market perceptions. The Chronicle of Higher Education

New project to track North American tenure-track appointments Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 03:30 08/28/2014 - 03:30

5 professors who were suspended by a McMaster University tribunal will head to court to appeal the institution’s decision. The 5 were suspended after the tribunal concluded that they had harassed other faculty members as part of an effort to force out Paul Bates, then the Dean of the DeGroote School of Business. The appeal process means that previously secret details of the tribunal have come to light, comprising 15,000 pages of documents that were filed with the Ontario Divisional Court. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) will pay the legal costs of the appeal. Former CAUT Executive Director Jim Turk described the tribunal as “a staged trial ordered by the university under rules that violated every concept of natural justice in this country.” McMaster spokesperson Andrea Farquhar said that the tribunal and its processes are clearly defined in university policies, and added that “throughout the hearing, there was considerable confidence in the process as it is laid out. We have tried to safeguard the interests of all players.” The Hamilton Spectator has published a special report that includes documents, audio testimony, and updates on the suspended faculty members. Hamilton Spectator (appeal) | Hamilton Spectator (special report)

Suspended McMaster profs appeal 2013 tribunal decision Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

Western University’s student newspaper is facing criticism after publishing an article that some say promotes harassment of teaching assistants. The article, entitled “So you want to date a teaching assistant,” was published as part of the Western Gazette’s frosh-week issue. The article advises students to “drop in on [your TA’s] tutorials” and to “Facebook stalk and get to know your TA.” Kevin Godbout, President of WesternU’s Society of Graduate Students, said “it’s basically a step-by-step guide to how to stalk and sexually harass a graduate student.” WesternU Provost Janice Deakin also expressed her disgust with the article. “Not only does the spirit of the article run contrary to Western’s efforts to have a workplace and learning environment that is free from sexual harassment, it is disrespectful of the essential contribution graduate teaching assistants make to Western’s academic mission,” Deakin wrote in a letter to the Gazette. Gazette Editor-in-Chief Iain Boekhoff said he stands by the piece, which he says is satire. “This thing is entirely Twitter … I don’t regret publishing it. I regret that it caused offence to so many people, and it wasn’t well-received by some people,” he said. The issue also contains an Orientation week drinking game and a guide to drugs on campus. The Gazette has faced criticism over its “satirical” articles previously. London Free Press | Blackburn News | Metro News | Western Gazette (article) | Western Gazette (Deakin)

Postscript: August 28 2014

The editorial board at the WesternU student newspaper The Gazette has apologized for its controversial frosh week issue. The issue had included an article entitled “So you want to date a teaching assistant,” which many interpreted as promoting sexual harassment and stalking, as well as articles on taking drugs and drinking. In a statement, the editorial board said, “The Gazette displayed a lack of judgment regarding issues we have reported on seriously in the past. We regret this mistake, and we look forward to reporting on these issues in a more serious manner in the future.” The issue will be removed from campus and the articles in question removed from The Gazette’s website. Moreover, the issue will not be distributed during WesternU’s orientation week. In a statement. WesternU said that it “welcomes the decision by The Gazette to publicly apologize” and noted that “the student editors appear to have learned they showed a lack of proper judgment in their decision to publish these articles.” The Gazette | Toronto Star | WesternU News Release

WesternU student newspaper “How to Date a TA” article prompts backlash Top Ten 08/28/2014 - 15:43 08/27/2014 - 03:30

Ottawa has been chosen to be Canada’s hub for the commercialization of medical devices. The federal government has committed $14.9 M to the Medical Devices Commercialization Centre (MDCC), an extension of the University of Ottawa’s Medical Devices Innovation Institute. In its initial phase, the non-profit MDCC will be housed at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “This Centre will foster the creation of an ecosystem that stimulates innovation and commercialization of medical devices in Canada,” said Tofy Mussivand, Director of the Medical Devices Innovation Institute. The MDCC will foster collaboration focused on removing barriers to the commercialization of medical device products designed and made in Canada, and will draw on innovations from across the country while assessing clinical needs and market demands. uOttawa News Release 

Ottawa to host new centre devoted to commercializing medical devices Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan have signed 2 agreements that will help reduce barriers to employment. The once-controversial Canada Job Grant will allow employers, the federal government, and provincial governments to collaboratively fund training and skills-development programs for individuals to help meet labour market needs. Also signed was the new Canada–Saskatchewan Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPD), which will better connect people with disabilities to employment. Canada will contribute $10.8 M to this initiative, with matching funds from SK. “Saskatchewan continues to be a leader in Canada in terms of economic growth. Today’s announcement will allow Saskatchewan businesses to invest in training that will equip their workers with the skills they need to prosper in today’s economy,” said Jeremy Harrison, SK’s Minister Responsible for Immigration, Jobs, Skills, and Training. Canada News Release

SK and Canada sign agreements to help people get jobs Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

The Council of Ontario Universities has released the results of its Faculty at Work survey, which it says is the first substantial analysis in Canada of faculty work. The report collects data from 77% of Ontario’s full-time faculty, including 10,867 professors at 17 of Ontario’s 21 publicly assisted universities. The report found that in the last decade Ontario universities have exceeded the national average for externally sponsored research per full-time faculty. Ontario faculty were also found to have the highest H-index research impact score in the country. According to the survey, 87% of faculty produced research outputs in the year measured and 81% participated in service work of some kind. On average, Ontario faculty members devote 40% of their time to research, 40% to teaching, and 20% to service; each professor taught, on average, 178 students. “We hope that these findings mark the beginning of a national conversation about faculty work in Canadian universities,” said Deborah MacLatchy, Chair of COU’s Council of Academic Vice-Presidents. COU News Release | Full Report

COU releases Faculty at Work report Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

As journalism schools at PSE institutions across Canada adjust course delivery and content in order to accommodate industry changes, they are also revising the criteria required for those teaching journalism. In the second of a 3-piece series on the changing nature of journalism education, Ryerson University journalism professor Janice Neil explores what institutions are looking for in teachers. More than half of the respondents surveyed said their faculties had expanded in the last 5 years; additionally, 83% said they had revised the criteria for teaching jobs in the last several years. The skills desired by journalism schools have shifted from an emphasis on newspapers and print experience to digital reporting and production skills, with 58% suggesting experience in these areas was extremely important or a deal-breaker. Past experience teaching has become more sought-after, especially by university journalism schools; and, more schools today are looking for candidates that have an advanced degree than they were 5 years ago. Investigative journalism is still a highly desired attribute for new hires, while entrepreneurial journalism was identified by only a small number of schools as being desirable. Canadian Journalism Project

Changes in journalism education extend to teaching staff Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Georgian College and Ontario highlights the institution’s culture of entrepreneurship, its provision of diverse and relevant education pathways, and its “extraordinary” experiential and work-integrated learning programs. The SMA says that Georgian’s distributed locations are important economic catalysts, and cites Georgian’s strong relationships with industry and community leaders as contributing to an annual economic impact of $157 M regionally and $361 M provincially. The SMA also notes that Georgian is one of the largest co-operative education colleges in Canada. The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre is highlighted as enhancing student opportunities for self-employment as well as community and industry capacity, while Georgian’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship is cited as one of few PSE centres to partner students with the not-for-profit sector. Georgian’s programs to support access for underrepresented groups are emphasized in the SMA, including its First Generation Mentors program and its Aboriginal Resource Centres. The SMA identifies 5 proposed program areas of growth: economic and social entrepreneurship; integrated community inter-professional health education; advanced technology; tourism, food, and recreation; and design and visual arts and society. Georgian SMA

Georgian SMA highlights economic contributions, entrepreneurship Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Université de Hearst. The SMA identifies as Hearst’s key areas of differentiation its role as Ontario’s only directly funded French-language university, its innovative block system, and its focus on experiential learning. Hearst is cited as an important vehicle for social and economic development in northeastern Ontario, a strength that is facilitated by the institution’s Learning Integration Centres and its Regional Research and Intervention Centre in Community Economic Development. The SMA also notes Hearst’s implementation of mandatory work placements in its Human and Social Issues programs as well as optional work placements in its Business Administration and Transition programs. Hearst’s commitment to maintaining a high ratio of salaries linked to instruction expenses is also highlighted in the SMA. The SMA notes that Hearst is the first French-language university in Canada, and the only university in Ontario, to currently offer block courses. The SMA identifies 4 proposed program areas of growth: business administration, psychology/social services, translation, and interdisciplinary studies. Hearst SMA

Hearst SMA emphasizes contributions to French-language education, experiential learning Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

An article in Wired examines the past and future of massive open online courses (MOOCs). The piece calls for the creation of alternatives to standard MOOCs, which the author says frequently err too far on the side of being repackaged lectures. The article suggests that new models of online pedagogy must be created with a consideration of what education would look like if it had been “born-digital.” The article holds up the example of Arizona State University professor Ariel Anbar's “integrative curriculum,” which is organized around a single question: “are we alone in the universe?” His course, "Habitable Worlds," is designed for non-STEM students completing a required science credit. It includes tailored learning paths that allow students to receive instant feedback on their progress. Anbar took advantage of an existing authoring tool called Smart Sparrow, which is designed to facilitate the work of professors and instructional designers who want to create courses without spending countless hours coding. The course has now reached 1,500 students and has seen significant reductions in student failure rates. Wired

MOOCs must be reimagined as “born-digital” education Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

Beloit College in Wisconsin has released its annual mindset list, describing this year’s crop of first-year students. This year’s list largely focuses on technology and media. The class of 2018 was generally born in 1996, and were starting kindergarten during the September 11th terrorist attacks. Students born in 2018 are more familiar with a hashtag than the pound sign, and are likely more familiar with the FOX network’s Sunday night “Animation Domination” programming block than Saturday morning cartoons. Cloning has been always been achievable in their lifetimes, and there have always been “TV” programs designed to be watched on the web. They are unlikely to have ever used the Netscape web browser, and The Daily Show has always been on the air. Tupac Shakur, Carl Sagan, and Tiny Tim all died before they were born, and they may be able to spot Madonna or Sylvester Stallone visiting their college-aged daughters on parents’ weekend. Mindset List 2018

Beloit releases mindset list for the class of 2018 Top Ten 08/27/2014 - 03:30 08/27/2014 - 03:30

2 former University of Ottawa hockey players have been formally charged with the February sexual assault of a woman in Thunder Bay. “The charges against the 2 men came after an extensive investigation by the Thunder Bay Police Service’s Criminal Investigations Branch,” said Thunder Bay police. The 2 players, identified as Guillaume Donovan and David Foucher, will appear in court in Thunder Bay on September 30. uOttawa had fired its men’s hockey coach and suspended its men’s hockey program following internal investigations of allegations of excessive drinking and sexual misconduct during the road trip in question. uOttawa President Allan Rock clarified that the coach had not been involved in any sexual misconduct, but was fired for failing to inform authorities about the allegations. A spokesperson for the university added that the suspension of the program will remain in place. The university emphasized that it was the program that had been suspended, not individual players. “We are hiring a new coach and putting in place improved policies, including new behaviour guidelines for student-athletes,” the spokesperson said. Toronto Star | CTV News

Thunder Bay police charge uOttawa hockey players with sexual assault Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

A former University of British Columbia kinesiology professor has been charged by the RCMP with a single count of voyeurism. According to RCMP spokesperson Sergeant Drew Grainger, officers had been summoned to respond to an incident involving Associate Professor James Rupert in April. “We were advised to a complaint from the UBC School of Kinesiology that there were allegations that an associate professor there at the time may have been recording persons getting changed in a makeshift change room,” Grainger said. In a statement, UBC said that the charge is “of serious concern to our community,” but because the matter is before the court the university is unable to comment further. Rupert had been employed at UBC since 2004; his last day as a UBC employee was June 30, 6 days after the charge was sworn. Rupert is expected to appear in court again next month. UBC Statement | Vancouver Sun | Globe and Mail

RCMP charges former UBC prof with voyeurism Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

This fall, Prince Edward Island will launch a new program designed to help grade 9 students identify early on educational requirements to enter the workforce or apply to a PSE institution. The Student Graduation and Transition Planner is billed as a way to help strengthen career development in PEI’s schools by helping students plan pathways based on personal attributes, support networks, and labour market information. As part of the initiative, the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) is working with PEI’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, school boards, and education leaders to help develop a common understanding of career development as a lifelong process. The initiative will involve a professional training program for teachers, counselors, and principals. “Research is abundantly clear that young people with career direction succeed in post-secondary and make easier transitions to work. Providing professional training to educators is essential to making career developments engaging, purposeful, and effective for students,” said Lynne Bezanson, Executive Director of CCDF. PEI News Release

PEI launches program to strengthen K-12 career planning and development Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

The results of new polls conducted by CIBC show a significant gap between students’ understanding of how they will finance their education and that of their parents. According to survey results, parents on average expect the total cost of PSE to be $64,300. Parents are willing to pay 67% of that cost to support their children’s education, and 21% are willing to foot the entire bill. Students, on the other hand, said that parents are willing to pay 33% of the cost of school expenses and expect to pay 33% of their tuition and other school expenses themselves. 41% of students said that parents should be paying just 25% of the cost of PSE. “Part of the disconnect between parents and their children is likely that students aren’t accounting for all the costs beyond tuition,” said Marybeth Jordan, Managing Director of CIBC Investor’s Edge. These figures follow another recent CIBC poll on student attitudes toward education debt. CIBC News Release | Financial Post

Students, parents don't see eye-to-eye on paying for PSE Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

A new study out of the University of Ottawa examines what motivates young Francophones to pursue PSE studies in French. The study focused on Francophone students in Ontario. Among the most significant factors was a student’s sense of his or her cultural identity. “The more young people speak French, the more they consider themselves Francophones and the more attached they are to the French language, making it more likely they will pursue their postsecondary education in French,” said lead researcher André Samson. Other factors that influenced students’ decisions were proximity and the availability of programs in French. However, the study found that students from eastern Ontario were more likely to want to pursue PSE in French than students in Ottawa. Samson believes that this is because students in eastern Ontario use French more frequently. The study also found that Franco-Ontarians who pursued PSE in French had a stronger sense of well-being than those who studied in English. uOttawa News Release

Cultural identity motivates Francophone students to study in French Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

Rogers will not renew its broadcast contract for Ontario University Athletics (OUA) football. The OUA’s contract with Sportsnet 360 lapsed after last season, and the network declined to renew it citing high production costs and small audiences. “Even our biggest properties with the biggest rights fees, our cost per viewer to deliver those would be somewhere in the 5- to 10-cent range. The cost to produce a [Canadian university] football game and have 28,000 people watch is about $3 [per viewer],” said Sportsnet President Scott Moore. “At some point you’ve got to go to where the viewers are.” OUA Executive Director Bryan Crawford, however, says hockey is to blame. Rogers was awarded a $5.2-B broadcast contract with the NHL, which according to Crawford means that the network plans to cover more hockey at the expense of other sports. Regular-season football games will continue to air on the OUA website. However, Crawford said that “being back on television and having that increased visibility is absolutely a priority for the organization.” The Record

Rogers declines to renew broadcast contract for OUA football Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

George Brown College’s responsiveness to emerging needs in the economy, its partnerships in the community, and its support for lifelong learners are identified in the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between the college and the province as the institution’s primary areas of differentiation. The SMA points out several areas of institutional strength, including the college’s support for applied research through the Green Building Centre and the Food Innovation and Research Studio, its work with organizations such as the Toronto Construction Association and Cisco, and its flexible learning models and experiential and work-integrated learning options. The SMA also notes George Brown’s focus on access and success for underrepresented groups including Aboriginal students, first-generation students, immigrants, and persons with mental illness and/or addictions. George Brown is also recognized as a leader in college-to-college business articulations and for its global partnerships. The SMA names 5 areas of proposed program growth: hospitality management, art and design, construction, community health, and business management. George Brown SMA

SMA highlights George Brown's support for lifelong learning, responsiveness to market needs Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Trent University and Ontario emphasizes the university’s unique, interdisciplinary pedagogical approach; its small class sizes; and its commitment to access for underrepresented groups including Aboriginal, first-generation, LGBTQ, and international students. Trent’s impact on the local economy is identified as an area of institutional strength; the SMA notes that Trent students contribute $170 M and support 1,865 local jobs, while the university as a whole represents a regional economic impact of nearly $390 M. Moreover, Trent alumni comprise roughly 8% of the Peterborough workforce. Student engagement is also identified as an institutional strength, with Trent scoring above the provincial average in all 5 categories of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The SMA further notes Trent’s focus on faculty research involving undergraduate students and its support for experiential and technology-enhanced learning. The SMA identifies 4 areas of proposed program growth: interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability science; interdisciplinary humanities; interdisciplinary social sciences; and the study of Canada and Indigenous knowledge. Trent SMA

Trent SMA emphasizes innovative pedagogy, economic impact Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

2 recently published articles consider the impact of technology on college and university libraries. In a piece for University World News, philosopher Martin Cohen argues that “real books have become relics, fit for glass cases.” For the next generation of students, Cohen says, “an amorphous mass of websites is already replacing core and set texts.” In this setting, algorithms have replaced subject matter experts. Cohen urges a healthy skepticism toward what he characterizes as “out of control” change, noting that the Internet tends toward monopoly and centralized control. An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, meanwhile, focuses on how streaming media could affect libraries. Steve Kolowich says that the era of content licensing is turning more power over to publishers, but is increasingly becoming the norm as digital copies replace physical media. Rather than owning a physical copy of an item that can be loaned out at will, libraries buy permission to access a file for a set period of time. This can result in higher costs to libraries, as well as putting companies rather than the libraries themselves in charge of content stewardship. University World News | The Chronicle of Higher Education

How digital streaming and licensing change the role of the librarian Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

The Kuali Foundation, a provider of open-source enterprise-resource-planning (ERP) software for PSE, is launching a commercial software company. While Kuali’s software will remain free and open-source, this nevertheless marks a change for the company which has for a decade operated as a non-profit. In a blog post, Chair of the company’s board of directors Brad Wheeler said that moving to a commercial model will help the company meet the challenges brought about by an expanding marketplace for its products. Wheeler says that the company is “avoiding traditional investment avenues to help the company stay aligned with higher education.” Under the new model, the company will no longer have members but will instead allow customers to sit on councils to provide feedback about design and priority, investing in projects to help move work along. The firm will seek revenue from hosting services and contracted software development. Inside Higher Ed| Kuali Blog Post

Kuali Foundation drops non-profit status Top Ten 08/26/2014 - 03:30 08/26/2014 - 03:30

Student leaders in Alberta are concerned about proposed plans for market-based tuition hikes for select programs. Students at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary say there have been mixed messages and a lack of consultation and transparency regarding tuition increases. Navneet Khinda, Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students, said they were “blind-sided” by the news, and that while there had been discussion of “a whole bunch of issues,” market modifiers were never addressed. Levi Nilson, VP External for the uCalgary Students’ Union, said he would like to see “major consultations” with students before any tuition hikes are implemented. The uAlberta law faculty would like to increase tuition to be more in-line with law programs across Canada. A spokesperson for AB advanced education said the province has not officially called for submissions, but is open to “using market modifiers to address existing tuition anomalies.” Edmonton Journal | Calgary Herald

AB students upset at proposed market-based tuition increases Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

The President of the University of Saskatchewan will no longer have the power to veto tenure decisions. The change was stipulated in a new 3-year collective bargaining agreement tentatively agreed to by the university and the uSask Faculty Association. “I am pleased we have reached this agreement,” said Ernie Barber, uSask’s Interim Provost. “Tenure is a significant career milestone for academics and one of the most important decisions that a university makes. I believe the proposed changes are respectful of our collegial processes and will bring resolution to this important issue that has been widely debated in recent months.” In July, the StarPhoenix reported that uSask was considering appealing an earlier arbitrator’s recommendation that the President not have veto power over tenure decisions, though uSask said at that point that it was still engaged in an internal review of the policy. StarPhoenix

uSask President will no longer have tenure veto power Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

Perhaps one of the most exciting responses to the Ontario government’s capacity expansion call came from Centennial College, in conjunction with the City of Brampton, outgoing University of Guelph President Alastair Summerlee, and outgoing UoGuelph Provost Maureen Mancuso. Their one-page letter describes a small undergraduate university that would award only interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) degrees, without majors, minors, or even academic departments. Students would learn in an active, inquiry-based environment from teaching-focused faculty on flexible staffing contracts, utilizing ePortfolios, eTextbooks, experiential learning, and work placements. (The proposal sounds a lot like a public version of Quest University, which adds very small class sizes and the block method of teaching to generate the highest National Survey of Student Engagement [NSSE] scores in North America.) Yet the Brampton proposal also includes an emphasis on social and participatory learning and internships, and a focus on preparing graduates for entrepreneurship, and for careers in the technology, health, and creative sectors in particular. The radical proposal was not to build a UoGuelph satellite campus, but to create an entirely new university—and because it was not associated with an existing public university, MTCU determined that the proposal would not be assessed as part of the capacity expansion framework. The City of Brampton intends to continue pursuing its PSE strategy in other ways. Brampton letter of intent | Brampton Guardian | Guelph Mercury

Revolutionary Brampton university proposal ruled ineligible by MTCU Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

Maclean’s has published an article on the success of the University of Guelph-Humber, which has experienced a 19% uptick in student confirmations even as Ontario on the whole saw a drop. UoGuelph-Humber offers students 7 career-focused programs that include work-experience opportunities designed to increase graduate employability. The programs are especially attractive to students looking for a practical option but who want to obtain a university degree in order to pursue graduate or law school. According to President John Walsh, the appeal is clear. “You get into the workplace faster, you have more job-ready skills, and you haven’t sacrificed anything out of the quality of a university degree,” he said. The Maclean’s article notes that the success of UoGuelph-Humber may speak to a demand for alternatives to the traditional model of university education, citing a number of the responses to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities’ capacity expansion request. Maclean’s

UoGuelph-Humber’s approach to education leads to 19% increase in student confirmations Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

Canada has announced the creation of the National Research Council (NRC) Arctic Program, which will establish research partnerships focusing on technology designed to improve the lives of northerners and to advance economic development in Canada’s North. The federal government has reportedly committed $17 M over 8 years to the project, and is seeking a further $65 M in co-investments by industry over the same term. The announcement was made at the Yukon Research Centre of Excellence at Yukon College, where researchers currently explore innovative approaches to common northern problems. The 4 priority areas for the NRC’s new Arctic Program are resource development, northern transportation and shipping, marine safety technologies, and community infrastructure. “The Government of Canada, through its investments, is improving the lives of the people in the Yukon through increased opportunities in education and training, and through northern focused research,” said Yukon College President Karen Barnes. Yukon College News | Canada News Release | Maclean’s | Whitehorse Star | CBC

Arctic research gets funding boost from feds Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

At the recent annual meeting of its executive, the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students passed a motion to boycott Israel. The motion, put forward by representatives of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), passed unanimously. CFS-Ontario executive member Anna Goldfinch said that the resolution “endorses a number of solidarity tactics that have been called for by Palestinian civil society.” RSU President Rajean Hoilett said that during the school year his organization will host several panel discussions that will be intended to provide Ryerson students the opportunity to voice dissenting views on the matter, and emphasized that at these events there will be “no room for anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.” Globe and Mail

CFS-Ontario passes motion to boycott Israel Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between the province and Fleming College. The SMA identifies as Fleming’s key areas of differentiation its comprehensive program portfolio, its role as a regional hub for trades education and training, its specialized programs in environmental and natural sciences, and its applied research programs offered through the Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment. Fleming is recognized for providing students with career-ready, labour-market-ready training that supports local social and economic development, and for its Applied Learning Enhancement Strategy, which emphasizes personalized and work-integrated learning. The SMA further highlights Fleming’s focus on improved access for first-generation students, Aboriginal students, and students with special needs. The college’s partnerships with regional school boards and its pathway programs to 5 universities are also noted as strengths. 4 programs are identified as proposed areas of growth: natural resources and environmental sciences, trades and technology, healthcare and community services, and arts and heritage. Fleming SMA

Fleming SMA highlights college’s role as regional training hub, applied environmental research Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between Ryerson University and Ontario identifies as the institution’s key areas of differentiation its support for interdisciplinary thinking and innovation; its collaboration with industry, the public, and the non-profit sector; and its distinctive “zone” model of entrepreneurial education. Ryerson is also identified as playing a unique role as a city builder. Ryerson is recognized for its focus on professional accreditation and experiential learning through programs such as its Digital Media Zone (DMZ). The SMA also cites as strengths Ryerson’s several entrepreneurial zones, including the Innovation Centre for Urban Energy (iCUE), the Fashion Zone, the Design Fabrication Zone, and the Transmedia Zone. Ryerson’s contributions to urban ecosystem research are also noted. The SMA further emphasizes Ryerson’s support for online learning, distance education, and adult learning, and its commitment to education access for underrepresented groups including first-generation students, Aboriginal students, persons with disabilities, and internationally educated professionals. The SMA identifies 5 proposed areas of program growth: innovation and entrepreneurship, design and technology, management and competitiveness, creative economy and culture, and health and technology. Ryerson SMA

Ryerson SMA focuses on support for entrepreneurial education, urban ecosystem research Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

Online competency-based education (CBE) is the innovation most likely to disrupt the PSE sector, according to the institute founded by the man who coined the phrase “disruptive innovation.” The Clayton Christensen Institute says that online CBE is poised to capitalize on a convergence of several factors in the US including rising tuition costs, climbing student debt, PSE costs, student dissatisfaction, and demand for academic credentials beyond traditional degrees. Currently, the Institute says, normalized “embedded inefficiencies” at US colleges leave them unable to capitalize on the opportunity of online education. The change will take time, but the Institute’s researchers say students are increasingly looking for targeted programs, tailored support, and identifiable skill sets, all of which are more effectively provided by online CBE. eCampus News

US-based institute says online CBE is most likely to disrupt PSE Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

American PSE institutions are increasingly turning to beer sales to increase revenue for athletic departments, reports the Globe and Mail. Currently, 21 on-campus football stadiums allow fans of legal drinking age to purchase beer during games, an increase of 100% from 5 years ago. As home entertainment systems improve, serving alcohol is one way to encourage fans to watch games at the stadium rather than at home, says University of Akron Athletic Director Tom Wistrcill. At West Virginia University, beer sales were initiated in part to prevent fans from coming and going from tailgate parties during the game. Campus police there report a sharp decline in alcohol-related incidents during games. The revenue created from beer sales is especially enticing to cash-strapped athletics departments that do not receive television revenues. Globe and Mail

US schools increasingly selling beer at on-campus sports venues to raise revenue Top Ten 08/25/2014 - 03:30 08/25/2014 - 03:30

The University of British Columbia and its Sauder School of Business have redesigned orientation week activities for this year’s incoming students in order to avoid insensitive and offensive behaviour such as last year’s infamous chants. After the existence of those chants surfaced last year, Sauder cancelled the organization of frosh activities by the undergraduate society and developed a new orientation program involving students, faculty, staff, and alumni that is based on guidelines developed by UBC’s new campus-wide orientation steering committee. The new program, called Spark, will include activities designed to make new students feel welcome and included while having fun. Close to 2,000 student leaders from faculties across campus have taken part in online training and in-person sessions on respectful and engaging orientations. Student leaders must also sign a commitment statement to “respect others, embrace diversity and create a community that is welcoming to all.” Committee Co-Chair Janet Teasdale said, “it doesn’t mean there won’t be any more problems ... But our approach is to focus on education. Through the process of learning about other people, and their histories, and the impact that words have on others, we hope to build a better community, and society.” UBC News | Vancouver Sun

UBC prepares new orientation program for incoming frosh Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

The University of Prince Edward Island has honoured the long-standing support and commitment of St Dunstan’s University and the SDU board of governors by renaming the UPEI Main Building the SDU Main Building. SDU and the Prince of Wales College were founding institutions of UPEI and the main building was the hub for SDU’s campus as it is for UPEI’s. “UPEI prides itself on the heritage passed down from St Dunstan’s University and Prince of Wales College, and welcomes opportunities like today to increase our understanding of that history,” said UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. SDU still operates under the mandate to foster and promote Catholic education for the area, providing scholarships and bursaries for students. SDU board Chair George MacDonald said, “in 1969, the SDU Board chose to support UPEI and continues to this day. In scholarships alone, the SDU Board has contributed over $3 million.” UPEI News

UPEI honours founding institution by renaming building Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

Simon Fraser University is exploring the feasibility of accepting payments made in Bitcoin, says Executive Director of Ancillary Services Mark McLaughlin. McLaughlin said that the institution is currently weighing the feasibility of installing a Bitcoin ATM in its bookstores as well as allowing Bitcoin payments for some of its dining services. “It would be about creating somewhat of an ecosystem on our campus. It’s one thing to accept Bitcoin. If there were some ATMs around the campuses, at least it’d make it easier for students to obtain Bitcoin,” he told the Georgia Straight. SFU is also considering hosting a Bitcoin expo. “Digital currencies are definitely here to stay,” McLaughlin said. “Other institutions maybe aren’t up to speed yet on digital currencies.” However, SFU will not accept Bitcoin for tuition payments. The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) already has a Bitcoin ATM; however, institutions may be hesitant to embrace the cryptocurrency for commercial transactions due to its volatile value. Georgia Straight

SFU evaluates accepting Bitcoin for some services Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

The Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE) has submitted a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance in advance of the federal budget. CAFCE recommends the government create a Federal Co-operative Education Hiring Tax Credit. CAFCE in the brief argues that co-op programs are underutilized in Canada because many employers find them to be prohibitively expensive to implement. CAFCE says that a federal initiative to match existing provincial programs would help offset the cost of hiring co-op students for employers who would otherwise be unable to hire co-op students and would encourage employers who already employ co-op students to hire more. CAFCE recommends a tax credit of $3,000 per student; assuming a 50% uptake rate from participating employees, this initiative would cost approximately $79 M per year. The credit, CAFCE says, should stack on top of existing provincial tax credits. CAFCE Brief

CAFCE urges government to create federal tax credit for co-op employers Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

Hamza Khan, Coordinator of Ryerson University’s student affairs creative team, offers advice on how PSE institutions can implement an effective digital strategy to better reach students. Khan says that Ryerson took a unique approach by launching a digital community position within student affairs rather than within advancement, alumni relations, or recruitment. He describes Ryerson’s RU Student Life platform, which draws on the talents of social media and multimedia work-study students to create a voice that is perceived as students engaging other students. “The voice,” Khan says, “is authentic, genuine and relatable.” He says that a key piece of the program’s value is the 2-way channel it provides, which allows the university to gather valuable information that can inform strategic initiatives. Khan notes that in spite of the success of Ryerson’s initiatives, he recognizes that not all initiatives—like their Facebook strategy—have worked out as he had hoped. He also points out the importance of keeping an eye on up and coming apps like Whisper and Yo, which he says are not mainstream yet but are heavily used by 13–17-year-olds. University Affairs

Ryerson social media expert offers advice to PSE institutions Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it has signed with Fanshawe College. The SMA emphasizes Fanshawe’s flexible learning arrangements and focus on experiential learning, as well as its important role in providing skill upgrade opportunities for mature learners in southwestern Ontario. Among Fanshawe’s institutional strengths are its partnerships with the City of London and the London Economic Development Corporation, its training of foreign nationals, and the entrepreneurial resources provided by the college to students. Fanshawe is also recognized for the variety of learning opportunities it makes available to students, including experiential learning, technology-enabled learning, and flexible learning models. The SMA cites Fanshawe’s leadership in its work with the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) and ONTransfer. 5 programs are identified as proposed areas of growth: public safety; business, management, leadership, and entrepreneurship; information security; aerospace; and renewable energies, environment, and sustainable technologies. Fanshawe SMA

Fanshawe SMA highlights college’s flexible learning opportunities and community partnerships Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Queen’s University recognizes the institution's high levels of student engagement and research intensity, as well as its integral role in the development of the Kingston and eastern Ontario region. The SMA cites multiple examples of ways in which Queen’s supports economic and community development, including its shared Town-Gown Strategic Plan with the city of Kingston and its support for start-up companies through the Queen’s Summer Innovation Institute and the Queen’s Innovation Park, which is a valuable hub of research and development. The SMA further highlights Queen’s support for technology-enabled learning, its systematic approach to incorporating learning outcomes, and its implementation of experiential learning opportunities such as internships and community projects. Queen’s track record of research success is also highlighted in the SMA. The SMA identifies 3 areas of proposed program growth: health and society, science and technology, and business administration and education. Queen’s SMA

Queen’s SMA emphasizes research excellence, community and student engagement Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

The Huffington Post Canada has published a list with photographs of what it says are the most beautiful university campuses in Canada. More than 25 universities from coast to coast are profiled. The Huffington Post says that “most Canadian students at these institutions get to experience all four seasons, historic buildings and all of the country’s natural beauty. Or urban atmosphere, depending on your location.” Among the universities highlighted in the article are Mount Royal University, Quest University, Lakehead University, Nipissing University, University of King’s College, Royal Roads University, St Thomas University, Bishop’s University, Acadia University, and Saint Mary’s University. Huffington Post

Huffington Post profiles Canada’s most beautiful university campuses Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

For a new book, California State University at Sacramento’s Reading and Writing Coordinator Dan Melzer evaluated more than 2,100 writing assignments from 100 US PSE institutions. Melzer’s analysis suggests that writing assignments tend to be limited in purpose, with two-thirds asking about details from a lecture or reading. 13% of assignments in his sample asked for exploratory writing, but poetic or expressive writing assignments were “almost nonexistent” across institution types and course levels. Melzer also says that grammatical correctness often takes precedence over critical thinking. The study further points to the influence of the Internet on classroom writing: a significant number of exploratory assignments were to be posted on online discussion boards or shared via email. Melzer also found that a growing number of professors are experimenting with non-traditional forms of research, which he attributes to the growth of “writing across the curriculum” programs. Inside Higher Ed

New book offers instructive analysis of PSE writing assignments Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

Twitter users who denigrate the liberal arts may be in for a debate from a couple of cartoon characters. The US-based Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has created 2 characters, named Libby and Art, to respond to what they describe as “really negative, incorrect, factless stories” about liberal-arts colleges’ affordability and outcomes. Libby was created to share student insights, while Art, who in his tweed jacket and glasses resembles a stereotypical college professor, “tweets the facts.” The CIC has hired a Baltimore-based social-media expert to manage the characters’ account. Each day, the social media manager sifts through a long list of social media posts and identifies opportunities to correct misperceptions. He’s found that images, including infographics and photographs, tend to be the most popular posts. The Chronicle of Higher Education | @SmartColleges Twitter Feed

CIC creates cartoons to correct misconceptions about liberal arts colleges Top Ten 08/22/2014 - 03:30 08/22/2014 - 03:30

Mount Royal University has officially broken ground for the new Riddell Library and Learning Centre (LLC), a 16,000-square-metre stand-alone facility that will provide students with a variety of innovative ways to access resources and data. The Riddell LLC will have 34 group-use rooms and 1,500 student spaces, as well as a creator space, an innovation lab, and a data visualization studio. The library’s collection will also be expanded, with enhanced data files and audio/media resources. MRU President David Docherty said, “the Riddell Library and Learning Centre will meet the needs of 21st century students, providing better access to resources in spaces designed to inspire learning, exploration and collaboration.” The centre is named for the Riddell Family Charitable Foundation, which contributed significantly to MRU’s Changing the Face of Education fundraising campaign. The $100-M library project was partially funded by the Alberta government, who committed $85.8 M. MRU News | Calgary Herald

MRU begins construction of new library Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

The University of British Columbia has received $2.6 M from the Paul G Allen Family Foundation for its Sea Around Us project. The Sea Around Us initiative is led by professors from UBC’s Fisheries Centre and over its 2-year mandate will help provide countries in West Africa, East Africa, the Arab world, and South Asia with accurate and comprehensive fisheries data to better inform policy makers and nongovernmental organizations regarding ocean resources and effects on local economies. “This generous support will help UBC fisheries researchers work with countries to better understand the industry’s impact on marine ecosystems and its social and economic benefits,” UBC President Arvind Gupta said. There are 4 main problem areas identified: increased public transparency of access agreements for foreign vessels to fish in a country’s waters; improving inadequate methods for recording or estimating fish catches; improving poor policy and management environments for local small-scale fisheries; and illegal fishing by foreign fleets. UBC News Release

UBC receives $2.6 M for global fisheries initiative Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

The governments of Canada and Manitoba have teamed up to provide $1.1 M to Employment Solutions for Immigrants for 2 projects designed to help immigrant youth reduce barriers to employment. The first project will help 120 immigrant youth gain life and employability skills through workshops and work placements. The second project will provide 20 immigrant youth with job placements in high-demand fields such as manufacturing, transportation, and health care services. “These programs offer newcomer youth with a much better chance of entering the Canadian workplace, not only with enhanced preparation and increased confidence, but also in a field and at a job level that is on a par with their existing skills and experience. In short, these programs set up newcomer youth for career success,” said Executive Director of Employment Solutions for Immigrants Loraine M Nyokong. Canada News Release

Immigrant employment projects get funding from MB, Canada Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

The University of Alberta and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology have entered into a partnership that will see NAIT protective services managed by uAlberta’s Protective Services (UAPS). “It’s just to bring them up to the standards and the policy and the procedures that UAPS has,” said Grace Berry, Acting Director of UAPS. Berry said that part of UAPS's role will be to expand the roles that education and awareness play in policing. “It’s really about providing a service to the community, rather than just being law enforcement,” she said. While the 2 services will remain separate from one another, they may collaborate on major incidents. NAIT says that the partnership was necessitated by the institution’s rapid growth. “There is going to be this period of campus expansion and the U of A has that experience managing a large institution,” said NAIT spokesperson Frank Landry. Metro News

NAIT partners with uAlberta on security services Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

ScienceScape, a new platform developed by University of Toronto biomedical physics student Sam Molyneux and his sister Amy Molyneux, a web developer and technical project manager, will help researchers keep better track of developments in their field. ScienceScape, Amy says, is “like a Twitter for science.” The platform organizes thousands of newly published biomedical research articles according to various criteria, allowing users to quickly determine what research findings are most important to their own work. Researchers can also use the platform to share papers with collaborators. The project emerged when Sam, who was working on bone cancer research, found that there was little awareness in his field of new publications. The software, Amy says, is based on algorithms that “teach themselves to read papers the same way scientists read them.” The siblings plan to continue to improve ScienceScape with their team of data scientists, and believe that that it will in time be useful in other research fields, as well. uToronto News

New app helps researchers stay on top of recent findings Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Durham College and Ontario emphasizes the college’s broad-based strengths and support for all learners, especially those with special needs and from at-risk backgrounds. The college is also cited for its strategic and collaborative relationship with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and its contribution to the economic diversification of the Durham Region. The SMA identifies as areas of institutional strength Durham’s programs targeted at high-growth industries and sectors and its close work with industry and employers on identifying and responding to labour market needs. The SMA further notes that Durham provides 22% of all OntarioLearn courses as well as extensive experiential learning opportunities and hybrid course delivery options for students. 5 areas of proposed program growth are identified in the SMA: business, accounting, financial management, and materials management; media arts; agriculture/culinary/hospitality; health; and skilled trades and technology. Durham SMA

Durham SMA emphasizes focus on high-growth industries, contribution to economic diversification Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and OCAD University highlights OCADU’s training of entrepreneurs in sectors including information and communication technology, health sciences, design studios, consultation services, and cultural industries, as well as its focus on creative entrepreneurship through its relationship with the Imagination Catalyst. OCADU is also cited for its close alliance with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Film Board of Canada, and the Toronto International Film Festival; the SMA emphasizes OCADU’s important role as a cultural and economic resource to the community through its galleries, laboratories, public facilities, and incubators. The SMA further notes the many patents and products generated by OCADU. OCADU’s focus on experiential and studio-based learning are also highlighted, as well as its small class sizes, its student-faculty ratio, and the research opportunities afforded to students. The SMA identifies fine art, design, digital futures, and visual and critical studies as areas of proposed program growth. OCADU SMA

OCADU SMA highlights creative entrepreneurship, learning experiences Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

A writer in Fast Company magazine says that the education economy—or “educonomy”—will play an increasingly important role in US politics and society over the next decade. He urges the US to better integrate its education system with employers and job creators, and presses for more PSE/business collaboration on internship and job opportunities that will provide graduates with meaningful experiences. For most college students, the purpose of college is to earn a job, not a degree. Without significant changes to PSE based on that assumption, he says, the US economy will continue to suffer. Business creation will be essential for economic growth over the next decade, and only a close relationship between educators, employers, and entrepreneurs can reverse a deficit between the number of new businesses compared to the number of “dying” businesses. Fast Company

PSE and business need to collaborate more to create prosperous "educonomy" Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

A new satisfaction survey of 60,000 international students studying in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia finds that they are mostly satisfied with their experiences. However, the data also indicate that satisfaction levels vary by country of origin and that having a disproportionate number of international students from a single country can have a negative impact on integration. Respondents were asked to rate their overall satisfaction on a scale from 1 (“very dissatisfied”) to 4 (“very satisfied”). The average satisfaction level was 3.09 and 3.08 for undergraduate and graduate students, respectively. Students from Europe reported higher levels of satisfaction, while students from Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong reported the lowest levels. The data also show a correlation between the ratio of first-generation students within the international student population and a lower overall satisfaction rate, possibly due to factors including financial disadvantages, predatory recruitment practices, or less-informed decision-making. The report also identifies those qualities in an institution that international students value most. Inside Higher Ed

New study finds that international students from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia are least satisfied Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

Several recent studies have found that automated essay grading programs, or robo-graders, can be extremely effective as proofreaders and writing tutors. These programs are designed to grade essays and exams, but have been criticized as being unable to discern meaning and as being capable of being manipulated. But, when used as a proofreader that provides feedback on written material, robo-readers are having positive effects on students’ writing and rates of revision. In one study, when students were required to submit their work to the robo-grader first, they were more willing to go back and revise papers based on feedback from the robo-grader than they were when offered feedback from a professor. Researchers suggest that the individualized and impersonal nature of the feedback contributes to the students’ reactions. “It’s the very non-humanness of a computer that may encourage students to experiment, to explore, to share a messy rough draft without self-consciousness or embarrassment. In return, they get feedback that is individualized, but not personal — not 'punitive,'" reads a summary. Hechinger Report

Automated grading programs effective as proofreaders Top Ten 08/21/2014 - 03:30 08/21/2014 - 03:30

The University of Ottawa will soon open its new bilingual and bijural Business Law Clinic, reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. The new clinic will serve entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations, providing pro bono legal services in both official languages and in both the common and civil law systems. The clinic will cover a variety of legal areas including corporate/commercial law, intellectual property law, employment law, basic tax law, non-profit and charity law, and commercial arbitration. There will also be free public education seminars offered by the clinic. “This is really a win-win scenario,” said Michael Marin, Academic Director of the Business Law Clinic. “Clients will get top-notch legal services that they otherwise couldn’t afford, and students will get hands-on experience in business law.” The service, which opens in September, will fill a gap in legal aid availability, which is usually geared towards criminal, family, and refugee legal cases. uOttawa News Release

uOttawa to open new Business Law Clinic Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

British Columbia has released the results from its annual student outcomes surveys, reporting a graduate satisfaction rate of 93%. The surveys poll graduates from a wide range of academic, technical, and developmental programs, 2 years after graduation. 91% of respondents that graduated from diploma, associate degree or certificate programs were in the workforce, 88% of baccalaureate graduates were in the workforce, and 96% of former apprentice students were employed at the time of the survey. “Students who have a good experience with post-secondary education are more likely to find good jobs and be successful in their work and personal lives,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. The surveys collect information on employment, student loan/debt information, and student satisfaction with the education they received. BC News Release | The Province | Survey Factsheet

BC graduates report satisfaction with education Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

Cape Breton University’s on-site energy manager, Mohsin Khan, is helping the institution identify ways to be more energy efficient, resulting in lowered energy consumption and cost-savings. CBU has partnered with Efficiency Nova Scotia on the energy-saving project. Khan is focusing on 3 areas of improvement during his one-year position, including the proposed installation of an energy management information system; the identification of areas on campus where energy is being wasted; and the upgrade of current, inefficient equipment to newer, more ​efficient models to reduce consumption. Khan’s goal is to reduce energy usage by 1.5 GWh, which would equal approximately $180,000 in savings per year. Khan is also overseeing the installation of LED lighting systems and motion detectors to further reduce energy usage. “Energy efficiency is not just upgrading equipment to more efficient models,” says Mohsin. “It is a collective effort.” CBU News

CBU highlights energy-savings initiatives Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Confederation College recognizes the institution’s leadership in Aboriginal education and its support for education access in rural areas of northwestern Ontario. The SMA identifies as areas of institutional strength Confederation’s applied research and experiential learning opportunities in advanced manufacturing, biomass and water resources, wellness, and Aboriginal learning. Confederation is also recognized for its Technology Enabled Learning environment as well as its Negahneewin Council, which, the SMA says, “plays a vital role in identifying priorities for Aboriginal learning and communities.” Confederation also offers the Centre for Policy in Aboriginal Learning, which helps to identify and disseminate best practices in Aboriginal Learning. The SMA identifies 4 proposed areas of growth: health and community service, trades/technology and engineering, education access and pre-programming, and business. Confederation SMA

SMA recognizes Confederation’s leadership in Aboriginal education, rural access Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between Nipissing University and Ontario emphasizes Nipissing’s critical role in the economic, social, and cultural development of northern Ontario as well as its support for building and strengthening relationships with First Nations and Aboriginal communities through the Schulich School of Education. The SMA emphasizes that Nipissing is one of the largest employers in the North Bay region and that it works closely with the city and other local municipalities on matters including environmental and fishing issues. Nipissing also supports the local economy though its Biomass Innovation Centre project and its many professional programs. The SMA highlights the many ways in which Nipissing promotes education access in non-urban communities, especially for Aboriginal and first-generation learners. Education, mathematics, environmental science, and history are identified in the SMA as areas of research strength, while inter-professional health education, education, social justice, administration/management, and science and technology are identified as proposed areas of program growth. Nipissing SMA   

Nipissing SMA highlights institution’s critical social, economic role in Northern Ontario Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

A Brock University Professor Emeritus considers the impact of massive open online courses (MOOCs) on humanities education in an op-ed published in the Globe and Mail. John Sainsbury says that if the humanities are to weather the proliferation of MOOCs in PSE, discipline and smart thinking will be required. “Those teaching in the humanities must negotiate a steady course between the bafflegab of the technophiles and the blinkered defeatism of the technophobes,” Sainsbury writes. He notes that technology has the ability to provide “a window to a cornucopia of riches,” such as the British Library’s illuminated manuscript collection. However, he adds that an Internet chatroom is a poor substitute for face-to-face dialogue. Sainsbury advises humanities scholars to strive for better understanding of the limitations and benefits of MOOCs in order to better advocate for a middle way, such as the inclusion of a monthly, face-to-face seminar in an otherwise digital course. Globe and Mail

Humanities scholars must find middle ground with MOOCs: BrockU professor Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

Canadian education software provider D2L (formerly Desire2Learn) has announced that its latest fundraising round has garnered $85 M in financing. In a blog post, D2L CEO John Baker said that the new funding will fuel the company’s growth and enable it to expand its focus to areas including productivity, learner achievement and satisfaction, improved retention and graduation rates, and greater engagement. Baker also said that the funding will enable the Kitchener-based firm to more quickly expand its services globally. “We hope we will expand dramatically here in North America, but at the same time we are seeing at times triple-digit growth in some of the countries that we are working with internationally,” he said. “I feel what lies ahead is even more exciting as we bring to market some of the next-generation stuff around game-based learning.” D2L Blog | Financial Post

D2L raises $85 M in funding Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved a series of reforms that will affect legal education in the US. Many of the reforms are designed to facilitate distance education at law schools. Among other reforms, the ABA approved an increase in the number of credit hours a student may take by distance learning. Previously, the limit was 12 credit hours; now it will be 15. The ABA also added a requirement that students complete 6 credit hours in a legal clinic or “experiential” environment. Other reforms will affect the accreditation process. New criteria will focus on outcomes, such as students’ scores on the bar exam, rather than the qualifications of incoming students. The Chronicle of Higher Education

US Bar Association updates regulations for distance, experiential learning Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

The results of a new survey published in Businessweek suggest that completing a “business-related internship” correlated with the likelihood of US business students receiving a job offer. 75% of business students who responded to the survey reported that they had completed an internship; of those, 61% of respondents received a job offer by the winter of their senior year. Among those students who did not complete an internship, only 28% had a job offer at the same point. The impact of completing an internship varied depending on industry. Fields like financial services, technology, and consulting saw the most sizeable gaps, while the gap was less significant in health care, advertising and public relations, and nonprofits. The data may be somewhat skewed by the hiring practices of significant industries. Consulting firms, for instance, are more likely to actively recruit upper-year students than some other fields, while nonprofits may be more likely to hire closer to graduation. Businessweek

Internships help business students land job offers Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

Starbucks plans to position mobile stores at 3 US campuses this fall. Starbucks’ food trucks will appear at Arizona State University, James Madison University (Virginia), and Coastal Carolina University (South Carolina) as a pilot project. If successful, Starbucks may forge ahead with food trucks on more campuses. The trucks, which will be run by food services company Aramark, will feature menus that the company says will be “nearly identical” to their bricks-and-mortar locations. The trucks will also in some cases be able to keep later hours than traditional cafes. This initiative will mark the first time that Starbucks will deploy “to go” stores in North America. Toronto Star

Starbucks to go: coffee giant to deploy food trucks at 3 US campuses Top Ten 08/20/2014 - 03:30 08/20/2014 - 03:30

The Vancouver Province has published the full text of the April 2013 external review of Trinity Western University’s proposed law degree, observing that the 5-member panel seems to express “serious reservations,” including concerns about curriculum, academic freedom, the employability of the school’s graduates, and the impact of the mandatory community covenant on TWU’s ability to hire top-quality faculty. TWU President Bob Kuhn has responded in a statement that the Province article is “one-sided” and demonstrates little understanding of the academic review process. "It is not at all unusual for the external reviewers to raise issues or concerns with some aspects of a proposal … The article also fails to fully report that the panel concluded that in every area of review the proposal either met or exceed the required standard or met the standard on certain conditions,” Kuhn says. The TWU law school has been approved by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada National Accreditation Committee, but continues to spark controversy in the legal community. Vancouver Province | TWU statement

BC newspaper publishes confidential TWU law degree program review Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

Canada and New Brunswick have jointly committed funding to support innovation and research in Atlantic Canada. NB announced that it will contribute $82 M in funding over 5 years to support innovation in the province. Canada committed to investing up to $5 M in support of research, development, and commercialization activities at the Atlantic Cancer Research Centre, and $2 M to improve research capacity in big data research at the University of New Brunswick. “Our government’s plan to create jobs by developing our natural resources and growing our knowledge sectors will drive our economy for generations,” said Craig Leonard, NB’s Minister of Energy and Mines. Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency News Release

Canada, New Brunswick commit funding to innovation and R&D Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has agreed to invest in the Rotman School of Management’s Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto. The Lab offers an 8-month business accelerator program that is designed to help commercialize promising technology. It offers researchers the opportunity to connect with and benefit from the expertise of experienced entrepreneurs. “You can’t teach entrepreneurship in a classroom. You’ve got to find people who have the entrepreneurial DNA ... [and] surround them with the experience and the know-how,” said Dominique Bélanger, VP Investments and Partnerships at BDC. Bélanger said that the partnership is representative of a revised approach to venture capital investment in Canada that is more in tune with Canadian strengths and focuses on regional specializations. BDC previously invested in the healthcare accelerator Accel-RX, using funding set aside by the federal government to invest in Canadian startups. Globe and Mail (Subscription Required)

Business Development Bank of Canada funds accelerator program at uToronto Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

The results of an online CIBC survey offers insight into student attitudes toward education debt. CIBC reports that 51% of Canadian PSE students have borrowed or will need to borrow money to pay for their education. 73% of those respondents expect to graduate with more than $10,000 in debt, and approximately 40% expect to owe more than $25,000. 66% said that they anticipate being able to pay their debt back in 5 years or less. But CIBC’s Executive VP of Retail and Business Banking Christina Kramer said that “while [students’] intentions are admirable, they may not be realistic.” Further data indicates that it isn’t just tuition that contributes to high student debt. A Bank of Montreal survey found that PSE students spend an average of $1,121 just on school supplies. Student respondents to that survey cited textbooks, new clothes, computers, and furniture as additional major expenses. CIBC News Release | Toronto Star | Financial Post | The Record

51% of Canadian students expect to take on debt for their education Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

Social networking websites Reddit, Imgur, and Twitch have launched a joint initiative called the Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (DERP), which they say will facilitate “open, publicly accessible, and ethical academic inquiry into the vibrant social dynamics of the web.” According to Imgur’s Tim Hwang, the three sites share the conviction that “there are ways of doing research better, and in a way that strongly respects user privacy and responsible use of data.” Hwang says that his group can help academic researchers gain access to data from social media platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter and facilitate cross-platform analysis. McGill University joins Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in signing up to access the data. Molly Sauter, a McGill Student who is working with DERP, said, “not only is it going to make it easier to for researchers to gain access to important and interesting data sets, but it will also help diversify the online populations and communities being studied.” Facebook recently faced controversy after it was revealed that researchers manipulated users' newsfeeds as part of a psychology experiment. The Guardian (UK)

Reddit, Imgur, and Twitch partner to provide data to researchers Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Conestoga College, highlighting the college’s support for industrial research, design, and manufacturing technology and innovation in the province’s Technology Triangle. The SMA cites Conestoga’s industry partnerships in engineering and manufacturing, food processing, and trades as specific areas of institutional strength, as well as the college’s impressive graduate employment rate. Conestoga is further cited for the variety of delivery methods it makes available to students, including experiential learning activities such as simulation, applied research, and clinical placements. The SMA also makes note of Conestoga’s support for faculty development through its Curriculum and Organizational Development Office. 6 programs are identified as proposed areas of growth: accounting and finance, advanced manufacturing, applied food safety, digital content creation, security and intelligence, and early learning. Conestoga SMA

Conestoga SMA highlights college’s contributions to Technology Triangle Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between Ontario and McMaster University highlights the university’s unique pedagogical approach, research-intensive setting, and its diverse program strengths. The SMA notes McMaster’s implementation of problem-based learning and inquiry and its distinctively collaborative and interdisciplinary culture, as well as the high impact of its research projects like the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre, the on-campus nuclear reactor, and the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Program. McMaster’s Innovation Park and its partnership with Mohawk College are also cited as being beneficial to economic development. The agreement highlights several areas of institutional strength in the areas of teaching and learning, including McMaster’s Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning and its redesign of high-enrolment courses into blended formats. McMaster also receives recognition for its support of Indigenous students, Crown Wards, and other underrepresented groups. The SMA identifies 5 areas of growth: health sciences and the broad determinants of health, fostering robust societies, business and economics, science and engineering, and communications and culture. McMaster SMA

High-impact research, innovative pedagogy emphasized in McMaster SMA Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

A report in the New York Times outlines findings from various sources about the habits and attitudes of millennials. According to the article, millennials, whose perspective is framed by the 2008 economic crash, are less interested in high salaries than they are in interesting, fulfilling work. Further, millennials are generally willing to embrace risk, pursuing their own ventures rather than seeking the security of a corporate job. They are less likely to be interested in prestige brands than they are the corporate social responsibility efforts of a company, and embrace “the values of good citizenship.” The article refutes the stereotype of millennials as being narcissistic, suggesting that instead their highest values are empathy and open-mindedness. They tend to be optimistic, but nevertheless are conscious that failure is a very real possibility. “I know that as hard as I work—and I work very hard—I very well may fail. And it’s liberating to know that,” said one individual interviewed for the piece.  New York Times

Millennials value empathy and good citizenship, not self-interest Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

Money magazine has released its list of the US’s “best colleges for your money.” The magazine describes its list as “the first list of colleges that combines the most accurate pricing estimates available with estimates of likely earnings that take into account a student’s economic background, test scores, and major.” With its rankings, Money hopes to offer students and parents insight into “real value for their tuition dollars” and into which colleges most enhance earning potential. The rankings consider 18 factors divided into 3 primary categories: quality of education, affordability, and outcomes. Schools were scored based on six-year graduation rate, instructor quality, graduation rate, net price of a degree, student loan default risk, and post-graduation earnings, among other factors. Based on these criteria, the top college in the US is not Harvard or Yale but Massachusetts’ Babson College, a small college focused on business and entrepreneurship. The Webb Institute (New York), MIT, Princeton, and Stanford round out the top 5. Money

Money ranks US colleges based on bang for the buck Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

Purdue University in Indiana has announced that it has become the second Amazon Campus in the US. The partnership creates what Purdue describes in a news release as “a new, co-branded experience where students can purchase lower-cost textbooks and other college essentials.” Through the partnership, Amazon will offer Purdue students expedited shipping benefits and will create on-campus locations where students will be able to pick up orders and drop off rented textbooks. Purdue will receive a percentage of eligible sales. “This relationship is another step in Purdue’s efforts to make a college education more affordable to our students,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. Purdue does not have a university-run bookstore, though there are many independent operators in the vicinity of campus. The University of California at Davis, meanwhile, is planning to expand a pilot program with Amazon. UC-Davis collects slightly more than 2% of most purchases from the co-branded store, and has netted $139,000 from the arrangement in the 2 quarters since the program launched. Inside Higher Ed | Purdue News Release

US institutions partner with Amazon on co-branded stores Top Ten 08/19/2014 - 03:30 08/19/2014 - 03:30

York University has removed a series of racist flyers that were recently posted on campus. The posters, entitled “The Changing Demography of York University,” juxtapose images of past York University sports teams, which predominantly consisted of white men, with more recent teams, which are racially and ethnically diverse. The posters include racially charged anti-immigration messages. In a press release, a spokesperson for the York Federation of Students (YFS) said that students “are disturbed and appalled by these blatantly racist flyers.” The organization believed to be responsible for distributing the flyers at York has also posted similar material in nearby Brampton. The YFS called on the university to take immediate action in response to the posters. A spokesperson for YorkU said that the flyers had been posted without the university’s consent or knowledge and were removed immediately. YorkU also contacted the organization that is believed to have distributed the flyers and ordered them to cease and desist using the university’s logo and photographs. CBC | Toronto Star | YFS News Release

YorkU removes racist anti-immigration flyers Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

Statistics Canada has released a rare correction of its monthly labour force data, withdrawing their original claim that the Canadian economy had created just 200 jobs in July. In the new report, StatsCan says that 42,000 jobs were added. StatsCan attributes the mistake to a human error that came about as a result of a major redesign of its Labour Force Survey. In a statement, StatsCan said that “certain respondents that should have been classified as employed were counted as not in the labour force resulting in an overestimation of job losses in full-time employment.” The original release misreported the figures for full-time job losses as 60,000 rather than the correct figure of 18,000. The July figures also show that among people aged 25–54 employment rose by 38,000 in July, but the unemployment rate changed very little  as more youths participated in the labour market. Among students aged 20–24, employment was up by 32,000. However, because employment and the number of returning students grew at a similar pace, the rate of employment remained largely unchanged compared to July 2013. StatsCan Daily | Toronto Star

StatsCan releases corrected labour force survey data Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

The Canadian Bureau for International Education has released the details of its pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Finance Committee. CBIE, which comprises 150 K-12 school districts, universities, colleges, institutes, and language schools, recommends that Canada offer 50,000 study-abroad scholarships to Canadian students by 2022 in order to overcome what the organization calls “Canada’s Global Engagement Challenge.” CBIE President Karen McBride said, “international education with all its benefits—leadership development, cross-cultural communication skills, second- and third-language proficiency—is a two-way street, and our students need to experience these gains.” CBIE recommends that a minimum of 10,000 awards of $1000 each be offered in 2015, ramping up to 15,000 awards to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. CBIE News Release | Full Submission

CBIE urges Canada to create study-abroad scholarships Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) has released a series of reports that explore best approaches to enhancing the knowledge and skills of health and social care providers to better meet the needs of older Ontarians. “Ontario universities play a key role in educating health providers for the needs of today and tomorrow. The release of these reports continues to move forward the discussion opened at the Better Aging: Ontario Education Summit on how we can advance the care and support for older Ontarians,” said COU President Bonnie M Patterson. The reports cover topics including core curricula for entry-to-practice health and social care worker education, perceptions of practitioners and practitioner organizations of gaps in senior care competencies, patient and caregiver perceptions of educational needs, and continuing professional development. COU News Release

COU releases reports on senior-care education Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 19:43 08/18/2014 - 03:30

Canada has announced the recipients of the 2014 Vanier Scholarships and Banting Fellowships. The awards go to doctoral and post-doctoral researchers carrying out research in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and the social sciences. This year there were 166 recipients of Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and 70 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, totaling more than $34 M. “Our government is investing in developing, attracting and retaining the world’s best young research talent to ensure Canada remains a leader in discovery and applied research,” said Canada’s Minister of State (Science and Technology) Ed Holder. “Today’s recipients ... are world-class researchers who will make the breakthrough discoveries and innovations that Canadian jobs, our economy and our quality of life depend on.” Canada News Release

Vanier Scholarship and Banting Fellowship recipients announced Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014 has been released. The list ranks universities based on 6 factors: the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel prizes and Field Medals; the number of highly cited researchers; the number of articles published in Nature and Science; the number of articles indexed in the Thomson Reuters Science Citation Index Expanded and the Social Sciences Citation Index; and per capita performance. Harvard University topped this year’s rankings, followed by Stanford University. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology displaced the University of California, Berkley from its third-place spot as Berkley dropped to fourth. The University of Toronto was the top-ranked Canadian university, moving up 4 spots to 24th. The University of British Columbia moved up 3 spots to 37th. McGill University dropped from 58th in 2013 to 68th this year. McMaster University also finished in the top 100 at 90th, up 2 from 2013. Canada had 21 universities in the top 500 altogether. Universities in Asia and in particular China made significant gains in this year’s rankings. ARWU 2014 | Times Higher Education

2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities released Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Collège Boreal. The agreement identifies Boréal's key differentiators as its support for francophone education and culture and its significant French-language PSE network, which reaches 27 communities across Ontario. The college’s medical radiation, ultrasonography, funeral services, and veterinary care programs are also identified as areas of strength. The SMA notes Boréal’s many community and national partnerships, applied research activities, and employment services as further strengths. The college’s support for blended and experiential learning are also highlighted. The SMA acknowledges Boréal’s high number of first-generation students and its considerable population of students with special needs as well as its support for the success of Aboriginal students through the college’s Louis-Riel Centre. 5 proposed areas for growth are identified in the report: administration, health, community services, technology, and skilled trades. Boréal SMA

Collège Boréal SMA highlights support for Aboriginal education, francophone culture Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Laurentian University highlights the university’s blended English, French, and Indigenous culture, as well as its research activity in environment and conservation, health and wellness, social and culture research and creativity, engineering, mineral and materials science, and particle physics. Laurentian is cited for its strong community engagement programs, including its social work program in Indigenous Relations and its participation in the Re-greening of Sudbury project. Additional areas of strength mentioned in the SMA include the university’s engagement with the mining industry and its efforts to increase the participation rates of Aboriginal people in university education. The SMA further identifies the valuable relationship between Laurentian’s research agenda and the characteristics of its region. Laurentian’s proposed program areas for growth include architecture; engineering and earth sciences; French language programs in Sudbury; forensic science, criminal investigative science, and IT; and northern health development and Indigenous relations. Laurentian SMA

Laurentian SMA cites institution’s blended culture, regionally inflected research Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

Google has officially launched its new learning management system, simply called “Classroom.” The platform has been available in preview since May, but is now in full release. Classroom integrates with Google’s Apps for Education suite, enabling teachers to create within Google’s office software assignments that students can complete and return with just one click. The platform also includes features for grading, real-time feedback on student work, commenting, homework collection, and announcements. A spokesperson for Google noted that there is significant interest from third-party developers to build tools that will integrate with the platform, but would not reveal any further details. THE Journal

Google launches “Classroom” learning management system Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

The cover story in the latest issue of The Atlantic contemplates the future of college education in the US, focusing specifically on tech entrepreneur Ben Nelson’s Minerva Project. Instruction will be delivered to students via a proprietary platform that was designed around the principles of psychologist and former Harvard Dean Stephen M Kosslyn. The author of the article, who participated in a test run of a Minerva class, describes the experience as “exhausting ... with no relief in the form of time when my attention could flag ... If this was the education of the future, it seemed vaguely fascistic. Good, but fascistic.” Minerva takes a scientifically rigorous approach to identifying best practices and learning techniques, shunning tradition for data-driven decision-making. Rather than lectures, students are subjected to a barrage of quizzes and reasoning tests. Minerva has an international student base—Nelson believes that in time as many as 90% of students will come from overseas—many of whom come from “unconventional” backgrounds. “We are now building an institution that has not been attempted in over 100 years,” Nelson said. The Atlantic

The Atlantic profiles the Minerva Project Top Ten 08/18/2014 - 03:30 08/18/2014 - 03:30

Cape Breton University has unveiled its new brand, HAPPEN. Guided by the defining statement “at CBU, you'll discover the effect you're going to have in the world,” HAPPEN promises students, staff, and the wider community that “CBU is committed to building a flourishing, entrepreneurial, multi-cultural and sustainable global university dedicated to students and community through teaching excellence and world changing research.” The rejuvenated brand is meant to better align with CBU’s key strategic priorities, and was developed during a year-long process of interviews, focus groups, town hall meetings, and workshops. The refreshed brand includes a new colour palette combining hues of orange and green with blues and yellows, and will be fully rolled out visually in the coming months both at CBU and through other forms of local advertising. CBU News Release | Brand Website | Chronicle-Herald

CBU reveals new brand: HAPPEN Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues, some American universities have suspended programs that involve students travelling to affected areas such as Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and New York University have both cancelled fall programs, but hope to continue with winter/spring programs. Harvard University is cautioning anyone who has travelled to affected areas recently against returning to campus without first seeking medical advice. Researchers affiliated with the University of Manitoba and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg have been working on an Ebola vaccine and treatment since 2001. In 2005, researchers made a breakthrough in the development of a vaccine that showed success with monkeys. On Monday, the World Health Organization ruled that it was ethical to deploy an untested vaccine given the unprecedented scope of the outbreak. Medical microbiology professor Keith Fowke noted that Ebola is hard to study, as it is so highly infectious. “As with all viruses, Ebola mutates, so developing a vaccine is difficult. It’s hard to keep pace with a changing virus,” he said. USA Today | uManitoba News | Toronto Star

Ebola affects university programs Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

The University of British Columbia has announced a $750,000 investment in new campus safety features at its Vancouver Point Grey campus. The funding will go toward improved lighting, strengthening the campus Safewalk program, additional coverage of security bike patrols, and the development of new communication features for the Mobile UBC app. The funding comes following the recommendations of a campus safety working group that was put in place in response to a series of sexual assaults in 2013. “UBC’s Vancouver campus has been and continues to be a very safe place to live, work and study and we are committed to tangible, practical safety improvements. We also agree with safety experts that ultimately the best crime prevention is a caring, connected, and respectful community. This is why we’ll also be focusing over the long term on education and community-building initiatives,” said UBC President Arvind Gupta. These initiatives will include educational and awareness-building activities, tracking and monitoring of safety data, and improved coordination between communications, police, and victim support services. UBC News Release

UBC invests in campus safety features Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has submitted its pre-budget recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. CASA’s submission emphasizes its view that the high cost of education is delaying young people from achieving financial independence. It calls for changes to Canadian student financial assistance programs including the removal of employment penalties for working students and the cessation of the Canada Student Loans Program parental contributions policy. CASA further urges the government to increase the Canada Student Loans Program’s weekly limit from $210 to $245. CASA also recommends that the government increase the value of Canada Student Grants by 9.4% to account for inflation, and suggests the creation of a specific grant fund for students with high financial need. Finally, CASA calls on the government to do more to support mature learners wishing to retrain or pursue further education. CASA News Release | CASA Pre-Budget Submission

CASA submits pre-budget recommendations to federal government Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

Upheaval in the news/media sector has led to changes in the way PSE institutions deliver journalism programs, and to changes in the content of courses in these programs. In the first of a 3-part series on changes occurring within journalism programs, Carleton University’s head of journalism, Susan Harada, discusses some of the content that journalism schools are adding to programs and courses. A survey issued to the academic leaders of journalism programs in Canada reveals that the majority of programs (41%) are adding content to existing courses, and 33% are designing new degree programs entirely. Blogging, ethics, and digital skills are most cited as having been added to courses, with digital photography, audio production, and web video topping the list of added digital skills. Harada also notes that survey respondents spoke of the removal of divisions between forms of media such as print, broadcast, and online. “Silos are coming down,” she says, as journalism students increasingly learn skills that are applied across multiple platforms, enhancing flexibility and adaptability among students. Canadian Journalism Project

Journalism schools respond to industry changes Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has released the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between the province and La Cité Collégiale. The report identifies La Cité’s areas of differentiation as its promotion of francophone education and culture in Ontario, its production of graduates who are adept in working in both of Canada’s official languages, and its support for underrepresented student populations. La Cité is further recognized for its employment services and support programs, including labour market integration programs and employment resource centre. The SMA also notes that the college has been expanding its applied research programs and its collaboration with industry. La Cité’s support for experiential learning and student mobility programs are also identified as strengths, as well as its use of online learning tools. The agreement names as proposed areas of program growth skilled trades; health and life sciences; administration, hospitality and tourism; emergency and legal services; and social and human services. La Cité SMA

La Cité Collégiale SMA emphasizes francophone education and labour market integration Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Lakehead University emphasizes the institution’s focus on accessibility; its support for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit learners, and its use of technology-enabled learning. The SMA highlights Lakehead’s commitment to economic development in Orillia and Thunder Bay through applied research, community collaborations, and its support for institutes and initiatives such as the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute and the Ring of Fire development. The agreement also acknowledges the Lakehead University Centre for Analytical Services (LUCAS), which has provided 77 regional partners with access to research equipment and services. Further areas of strength include experiential learning, student/faculty ratios, and its student success facilities. Five program areas are identified in the SMA as proposed areas for growth: business, entrepreneurship, and innovation; engineering; health sciences/health and medicine; social justice/Aboriginal emphasis, and sustainability. Lakehead SMA

Lakehead SMA focuses on accessibility, FNMI support, and regional partnerships Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

The Globe and Mail has released as part of its Agenda 2020 series an interview with 2 marketing experts on the impact that Generation Y will have on marketing and branding. Both experts say that brands are becoming increasingly important, and that in the digital era it is more critical than ever that organizations and companies have an effective brand and marketing strategy. The experts agree that Generation Y typically expects more flexibility from their brands. They add that traditional modes of advertising remain important and emphasize that marketers must understand how the strengths of media such as radio fit alongside social media in an overall strategy. According to the interview, consumers have come to expect a longer-term relationship with brands that extends beyond an initial transaction. The experts say that Generation Y will expect service when they need it without being stuck in a queue; they add that automation should lead to increased personalization of services and information in the future. Globe and Mail

Branding experts consider the impact of Generation Y on marketing Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

Juho Kim, a PhD candidate in the User Interface Design Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is working on a project called LectureScape. Kim describes LectureScape as “an enhanced video player for educational content online, powered by data on learners’ video watching behavior.” The platform collects data on users’ consumption patterns, identifying which parts of videos are most often rewatched, skimmed, searched, or reviewed, and can also create interactive transcripts, word clouds, and summaries of content. Kim says that the platform is designed to use signals derived from viewers’ habits to help learners feel more connected to the content. LectureScape uses collected data, but is also based on research into human-computer interaction. Kim and his development team hope that the platform can help instructors improve video content for massive open online courses (MOOCs) as well as enhance the way in which the videos are presented to students. He believes that the platform could lead to more personalized video content. Kim emphasizes that LectureScape is free, and that he intends that it will stay that way. Forbes

MIT researchers creating “YouTube for MOOCs” Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

A student library assistant at Elon University in North Carolina recently unearthed an admissions application to the institution that dates back to 1922. After the student posted the application on Reddit, Elon’s special-collections librarian and archivist Katie Nash shared an even older application form from 1913. The 100-year-old, 2-page form is a far cry from today’s application packages, asking students to outline their knowledge of Cicero, Xenophon, and Homer, as well as their background in French Literature. The 1922 application is just one page, and moves away from antiquity toward students’ health and religious background. The 1922 form also asks students what sports they play and what daily and county newspapers they read. Nash also provided more recent application forms, which by the 1970s began to resemble more closely today’s version. The applications provide insight into the history of the institution and its aspirations, as well as trends in more general attitudes toward education in the US. The Chronicle of Higher Education

100 years of change in college admissions applications Top Ten 08/15/2014 - 03:30 08/15/2014 - 03:30

The federal government has announced an investment of $8 M for organic agriculture research led by the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC). The funding will establish an organic science cluster of representatives from academia, government, and industry who will focus on researching and developing expanded organic crop production and responding to market demand. The cluster will be managed by OFC with assistance from the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at Dalhousie University. The funding is provided through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Growing Forward initiative. The funds will be used to coordinate a national organic research strategy as well as funding individual research projects at Dal and elsewhere. "The Canadian organic sector continues to grow at an impressive rate. Investments like this in research and development span the entire value chain, from production through to the consumer, and support the competitiveness, growth and prosperity of the organic sector and our overall economy,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. Canada News Release | Dal News

Canada provides $8 M for organic agriculture research Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

Bell Canada has cancelled its unpaid-internship program, known as the Professional Management Program. “The Professional Management Program was completed last April and is no longer available,” said Bell spokesman Albert Lee. The Record reports that Bell’s internship program is at the centre of an ongoing federal labour dispute between Bell and a former intern who is suing for back wages for work done in 2012. The cancellation of the internship program comes amidst growing awareness of the conditions facing many interns in Canada. A recent report found that the majority of interns are female and are often underpaid, and there have been questions raised around safety after an Alberta student died in a vehicle collision after working an unpaid, overnight shift. Federal and provincial private member’s bills have been introduced to help protect interns from exploitation and unsafe working conditions. Canadian Intern Association President Claire Seaborn expressed hope that the program cancellation would lead to more entry-level positions at Bell. The Record

Bell cancels unpaid-internship program Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

Canadian PSE institutions have begun to loosen standards around English-language proficiency in order to attract more foreign students, reports the Globe and Mail. The move is usually part of a partnership between a school board and university or college, as in the case of the Limestone District School Board in Kingston, Ontario, which has partnered with Queen’s University. Queen’s pays part of the board’s recruitment costs, and students are conditionally accepted into the arts and science faculty at Queen’s, with reduced requirements for English-language proficiency. The Toronto District School Board says it is negotiating a similar partnership with the University of Toronto, where the language proficiency exam requirement would be waived for foreign students that have attended 2 years of high school in one of the board’s schools. Many schools at both the secondary and PSE level have begun to recruit heavily in international markets to offset a declining youth demographic. The Vancouver School Board currently has more than 1,300 foreign students attending its schools, with total revenue from foreign student tuition expected to reach $20 M this upcoming year. Globe and Mail

Postscript: August 14 2014

Yesterday’s coverage of language requirements for international students reproduced an error published by the Globe and Mail, who has since issued a correction. The Vancouver School Board’s international program has more than 1,300 students. Further, a representative of the University of Toronto has informed Academica Group that, contrary to the Globe’s report, the institution is not in talks with the Toronto District School Board to reduce or waive English language requirements for international students within the TDSB. Queen’s University Provost Alan Harrison also responded to the Globe article and clarified that the Limestone Queen’s pathway program does not lower admission standards and that all participants must still meet the university’s academic and language requirements and deadlines in order to obtain a conditional offer of admission to Queen’s. Harrison added that the pathway is a rigorous program and that while Queen’s is a partner in the program it does not actively recruit for it. Globe and Mail | Queen'sU News Release

Canadian schools partner and lower language requirements to attract foreign students Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 15:37 08/14/2014 - 03:30

The University of Calgary is considering charging a deposit to students who have been accepted to the university and wish to hold their spot. The plan is being evaluated to reduce the number of students who accept and then back out of their admission offer. uCalgary’s Associate Registrar Scott Robinson said, “we do see people who commit by accepting their offer, but not actually registering in classes—or in some cases registering in classes and then not coming because they’ve actually committed somewhere else where they’ve paid a deposit.” The deposit would later be applied to tuition fees. Hana Kadri, VP Academic of uCalgary’s Student Union is on board with the plan, noting that it would motivate students to prepare for university earlier in the summer and would moreover enable the university to notify wait-listed students earlier in the summer if space has opened up. Many other Canadian universities already require an admissions deposit. CBC

uCalgary considering admission deposit fee Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC), a non-profit that provides workers to power companies, is launching a $350,000 marketing campaign to recruit women to the industry. The electricity sector will need 23,000 new recruits to replace retiring workers, and EHRC believes that women will be critical to overcoming that gap. Women make up 25% of employees in the sector, but most are working in administrative and marketing roles. “We want to get them working on the technical side,” said EHRC CEO Michelle Branigan. To that end, the organization is launching a massive ad campaign that aims to normalize the image of women working in jobs like engineers, millwrights, and industrial mechanics. EHRC will also launch a new website to provide information to women interested in working in the trades. The campaign is being sponsored by a number of power companies and trade organizations, and Branigan says she’s also reached out to PSE institutions and groups. The campaign, Branigan says, will run as long as it is needed. Toronto Star

Electricity industry non-profit to market trades to women Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

An editorial in the Waterloo Record is applauding the city’s efforts to transform its “student ghetto.” Luisa D’Amato says that Waterloo has been successful in transforming its Northdale neighbourhood by striking a balance between town and gown. The city has pursued a policy of no more than 2 student residences for every one non-student residence in the area, and has focused on better bylaw enforcement, purposeful zoning, and strong urban design guidelines. The latter will now include a tax reward for environmentally friendly building design. Waterloo’s efforts have been boosted by students’ own preferences as well: increasingly, student renters are opting for smaller units rather than large, multi-bedroom residences that have been popular in the past. The city also received help from private partners like IBM. “Good neighbourhoods are balanced neighbourhoods,” said city councilor Jeff Henry. The Record

Balance key to transforming Waterloo's "student ghetto" Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has published its strategic mandate agreement (SMA) with Carleton University, highlighting the school’s interdisciplinary research excellence, its focus on access for underrepresented student groups, and its work translating science and technology research into policy and regulation. The SMA identifies several areas of institutional strength, including Carleton’s strong support of entrepreneurship and innovation and its national and international industry partnerships. Moreover, Carleton receives recognition for its innovative approaches to student learning experiences and its investment in pedagogy and new faculty orientation. The SMA also notes Carleton’s high rate of student participation in co-op streams. Carleton is also cited as a leader in making education accessible to students with disabilities. The agreement names 5 proposed areas of growth: global and international studies; information management and digital media; business, entrepreneurship, and governance; advanced technology and innovation, and health sciences. Carleton SMA

Entrepreneurship, access highlighted as strengths in Carleton SMA Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between Ontario and Centennial College emphasizes the institution’s support for entrepreneurship, applied research, and innovation. The agreement highlights the variety of education delivery methods offered by Centennial, as well as its Centre for Academic Quality and Centre of Organizational Learning and Teaching. Centennial’s diverse student population and its support for students with disabilities, first-generation students, and Aboriginal students are also cited in the SMA as areas of institutional strength. The SMA identifies 5 areas of proposed program growth: global leadership, aerospace and transportation technology, creative and performing arts, smart building and environmental sustainability, and hospitality and lifestyle management. Moreover, Centennial is recognized for its focus on improving collaboration, pathways, and student mobility through partnerships with other institutions. Centennial SMA

SMA between Ontario, Centennial highlights student support, applied research Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

California’s San Jose State University has found a new revenue stream: headhunting services. The university will find students to fit employer needs for a fee. The institution is in a favourable position to provide these kinds of services, being in close proximity to firms like Apple and Facebook as well as many other Silicon Valley companies. The institution’s close relationship with many of these firms means that its graduates are often in high demand. To meet that demand, it created SJSU Spartan Staffing, which employs recruiters who liaise between students, alumni, and employees; the staffing firm’s recruiters also work with local staffing non-profits that specialize in finding work for persons with disabilities. Daniel Newell, Program Manager of Workforce & Economic Development at the university, says that as far as he knows the service is unique among US public universities, who typically do not make candidate referrals and focus instead on counselling and professional development. SJSU Spartan Staffing hopes to place 38 students by the end of its first year, and 250 over 5 years. Its goal is to net the university $250,000 over the 5-year period. Entrepreneur

US college offers headhunting service for local employers Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

A growing number of US institutions are turning to data to help improve student retention rates. At the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, freshmen students fill out 3 surveys through a retention-and-success program called EBI MAP-Works. The program uses predictive analytics to identify at-risk students. Counsellors are also able to use the data to work with and advise students whose profiles indicate that they would benefit from interventions. Such technologically driven approaches to retention are yielding new insights for academic administrators, sometimes calling into question assumptions that undergirded less empirical approaches to retention. For instance, Montclair State University in New Jersey used intelligence from an Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS) program to identify and ameliorate upper-year students’ confusion about their advisors. National data also indicate that retention is not just a first-year issue, as is often believed; IPAS software, some say, can help improve retention rates of students in what is called the “murky middle” after second year. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

US institutions use analytics software to improve retention rates Top Ten 08/14/2014 - 03:30 08/14/2014 - 03:30

The federal government has announced that it will provide $30 M over 5 years to the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC). The industry-led network, which launched in April, aims to strengthen research relationships between industry, academia, and research institutes in Canada by funding collaborative aerospace projects. “The relative importance of the aerospace industry to the Canadian economy is second to none in the world. CARIC will be instrumental in pulling together the resources of the aerospace R&D community across Canada to maintain the leadership of our industry despite tough competition worldwide,” said CARIC President Denis Faubert. Canadian Minister of Industry James Moore added, “this industry-led network will enhance the global competitiveness of the Canadian aerospace industry by bringing together key players from industry and academia and funding collaborative research and technology development projects to move our industry forward.” Canada News Release

Canada commits $30 M to aerospace innovation Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

According to a new report released last week by the Fraser Institute, increased funding to First Nations schools will not fix the low graduation rates currently plaguing First Nations youth. Suggesting that the overall operating expenditure for First Nations students is actually equal to or greater than that for students attending provincial schools, the report attempts to dispel several “myths” about First Nations education. The report asserts that on-reserve schools do not meet provincial education standards and are issuing diplomas and credentials that are not recognized by many employers or higher education institutions. Critics of the report, such as Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) in BC, state that the report pan-nationalizes data and ignores evidence to the contrary. Jarrett Laughlin, a senior policy analyst with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), takes issue with almost all of the myths explored in the report. "From our perspective, it's perpetuating more of the 'myths' and not enough of the realities," he said. A statement released by the AFN addresses many of the report’s claims, stating that the “Fraser Institute report uses an inaccurate approach to identifying the core, sustainable and predictable funding that reaches First Nation schools,” and that “despite the lack of specific resources to develop educational standards, First Nation education systems have been able to build and develop local standards that support their schools and communities.” Fraser Institute News Release | Report Summary | Chilliwack Progress | National Post | The Tyee | AFN Statement | Winnipeg Free Press

Fraser Institute report on First Nations education draws criticism Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

Ontario’s university campuses are taking great strides toward sustainability thanks to a wide variety of green programs and funding, according to the Council of Ontario Universities’ annual Going Green Report. 22 Ontario universities now conduct waste audits, and 21 have adopted green cleaning programs. Many institutions are also encouraging students, faculty, and staff to opt for green transportation as well; 14 universities offer bike-sharing programs and 9 have created on-campus bike lanes. 14 campuses generate their own renewable energy, and 18 have implemented green building standards. The report also highlights specific initiatives at some institutions, such as the creation of green revolving funds—funds that invest in sustainability projects that produce cost savings through conservation—at Carleton University and the University of Toronto, as well as various student engagement strategies. COU News Release | Going Green Report

COU releases report on campus sustainability initiatives Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

Lakeland College will offer its first massive open online course (MOOC), Introduction to Mental Health, this fall. The MOOC is the first course of Lakeland’s Mental Health Practitioner certificate program. “MOOCs are an exciting new way for people to learn, and our new program’s introductory course is a great way for Lakeland to pilot something beyond our usual online programs,” says Michael Crowe, Dean of Teaching and Learning at Lakeland. “There’s more recognition now of mental health as part of the wellness spectrum. Professionals and other front line workers are looking for more knowledge and tools to help them work with people of all ages.” The course is equivalent to a 3-credit college-level course and will run from September 15 to November 21. Lakeland News

First MOOC being offered at Lakeland College Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

A Trent University professor is seeking permission from a local municipality to rezone a house she owns as a research lab, reports The Peterborough Examiner. Magda Havas studies the effects of electromagnetic energy on human health, particularly how Wi-Fi affects children. Havas wants to set up the lab in the house because it is sheltered from Wi-Fi and cellphone reception, which she says is not possible at the university. Trent officials have stated they do not have a problem with Havas’ plans as the research she will conduct there is separate from the research she does for Trent. Residents from the area where Havas’ planned lab is located have expressed concerns, and as the house will need to be rezoned, the local council will hear her proposal at an upcoming council meeting. The Peterborough Examiner

Trent professor wants to set up research lab in home Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has published the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Brock University. The SMA identifies as Brock’s key areas of differentiation its undergraduate teaching, its research and graduate programs, its transdisciplinary research hubs, and its contributions to the social, economic, and cultural development of the Niagara region. The SMA cites Brock’s business and technology partnerships, health partnerships, and community partnerships as areas of institutional strength, as well as the university’s support for unique student experiences and experiential learning opportunities. The agreement identifies 4 proposed areas for growth: health and well-being, lifespan issues, sustainability and social justice, and business. Brock is also encouraged in the SMA to develop further degree pathways in business and other disciplines with Niagara College and other institutions. Brock SMA

Ontario, Brock SMA identifies community partnerships, teaching excellence as key differentiators Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Cambrian College emphasizes Cambrian’s innovative use of experiential learning, collaborative approaches to teaching, and applied research opportunities, as well as Cambrian’s leadership in reaching “at-risk” learners. The SMA notes Cambrian’s strong collaborative work with employers and community partners, as well as the college’s strengths in applied research and as a critical regional employer. The province also highlighted Cambrian’s strong employment rate, as well as the fact that Cambrian graduates' rate of employment in fields related to their studies is 56.6%, the highest among all Ontario colleges. According to the SMA, Cambrian’s areas of institutional strength include its strong co-op programs, its emphasis on e-learning courses, its high rate of student satisfaction, and its first-to-second-year retention rate. Ontario also indicated its support for Cambrian’s planned Co-curricular Record Program. The SMA identifies gas technician, refrigeration and air condition systems mechanic, and residential and air conditioning systems mechanic apprenticeships as proposed areas of growth, as well as automotive service technician, power engineering, health and community services, and environmental mining. Cambrian SMA

SMA between Cambrian, Ontario emphasizes innovative teaching, graduate employment rates Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has published the details of its strategic mandate agreement (SMA) with Canadore College. The SMA notes Canadore’s support for northern economic development via learner-focused education and applied research, as well as Canadore’s support for flexible, applied, and experiential learning. Per the SMA, Canadore’s strengths include its work with a variety of industries and its function as a technology transfer agent. Canadore’s strong relationship with First Nations communities was also identified as a strength, especially the college’s partnerships with Anishinaabe, Inuit, and Métis communities in Ontario. Ontario also remarks upon Canadore’s student success programs, including its enhanced resource centres and links to community resources. Its Department of Quality Learning, Teaching, and Innovation is also highlighted as a strength. The SMA identifies 5 programs as proposed areas for growth: aviation (non-flight), health (inter-professional education approach), Indigenous teaching and learning, heavy industry support services, and digital technology platforms. Canadore SMA

Canadore’s support for Aboriginal education, flexible learning highlighted in SMA with province Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

Some faculty at the University of Michigan have implemented a program called LectureTools, which collects data on students’ reactions to lecture material. The software is meant to solve a particular problem: while digital education initiatives are capable of collecting all manner of metrics about student participation, it is far more difficult to quantify students’ engagement in a more traditional classroom. LectureTools developer Perry Samson, a professor at uMichigan, says that “universities are doing students a disservice, because in order to make ends meet, we have these large intro courses that are just terrible environments for learning.” With LectureTools, he hopes faculty and institutions will be able to find meaningful data that can drive improvement. With the software, students can indicate confusion, respond to questions, and take marginal notes. Future versions might nudge the professor to respond mid-lecture if it detects that students are disengaged. Samson hopes to ease professors’ lives, but success still requires that students use the software, and that faculty are willing to act on the data it provides. The Chronicle of Higher Education

uMichigan professor’s software aims to improve traditional lectures Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

An article published in Campus Technology outlines the basics of using technology to enhance active and collaborative learning in the classroom. The article highlights a number of institutions that have created active learning classrooms, including McGill University and Dawson College in Quebec. Most active learning classrooms feature a large, interactive display or whiteboard at each student table that is designed to be shared among students. Some classrooms rely on personal devices such as tablet computers, though some practitioners caution that these devices can stifle collaborative efforts. The piece also outlines some of the benefits of active-learning classrooms, including increased interaction between students and professors, support for different learning styles, and improved student engagement. The article advises that implementations proceed incrementally and deliberately, and that institutions offer faculty development and support to ensure success. Campus Technology

Active learning classrooms require deliberate design but can benefit faculty and students: article Top Ten 08/13/2014 - 03:30 08/13/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has made public 27 notices of intent submitted by municipalities, colleges, and universities in response to the province’s Major Capacity Expansion Policy Framework. Most were submitted by PSE institutions; however, the province also received one from the City of Niagara Falls. 7 of the proposals were submitted jointly between multiple institutions, and several institutions submitted multiple proposals. The scope of submissions varies: Western University, for instance, submitted a proposal to add a new “Student Experience Facility” that would house technology-enabled teaching and learning spaces, student entrepreneurship spaces, and student services spaces. A submission from Centennial College, former University of Guelph President Alastair Summerlee, and UoGuelph Provost Maureen Mancuso, however, ambitiously describes the creation of a new Brampton campus that would offer an interdisciplinary curriculum, a heavily integrated experiential learning component, and that would eliminate majors and minors. The Centennial proposal also says that costs would be limited through the use of “flexible staffing contracts” for faculty. Notices of Intent

Ontario publishes responses to capacity expansion request Top Ten 08/12/2014 - 03:30 08/12/2014 - 03:30

In its pre-budget submission, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada recommends the federal government focus on funding for research and innovation, creating an opportunities strategy for young Canadians, and on initiatives to attract Aboriginal Canadians to PSE. In its report, AUCC urges Canada to commit to “predictable, multi-year funding for research funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation.” In order to maximize the number and variety of jobs for Canadians, AUCC also recommends that the government invest in programs including a voucher program to support the hiring of co-op students and interns; a federal tax credit for co-op and paid internship programs; funding for institutional support of co-op placements and internships; additional funding for research internships delivered through Mitacs’ programs; and expanded incentives for investing in young entrepreneurs. AUCC also recommends that the government triple support for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Postsecondary Partnerships Program, create 500 graduate scholarships for Aboriginal students, provide more funding to Indspire bursaries and scholarships, and invest in “reach back” and transition programs at Canadian universities. AUCC Submission

AUCC recommends federal investment in research, job opportunities, and Aboriginal Canadians Top Ten 08/12/2014 - 03:30 08/12/2014 - 03:30

Western University has received a $5-M donation from Jim and Louise Temerty and the Temerty Family Foundation. The funding will help researchers at WesternU’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to study the prevention, early detection, and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases including ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular cognitive impairment. “Ontario is home to some of the world’s most accomplished brain researchers and clinicians who are transforming the future health of Canadians. My family and I are pleased to be able to support this one-of-a-kind research that has the potential to change the course for people suffering from these debilitating diseases,” said Jim Temerty. The funding will support a 5-year study led by WesternU researcher Michael J Strong. “Our ultimate goal,” Strong said, “is to determine if, by studying the disease as a component of a larger whole, we can develop early treatment strategies long before the disease fully takes hold.” The donation will also benefit from matching funds from the Ontario Brain Institute. WesternU News Release

WesternU receives funding for neurodegenerative disease research Top Ten 08/12/2014 - 03:30 08/12/2014 - 03:30

The Study North Initiative, a collaborative effort between Collège Boréal, Cambrian College, Canadore College, Confederation College, Northern College, and Sault College, will receive a $3-M investment from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The Study North Initiative promotes study and work opportunities in northern Ontario to students in southern Ontario. “Northern Ontario Heritage Fund’s support of this initiative will not only assist in raising the profile of northern colleges and the high-caliber programs they offer but will showcase the vast opportunity our colleges and communities have to offer prospective students,” said Northern President Fred Gibbons. Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle said, “our government recognizes that northern Ontario’s colleges are essential to preparing northerners for the workforce and to responding to forecasted labour shortages in a number of sectors including the mining industry. I am very pleased that the NOHFC could invest in this important initiative.” Northern News Release | Confederation News Release

Study North Initiative receives $3 M from Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation Top Ten 08/12/2014 - 03:30 08/12/2014 - 03:30

Western Economic Diversification Canada will contribute more than $2.1 M to be used for new training equipment at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Agriculture Centre of Excellence. The equipment will enhance existing programs as well as be used in 2 new programs focused on the design and implementation of automated agricultural systems and robotics. “Thanks to this investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Agriculture Centre of Excellence will be well-equipped to train students on the latest in agricultural mechatronics and robotics. With this training, students will enter the workforce ready to design and maintain the advanced technologies that will help innovate agriculture in BC,” said Barry Delaney, Chair of the UFV board of governors. UFV News Release

UFV Agriculture Centre of Excellence receives federal funding Top Ten 08/12/2014 - 03:30 08/12/2014 - 03:30

Ontario has published the strategic mandate agreement (SMA) it signed with Algoma University last week. The SMA identifies as a key area of differentiation Algoma’s role in helping the Sault Ste Marie region transition to a knowledge-based economy, as well as its support for educational access for Anishinaabe students, first-generation students, and students from small towns. The SMA further notes Algoma’s key role as the eighth-largest employer in the region, as well as its efforts in collaborating with employers to develop programs that meet the needs of the local economy, especially in areas such as alternative energy, information technology, and eco-tourism. Algoma’s small class sizes and focus on undergraduate education were also identified as strengths. Among Algoma’s existing programs, liberal arts, biology, business administration, computer science, and social work were pointed to as areas of institutional strength, while undergraduate arts and sciences were identified as a proposed area of growth. Algoma SMA

Ontario releases details of SMA with Algoma University Top Ten 08/12/2014 - 03:30 08/12/2014 - 03:30

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed last week between Ontario and Algonquin College emphasizes the institution’s work with industry partners and its leadership in broadening learner access to PSE, as well as its innovative use of technology to enhance learning experiences. The SMA notes Algonquin’s strong graduate employment rate, as well as its commitment to work-integrated learning. Moreover, the report comments on the variety of program delivery methods available at Algonquin, including co-op programs, short-term contract placements, internships, and inter-professional education settings. The report identifies 10 program areas of strength, including health and wellness; digital technologies and design; hospitality and tourism; and communications, creative media, and entertainment. As proposed areas of growth, the SMA points to health and wellness; digital technologies and design; management, administration, and leadership; and engineering, technology, and the trades. The SMA also comments on Algonquin’s support for student mobility, as well as its competency-based learning units. Algonquin SMA

SMA between Algonquin, Ontario released Top Ten 08/12/2014 - 03:30 08/12/2014 - 03:30

A new report released by Intel says that Canadian PSE students spend one-third of their education time online. According to student respondents, research is conducted online 78% of the time and homework is done online 52% of the time. Students also frequently use the Internet to collaborate with peers (87% of respondents) and to communicate with professors and instructors. Many students did admit that they were concerned about technological distractions; nevertheless,