Top Ten

October 10, 2006

Carleton's International Strategy

  Carleton University’s task force on planning and priorities, created in October 2005 to chart a 5 to 10 year plan, received feedback on its preliminary report at a campus town hall meeting late last month. The draft plan states Carleton's intention to affirm its identity as Canada's capital university, and proposes methods for implementing its new international mandate. Carleton student leaders, however, do not support the report, saying the process has not engaged students and that so far as students are concerned, the plan merely continues the status quo. Students have established an online discussion forum about the plan. (See student newspaper article at )

Acadia Fights for Enrolment

The Athenaeum, the student newspaper at Acadia University, reports that the University experienced a dramatic 21% drop in enrollment this year. Administration suspects a combination of factors, including employment opportunities in western Canada, the waning of Ontario’s double cohort, and rising tuition fees. The average tuition in Canada is $4,000, but in Nova Scotia tuition averages $6,000, and at Acadia it hit a record-breaking $8,000 this year. In response, the administration has increased its scholarship budget from $2 million to $2.5 million, but faces tough competition, including Dalhousie, which offered $13 million this year. Acadia’s student retention has been steadily improving, and administration hopes to get current students engaged in the recruitment process. (See the Athenaeum article at )

Kingston College under investigation

Kingston College, a private career college that caters to international students through campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby, and Toronto, is under investigation in BC for offering degrees from the “American University in London” after being ordered to desist. AUL is apparently “based in an office over a betting shop” in the UK, and faces fines in the UK for misleading students. The BC Ministry of Advanced Education suspended Kingston’s registration last week, removed owner Michael Lo from a provincial advisory board, and ordered the school to stop enrolling students. Vancouver Sun

Stealing Bikes at UofT

  UofT Police, in partnership with Toronto Police Services, are implementing a “Bike Bait” pilot program. An expensive bicycle will be outfitted with a global positioning device, and left as bait for would-be bicycle thieves. The hope is not only to catch thieves “handlebar-handed,” but also to act as a deterrent. A similar program in Victoria BC has been credited with a 19% drop in bike thefts in a six month period.  (See student newspaper article at )

$25 M for UofA Pharmacy School

The Katz Group (owners of drug store chains Rexall, Medicine Shoppe, Pharma Plus and Guardian IDA) has pledged $7 million and committed to raise an additional $5.5 million from pharmaceutical and related industries for the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Alberta’s provincial government has committed to match the funds, for a potential total of $25 million. In addition to naming the Katz Group-Rexall Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research, and establishing an interdisciplinary Health Law chair, UofA anticipates the gift will be “transformative” for “what is already recognized as the best pharmacy program in Canada.” (See )

Facilities "Arms Race" at US Colleges

The NY Times reports that construction is booming on college campuses as institutions of all kinds add classrooms, dorms, student and athletic centres at a pace that has not been seen in decades. Administrators acknowledge that “first-rate physical facilities are becoming increasingly important in attracting students.” Some institutions feel “locked in an arms race” with their competitors, turning to alumni fundraising, bond issues, increased tuitions or petitioning government sources to raise the necessary capital funds. (See NY Times article at )

Australian Career Colleges to Offer Degrees

Private Colleges in Australia are competing with universities to offer bachelor and masters degrees, spurring vocational colleges to upgrade themselves as well, to qualify for federal student loans. In the past seven years, the number of private colleges registered as “higher education providers” has doubled from 86 to about 150. Australian universities are responding to the heightened competition by slashing unprofitable courses and concentrating on profitable ones. The University of Sydney has already dropped undergraduate Nursing, and predicts “that public universities are going to be under increasing pressure to ape some of these private providers.” (See article from the Sydney Morning Herald at )

Collaborative Employee Recruitment

The New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, representing three dozen universities and colleges across the region, launched a website last week to promote more than 3,000 openings for faculty, administrators, researchers and technicians, as well as doctors and other medical staff at teaching hospitals. Harvard initiated the project, modeling it after similar recruitment tools in California and New York. (See site at , or article from the Stamford Times at )

US Liberal Arts Colleges Dropping the SAT

  Years ago, Bates College was one of the first to abandon the Scholastic Aptitude Test as an entrance requirement after discovering that SAT scores were entirely uncorrelated with the grade averages of their graduating students. Now, in an effort to appear more student-friendly, some 700 US colleges do not require the SAT, and 24 of them are ranked in the top 100 by US News & World Report. Dozens of other institutions are currently considering the move.  In many cases, institutions instead request samples of graded schoolwork, which allows greater faculty involvement in admissions, and gives institutions more insight into grade inflation. (See )

uGuelph Launches Web Portal

The University of Guelph has recently launched a “cradle-to-grave” online web portal at High school applicants will begin their relationship with the University through MyPortico, and will continue to use the portal throughout their studies and the transition to alumni status, when they will begin to receive The Portico alumni magazine. The portal offers students a personalized environment that “pushes information to you that’s relevant to you,” a personal calendar with reminders for meetings and classes, a briefcase function to save and share files, access to news services, and the ability to create discussion forums or weblogs. (See )