Top Ten

November 1, 2006

Take Our Kids to Work Day Today

Thousands of grade 9 students across Canada will join a parent, relative or volunteer host to experience a day at work. Now in its 12th year, this national program of Ontario's The Learning Partnership is intended to open up career options to high school youth. For more information see or media release.

Yesterday's 5th Annual University Report Card...

Yesterday's Globe & Mail included a glossy 60-page magazine-style University Report Card, including articles on university endowments, the brain gain, the need for increased government funding, the push for graduate students, and student gender balance -- as well as ten students on "what they know now," and interviews with the presidents of UBC, uToronto, and uAlberta. Plus of course the rankings. Top schools for educational quality, all receiving A's in their respective size categories, were uWaterloo, Western, uGuelph, Queen's, Nipissing, St. Francis Xavier, Trent, Acadia, and Bishop's -- and Trinity Western received an A+. Globe & Mail media release

Ralph Klein Chair in Media Studies

Mount Royal College in Calgary announced Monday that it is using money from anonymous donors to establish the Ralph Klein Chair in Media Studies at its Centre for Communication Studies. And the first academic to sit in that chair will be Ralph Klein himself, "a high-school drop-out and former television reporter." Globe & Mail

Tough New Rules for Career Colleges in Ontario

Starting today, the Ontario government's new Private Career Colleges Act, passed in December, comes into effect, raising standards for PCCs to protect international students from being misled. Among other provisions, only 25% of tuition can be collected as a deposit, and it must be held in trust until classes begin. New provisions will reduce false advertising, establish a complaints process, and ensure student protection should a college close. Toronto Star

A Year of Crisis Communications at US Colleges

The past year has seen a great many university presidents in crisis and controversy, including Harvardâ

Virtual Historian Software

University of Western Ontario education professor Stéphane Lévesque has developed a web-based learning program that allows students to develop techniques for learning history by having them track down clues, make decisions and develop their own interpretations of historical events, using never-before-seen primary documents, archival film footage and 3D presentations of artifacts. Cases in the Virtual Historian include the October Crisis, the raid on Dieppe in 1942 and the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Based on the web, updates and revisions are easy and the texts never become outdated. The software has been licensed by the UWO library system, and the Thames Valley District School Board, one of the largest in Ontario. Western News story

...and the Flurry of University Media Releases

Congratulations to the uGuelph media relations department for being the first off the mark yesterday morning with their media release, "Students Rank UofG at Top of the Class," reporting on "3 A+'s, 14 A's, and 12 A-'s." Next came Western's release, "Western earns top mark for education quality," which humbly noted its C grade in co-op opportunities. Then came uWinnipeg's release, "UWinnipeg Rates High in Globe & Mail," which included considerable detail on initiatives and investments to address its priorities. Laura Dillman sent me a copy of Mount Allison's media release next, "Top Marks for Mount A." Then came Nipissing's media release, "Nipissing University has placed at the top of the charts again," ranking first overall for student residences and first on 9 criteria in its size category. Mid-afternoon came McMaster's media release, like most including a friendly quotation from the university president. (No doubt there will be more.)

Quest University a Distinctly New Model

Outside the Report Card, yesterday's Globe & Mail also featured a prominent story about a small, private, not-for-profit liberal arts school still under construction in Squamish BC. $100 million in construction is underway at Quest University, scheduled to open in September 2007 with 160 students, and promising a teacher:student ratio of 1:10, absolutely no tenure, and a multidisciplinary focus "unlike that of any other university in Canada." Instead of rotating classes each semester, Quest students will focus for weeks at a time on only one topic from various angles. Tuition will also be outstanding --Â $24,000 a year, plus $11,000 for board. Globe & Mail article

Debate on Virtual Science Labs

In an unprecedented move, the US College Board is questioning whether internet-based laboratories, such as simulated chemistry labs or virtual animal dissections popular with US high school teachers, are an acceptable substitute for hands-on science education. In the past decade, online primary and secondary education has grown to a half-million course enrollments across the US. "Professors are saying that simulations can be really good, that they use them to supplement their own lab work, but that theyâ