Top Ten

December 21, 2006

$15 Million to TEC Centre at uAlberta

Yesterday, the federal government announced a $15 million investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada to establish the Technology, Entrepreneur and Company development centre at the University of Alberta. The centre will be the home of the TEC Edmonton offices, and the incubation lab and office space for technology start-up firms. TEC Edmonton has already produced 71 spin-off companies that employ 1,000 highly skilled workers. uAlberta Express News

$20 Million Vitamin Windfall for 8 Canadian Universities

Yesterday's Globe & Mail reports that 8 Canadian universities are the surprise beneficiaries of a class-action lawsuit in which they weren't even involved. In addition to $2.4 million to uGuelph and $2.4 million to the Ontario Veterinary College at uGuelph (reported yesterday), other beneficiaries include UBC ($3.4 million), uAlberta ($2.5 million), uManitoba ($0.9 million), uSaskatchewan ($0.8 million), uToronto ($2.4 million), Dalhousie ($1 million), and Memorial ($1 million). uAlberta plans to use the money for scholarships and bursaries, while Memorial is considering a professorship. Globe & Mail

Study Group to Examine Quebec University Governance

Yesterday, the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations in Montreal announced the creation of a study group on the governance of Quebec universities. The group will assess current practices and challenges for the proper governance of universities in Quebec and elsewhere, consider best practices, and make recommendations to enhance university governance in Quebec. The group includes chancellors and presidents of most Quebec universities. Media release

Changes to Commercial Pilot Training

Yesterday, Transport Canada amended aviation regulations to provide commercial pilot trainees with an alternative to the traditional pilot training course. The new, integrated course requires the student to follow an enriched and very structured syllabus of flight training, offering less flexibility to students, but gives them the opportunity to practice the theory they learn in ground school during flight training. Media release

Police Chief Seeks Beer Keg Registry

The police chief in London Ontario, home to the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College, wants Ontario to create the country's first "beer keg registry" to help investigators trace empty casks back to buyers. London Police Service Chief Murray Faulkner said that many Ontario police services face problems stemming from "out-of-control parties near postsecondary school campuses." Globe & Mail

UK University Reputation Rankings May Shift

Britain's Higher Education Policy Institute believes that a growing tendency for young people to pursue PSE close to home may be contributing to a breakdown in the traditional "hierarchy of esteem," in which students applied to the most prestigious universities their grades would allow. It suggests that one way to ensure the pattern gets broken would be to deny freedom of choice to students, and enforce catchment areas as in other countries. BBC

US Universities in Building Boom

US universities are in the midst of a building boom that will extend through 2009, says a Reuters news article released yesterday. Construction is being driven by an enrollment surge from the baby boom echo generation, and growing competition in China and other Asian regions for top scientists. Many universities are building additional dormitories to capture a larger slice of student rental expenditures. Some are going upscale with condominium-style residence halls with private kitchens, and state-of-the-art recreation centres "resembling country clubs." Boston Globe

Universities Creating Academic Ties with China

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that "partnerships in China are hot among US universities." Schools are working to expand their reach, collaborate on research, broaden their students' horizons and recruit top Chinese scholars. In some cases, they want to cash in on an enormous market for education in the most populous nation on the planet. China estimates it would require 800 new colleges to meet the demand projected for 2008, at a cost of $68 billion US. Winston-Salem Journal

Declining Interest in Four-Year Degrees in Utah

A recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures' Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education decried the fact that fewer students aged 25-34 are earning university bachelor degrees. The decline is particularly pronounced in Utah, where officials are mystified by the trend. Some think young people are "less driven than their parents' generation," while others blame a hot labour market. Demographers suspect a rising Latino population, which has not traditionally attended college at the same rate. Salt Lake Tribune

29 Best Ideas for College or University Websites

On his blog, Bob Johnson offers a year-end summary of some of the best ideas of 2006 for institutional websites, including: student videos to explain features like "immersive learning"; student blogs to answer questions; student and faculty storytelling videos; a powerful "can't miss" branding statement on the front page of the site; an annual report designed for the web instead of PDF; "admissions robots" who answer many questions instantaneously; online financial aid estimators; video success stories of alumni; an option to select from student videos by hometown or major; and "hugs from home" from parents. Examples include uManitoba's use of MySpace for its Virtual Learning Commons. Bob Johnson Consulting | uManitoba Virtual Learning Commons