Top Ten

January 23, 2007

Canada's PSE Echo to Fade Out within 10 Years

uToronto Economics professor and popular demographic writer, David Foot, predicts that within five years Canadian universities will see a drop in university applicants. The baby boomers' "echo" is on its way through PSE at the moment, but will soon be fully through and into the workforce -- potentially leaving expanded universities with empty classrooms and idle profs. Foot also points to employer demands for non-academic and practical skills from workers, and government promotions of college programs, both of which could lead to a reverse in the increased desire for a university education.  Toronto Star | Globe & Mail

Report Finds No Poisoned Environment at Fanshawe

The third party investigation of Fanshawe College's work environment was issued last week by lawyer David Williams. Its conclusions are that the work environment is not "poisoned," and no assault of an employee took place, but that there are relationship issues in the Continuing Education department. An alleged assault was reported to the school's administration last June. The full report will be released once Fanshawe has had an opportunity to read it and decide on follow-up actions. Local representatives of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union feel at this point that these conclusions do not mirror the facts as known to them. London Free Press

Report Finds Memorial's Research Integrity Up to Par

Memorial University has released a report by Dr. Paul Pencharz that finds the policies and procedures of the university to be on par with national guidelines. The report was commissioned in light of allegations of research misconduct by former Memorial faculty member Dr. Ranjit Kumar Chandra, whose research came under question several times between 1990 and 2006 (CBC). Dr. Pencharz is a staff physician at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and also serves as a senior scientist in the hospital's Research Institute. Memorial Release | Full Report (PDF)

Canadian Universities Fail to Prioritize Quality Teaching

Fifteen years ago, Stuart Smith evaluated Canadian universities and found them forgetting about the student. Canada's higher-education industry was charged to balance emphasis on research and teaching more equally. Alex Usher recently wrote in the Ottawa Citizen that, heading towards two decades later, we have failed to make the grade. Teaching centres have been set up to offer support to instructors, but these only seem to hold interest with younger faculty, and the professorate remains mostly populated by those further along in their years. With tight budgets caused by increasing enrollment and decreasing public funds, focusing on research is often a school's best bet at rallying funds and keeping up reputation and prestige. Ottawa Citizen

PSE Gender Gap Widens

Women have been increasingly present at the post-secondary level since the 1980's, but recently the numbers have started shifting so dramatically that some observers are calling it a "boy crisis." 58% of undergrads in the US are currently women. The number of men going to college is also increasing, just not as quickly as the number of women. The gender gap is widest among low-income students, and almost non-existent in wealthier communities. Many schools are citing 70% female versus 30% male enrollment, and several have targetted recruitment efforts and support structures specifically to male students. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

US Engineering Programs Seek Women

The US is behind many countries, including China and India, in producing engineers and scientists. Women and minorities are seen as the path to getting the country back on track to competing in a global market. Women represent only a fifth of engineering students. Recruiters intend to emphasize the creative aspects of the field, rather than the traditional image of nerdy boys up all night eating bad food and chugging caffeine. CNN

Law School Debt Driving US Grads Into Private Sector

Graduates of public law schools have about $1,500 to live on per month after student loan payments, if they work in the public sector. Private law school grads are left with $1,100 after loan payments. According to last month's report "Financing the Future: Responses to the Rising Debt of Law Students", 80% of law students take out loans, and students are graduating with $50,000 to $80,000 in debt. US potential income in the private sector is often twice as high as public positions, making ideals a little too rich for the youngest lawyers to afford. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Global Education Goals Not Likely to be Met

Despite universal agreement on the importance of primary education for all children, the global deadline of 2015 is likely to still see as many as 300 million children not enrolled in school. 114 million of these would be primary age. In the last hundred years, primary enrollment has gone from 40% to 86%, but many regions' struggles are disguised by this statistic. Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia are much further behind. An education advocate believes that universal primary education is not enough for a healthy global community, and that a minimum of 10 years at school is necessary for all. CNN

The MoSoSo Lifestyle

Mobile Social Networking Software (MoSoSo) is the takeover trend of cellphone-centred life, as GPS and partnerships with social software web giants make the potential of mobile socializing almost limitless. Phones were equipped with GPS initially because cellphones could not accommodate traditional 911 procedures. Now, while being heralded as fantastic and revolutionary, GPS phones are also being charged as a security issue by some. Other critics of the mobile lifestyle allege that the technology only further contributes to increased social isolation, while supporters say that it is getting students off their computers and out into the world. Christian Science Monitor 

High School Drop-Out Gains Acceptance to Harvard, Columbia

Esther Reed successfully took the SAT and GED, and was accepted to both Harvard and Columbia Universities, using the identity of Brooke Henson -- a young woman who disappeared in 1999. Reed disappeared herself at around the same time, and again when police realized her false identity, after thinking they had found the missing Ms Henson. Reed was a high school drop-out. CNN