Top Ten

March 2, 2007

BC Tech Industry Predicts Skills Shortfall in 2008

According to a report by the BC Technology Industry Association, "TechTalentBC," the province will be facing a technical skills shortfall, possibly within the next 12 months.  The technology industry currently employs approximately 65,000 workers in BC, and forecasts a need for an additional 15% in the next year, and 130,000 employees by 2010.  The study considered 146 companies of different sizes from all sectors of the industry.  The most urgent need is for experienced people with strong interpersonal skills to fill customer-facing jobs in sales, marketing and technical roles. BCTIA News Release | Read the Report


More Money, Less Payments for Alberta Students

Changes to the provincial student loan system in Alberta will benefit more than 2,000 students, according to a provincial press release.  During the spring and summer of this year, increased financial support for medical residents, PSE students with families, those studying part-time, and students with disabilities will be introduced.  Medical residents will no longer be required to pay interest or make payments while they are completing their residency, effective April 1.  Part-time students are eligible for $600 in provincial bursaries per term, up from $300.  The total changes weigh in at around $1 million; full details are in the news release.  Alberta News Release

Dal Students take National Business Plan Prize

Team Dalhousie took the top prize of $75,000, and a promise of $250,000 more, at the Business Development Bank of Canada 's Enterprize 2007 business plan competition. The competition took place at UBC's Sauder School of Business, and the four Dalhousians competed against 9 other teams from across the country.  The students, a PhD, an MBA and 2 undergrads, are eligible for a $250,000 loan if they decide to pursue the plan entered in the competition.  One student, Reagan Davidson, said the event "was extremely intense, it was extremely tense, extremely competitive." The Chronicle Herald

Ontario Plants the Seeds of Environmentalism in Curriculum

Yesterday's Globe & Mail reported a plan to reintroduce environmental studies throughout Ontario's public school curriculum. The former PC government eliminated envi sci from grade 9 and 10 curriculum almost ten years ago. As more and more campuses go green, and environmental science programs gain momentum among applicants, the move may help shape high school graduates ready-made for the programs. Globe & Mail | Forum for Ecological Education and Action

Joins Global IBM Computer Grid

York University is the first in Canada to join the World Community Grid, a network of 220 companies, associations, foundations and academic institutions. The project puts to use the idle time of the world's 650 million computers, toward the greater good so to speak. WCG uses "grid technology" to create an infrastructure that will give researchers access to a pool of readily available computational power.  Large networks of this type have the potential to exceed the power of multiple super-computers.  The project will also strengthen ties between York and IBM, one of the key companies involved in leading the project.  The network will be used by researchers who are considering the "problems plaguing humanity."  York News Release


Socioeconomics is NOT Destiny

A report published Wednesday by the C.D. Howe Institute analyzes high school standardized test results in the light of neighbourhood socioeconomics (household income and parental education). Surprisingly, the report finds that some of the best schools in Ontario are located in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The school board association OPSBA and teachers' union ETFO strenuously object to test scores being used to compare the performance of schools. Globe & Mail  | C.D. Howe Institute 

uGuelph Launches "More than Agriculture" Campaign

What does one of the country's leading comprehensive universities do when student focus groups don't think it offers fine arts or physics, and the Canadian counsul general thinks the entire student body is enrolled in agricultural programs? If it's the University of Guelph, it launches an aggressive ad campaign in the Globe & Mail under the slogan, "Changing Lives, Improving Life." The Guelph Mercury 

Douglas College Student gives Birth during Exam

In the midst of an English exam on Wednesday at BC's Douglas College, an 8-month-pregnant student went into labour and delivered a bouncing baby girl before paramedics could arrive. "My water broke.  The next thing I know, this was the baby."  The instructor and classmates helped with the delivery as best they could. Mother and daughter are both doing well, and the little girl has been offered a year's free tuition to the College (when she's old enough). CBC

"Finish In Four" Recruitment Trend

Several colleges in the US are promising "Finish in Four" guarantees -- sometimes with contracts binding students to a 15-credit-per-term commitment.  Students who switch majors void their claim to the guarantee, as do those who drop or fail several classes.  Some programs, such as engineering, are excluded from the guarantee because math requirements can add to the length of study.  Whether the 4-year fad is beneficial or just a marketing gimmick remains to be seen.  Less time in school means less draw on government funds, of course, but some critics encourage college students to explore their potential and develop critical thinking skills -- both of which tend to lead themselves towards switching majors and deferring some study time to extracurricular pursuits.  Inside Higher Ed

Admissions Officers Open Up to Students

Johns Hopkins University admissions officers are trying to find ways to deal with a 65% increase in applications over the last 5 years.  With the increased competition, students are showing higher stress and bogging down admissions-related online message boards. The increase of electronic communication between admissions and potential students has started to make the student experience better known to school administration.  Admissions has long been a very closed process, but now in response to student stress, many institutions are taking to the web and the press to allow some light in.  Daniel Creasy, at Johns Hopkins, blogs about the literal daily grind of admissions, his 23 filing cabinets, 8 calculators and what he reads on student message boards. The Washington Post