Top Ten

April 23, 2007

$1.7 billion for Alberta PSE

Alberta’s provincial budget provides new funds for school construction and research projects, but not for increasing the affordability of PSE in the province, says uAlberta’s Student Union. Alberta has the lowest PSE participation rates in the country, largely because of readily available employment in a booming economy.  $1.2 billion is planned for new construction projects, and $559 million over three years for research and commercializing technologies.  The Edmonton Journal

Kwantlen opens $42 million training centre in Cloverdale

Kwantlen University College’s $42.3 million Trades & Technology Centre opened on Friday.  The centre will provide leading-edge training for more than 900 students in a 17,000 square metre, environmentally-conscious building. The new Cloverdale campus will offer programs in adult basic education, automotive, electrical, carpentry and building trades, welding, millwright, farrier, appliance repair and mechanical and engineering technology.  BC News Release

NB faculty urge ban on private universities

Faculty associations have asked the New Brunswick provincial government to ban additional private universities in the province.  NB’s PSE commission started public hearings last week, and already has raised several hot-button issues.  There are currently 4 public and 5 private universities in the province; the faculty associations feel that students are not receiving their money’s worth at the private schools.  The president of Lansbridge University, a private school based out of Fredericton, says that the faculty’s request has more to do with union issues than protecting students.  CBC

NS short on students and skilled workers

Nova Scotia employers need workers, and its schools need students, but the province’s young people seem uninterested in both.  According to a study by Nova Knowledge, the new technological, global workplace requires closer ties between employers and educators.  Despite the need for skilled workers (Michelin needs 1,400 over the next 3 years), NS colleges and universities will struggle to fill their 3,500 spots in September.  58% of NS teens do not pursue PSE immediately after high school, and many perceive skilled trades as not being "noble” careers.  The Chronicle Herald

Moncton Flight College goes global

The Moncton Flight College is the first Canadian school to join the CAE Global Academy, a new world-wide network of aviation training facilities working against the shortage of airline pilots.  Demand for pilots has recovered from the post-9/11 slump, with particular demand currently coming from Asia. Through the Academy, Moncton’s students will have access to more advanced flight simulators.  CBC

Open-source social network software for school use

Popular web 2.0 sites like MySpace, Bebo, and Facebook are gaining favour with teachers, who say that the websites have academic value.  Elgg is open-source social networking software developed by uBrighton specifically for academic use. Students and instructors each get a profile, blog, photo sharing, friends lists, and the ability to create and join discussion communities.  Rather than fire-walling the technology, Elgg embraces the collaborative format of online communities to deliver content in a way students enjoy.  Traditional virtual learning strategies have been based on a lecture-style model, where an instructor speaks and students study.  Elgg encourages pupils not just to participate in “class” but across course boundaries as well.  Elgg is free to download, and currently installed by almost 50 schools and colleges world-wide.  Wired 

MySpace to launch rankable news service

MySpace is making news, not just for the staggering size of its member population.  Currently in beta testing, MySpace News will encourage users to stay on the network to read their news, rather than going to external news pages.  News will be grouped into 25 main topics from gossip to cars; stories will be displayed in order of popularity as ranked by MySpace users. The social media powerhouse also boasts that its service will draw from more sources than Google News (4,500). USA Today

Humanities, Quebec profs get short salary straw

According to the American Association of University Professors, what a professor earns is determined predominantly by their discipline.  Professional school instructors (business, administration, management, law) fare up to 50% better than those in the humanities -- a salary gap that has been widening for over 20 years in both the US and Canada.  In 2006, only 20% of Rotman School of Management faculty were paid less than $100,000, compared to 45% of profs in the uToronto classics department. Quebec’s professors tend to have lower salaries than their peers in other provinces.  Maclean’s

Laurier discontinues Fine Arts program

The 10 students graduating this year from Wilfrid Laurier University's Fine Arts program will be the 35th and final class.  Laurier decided to drop the program 2 years ago, when 2 faculty were headed to retirement and funds were needed in other areas.  The demand for 3 year degree programs shifted to 4 year honours streams.  Each year Fine Arts accounted for about 30 of 10,000 undergrads at the school.  The KW Record

UCFV introduces salesand marketing certification

A new "first-in-Canada" sales and marketing certification partnership is being offered by the University College of the Fraser Valley. Starting in Fall 2008, BBA students will nose ahead of their peers with a new Certified Professional Salesperson credential from Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI).  No other institution in Canada currently offers this certification as a core element in an undergraduate program, although SMEI has an established relationship with UBC. Students will take advanced selling and marketing courses, and complete a work placement with a Fraser Valley business partner. UCFV News Release