Top Ten

July 19, 2007

Behind the Maclean's university rankings controversy

An article in this month's issue of the student-published Ryerson Review of Journalism, available online, interviews a number of key players and provides some revealing glimpses into the controversy surrounding the Maclean's university rankings. In 1992, Maclean's editors travelled the country learning from the universities, and enhancing their methodology to widespread approval. 14 years later, in 2006, incoming uToronto president David Naylor got a call from Ann Dowsett-Johnston that started the boycott snowballing, eventually leading to 26 of the 47 universities pulling out of the rankings. The common dataset offered in place of the reader-friendly rankings provide an unwieldy and uninformative 55-page PDF file on each institution. NSSE's George Kuh insists, "we're not going to drive out rankings... it's human nature." Ryerson Review of Journalism 

Demographics favour Alberta universities, colleges

2006 Census data, released Tuesday, shows that Canada’s largest cities are seeing a rise in the number of 18-25 year olds in their demographics.  5 out of 6 of the country’s major urban areas (with the exception of Montreal) saw an increase in the traditional PSE cohort. On average, young adults represent 10.5% of the population, but in Edmonton they're 13%. Many Alberta PSE institutions are at capacity and students say it’s noticeable in the busier classrooms and the hunt for quiet study space. NAIT is turning away more than half their applicants, and uAlberta's enrolment increased 17% between 2000 and 2005.  Globe & Mail

Brock U signs Japanese exchange agreements

Brock University has signed agreements with 2 universities located in Tokyo, as a "demonstration of its strong commitment to international collaboration."  Brock, JF Oberlin University, and Hosei University will exchange faculty, researchers and visiting administrators.  Students will be able sign up for exchange programs, and ESL students will receive credit at their home institution for terms spent studying English at Brock.  The first class of students from Oberlin University will arrive in Ontario this Fall.  Brock also has agreements with institutions in Taiwan, Vietnam and China, and is in talks with schools in Korea, Bangladesh, India, Mexico and Iran.  Brock News Release

IT industry calls for "Canadian Harvard"

  Demand for IT professionals is at a 25 year high, but enrolment in Canadian computer science programs dropped 70% between 2000 to 2005. Canadian IT professionals are urging increased government funding, and tuition increases if necessary, to create "peaks of excellence." It is also vital for parents and students, from the elementary level on, to understand the potential of IT careers. IT Business 

Public health campaign considers going out for drinks

A paediatric disease specialist associated with Dalhousie University has proposed that taking mumps awareness, and vaccination needles, to local pubs and bars might be the key to avoiding future mumps outbreaks among university-aged Nova Scotians. "The mumps outbreak in this age group highlights that this age group is not an easy one to access.  We need to look at immunization in a different way for this segment of the population."  Young adults rarely have family physicians. The Chronicle Herald

Queen's posts public course content on iTunesU

If you've been thinking about checking out the audio and video offerings on iTunesU, one of the most popular is a course from Stanford University on "The Future of the Internet."  To download the first three lectures of "The Future..." took less than a minute on our office network, and looks to have some very interesting content.  MIT, UC Berkeley, Penn State and Canada's own Queen's University are among the schools that have content available on "the campus that never sleeps."  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | iTunesU 

CANLink Aviation expands to Fredericton

The Fredericton franchise of the Moncton Flight College has just opened, but already has 60 students for the fall, and expects to have as many as 200 per year, largely from China. With 100 students from China already training at the Moncton campus, CANLink could soon be the country's largest aviation school. Most of the students already have contracts with Chinese airlines, that pay about $80,000 per student for the training.  CBC | CTV

New program to help aboriginal business leaders

 While access to education and training are often identified as common barriers to aboriginal advancement, aboriginal business leaders say that jealousy and ridicule from within their own community can also be debilitating for many young people.  (What Academica's PROI research has labelled "identity anxiety".)  Designed to manage this issue, Project Beyshick is a mentorship initiative aiming to get aboriginal people more heavily involved in the business community, and to help build entrepreneurial confidence.  With an intensive week of seminars, presentations, workshops, and job-shadowing, the program provides unique opportunities for aboriginal entrepreneurs to connect with and learn from some of Canada' s top business leaders. Maclean's

UK comes out on top of "brain drain"

A new report dispels the suggestion that Britain is suffering from an international academic brain drain.  Britain is actually shown to benefit from a net intake of overseas university personnel. Academic immigrants to Britain tend to be younger than the national average, and are mainly from Germany, Ireland, the US, China, Italy and France (so Canada is keeping its academics, at least from Britain!).  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

iPhone clashes with on-campus wireless networks

The Apple iPhone might be the hottest new student must-have gadget, but IT staff at Duke University have a different perspective.  Since the launch of the device, the university's wireless network has been clogged with requests from the phones' built-in wireless chips. With about 150 iPhones on the campus, anywhere from 12 to 30 internet hotspots are going "down" at any one time -- and that's with most students off campus for summer vacation!  IT World Canada